For Dartmouth alum John Shi and Princeton graduate Woody Hines, settling on Costco or Walmart for high-quality, premium collegiate apparel just isn’t the best way to show true school spirit.
Not only are the terms high-quality and premium hardly synonymous with apparel purchased at either of these stores, but the duo strongly felt the collegiate apparel market deserved a line of products capable of accurately representing the connections people have with their alma mater. Because of this, Shi decided to launch Hillflint, a clothing company geared towards creating a fashionable array of sweaters which deftly captures the ongoing relationship people have with the colleges and universities they attended.
Currently, Hillflint offers sweater selections for 120 different universities and while it’s clear there’s ground to cover to be comprehensive, its product line is impressive for a business almost four years old. On the Hillflint website, the duo acknowledges it has sold its products to “tens of thousands” of customers worldwide and calls roughly 100 American retailers home, showing just how popular a premium line of collegiate apparel can be. Specifically, the company says it manufactures its sweaters to help remind wearers of the college experiences which helped shape who they are today — i.e. late night shenanigans, a historic basketball game, noteworthy class projects, etc.
Concerning the products themselves, Hillflint offers an array of styles ranging from heritage sweaters hearkening back to a school’s early days, holiday styles celebrating an alma mater with a spirited twist, or mascot offerings featuring (you guessed it) a school’s mascot. Perhaps rocking your former college’s colors, mascot, emblem or otherwise isn’t your speed — Hillflint also offers a line of plain, nondescript V-neck or cardigan-style sweaters featuring the same high-quality manufacturing as the company’s go-to collegiate offerings. Basically, anyone can rock a Hillflint sweater even if their school isn’t offered or if they simply don’t desire to wear their college’s colors.
According to Hillflint, the annual market for collegiate merchandise is around $4.6 billion, with hardly anyone offering a line of apparel even close to being considered premium. With Walmart, Costco, or on-campus bookstores serving as a student’s primary source for apparel — and let’s face it, they’re only buying cheap gym shirts there anyway — Shi and Hines’ jump into the high-quality realm of collegiate apparel is a welcome sight for those looking to sport some classy school spirit after graduation.