LANCASTER, PA Ñ Franklin & Marshall College has signed a licensing agreement with Franklin and Marshall, an independent Italian clothing company, that will allow the company to sell its line of casual clothing in the United States.
"This is a terrific opportunity to promote the Franklin & Marshall name," said Thomas Kingston, the college's vice president for finance and administration.
"Franklin & Marshall College is known for its quality liberal arts education, and Franklin and Marshall clothing is producing a high-quality line of goods. It's a great match," Kingston said.
The Italian clothing company was started in 1999 to produce a line of clothing that had a 1950s collegiate style, but with modern fabrics and colors. The company is based in Verona, and its clothing is manufactured in a small factory in Northern Italy. The principals in the company are Giuseppe Albarelli and Andrew Pensiero.
As they were planning their clothing line, the company's founders saw a sweatshirt from Franklin & Marshall College and liked the style so much they decided to name their company for the college and to use the name on its clothing in Europe. The line includes sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets, T-shirts, shorts, pants, skirts and bathing suits.
The company's clothing is sold in fashion stores in Europe and has become especially popular among young people.
Currently, the casual attire is available in the United States at Bloomingdale's, and through the company's web site, www.franklinandmarshall.com. The Italian firm is working to expand its availability in select, high-end U.S. shops.
The college became aware of the Italian company after hearing reports from graduates traveling in Europe.
"A few years ago, our alumni began coming back from Europe and saying they had seen Franklin & Marshall merchandise available for sale there. We began doing some research, and were surprised to learn that a clothing company with our name was doing business there," said Kingston.
The college's name is distinctive and goes back to the founding of Franklin College in 1787 in Lancaster, Pa. Franklin College drew its name from Benjamin Franklin, one of the original benefactors of the college.
Marshall College was named for Supreme Court Justice John Marshall and established in 1836 in Mercersburg, Pa. The two schools merged in Lancaster in 1853.
"We were a little puzzled about their use of the Franklin & Marshall name, since there is no direct connection between the clothing company and the college," said Kingston. "At first, we were a bit taken aback by seeing our name on their clothing. The Franklin & Marshall name has a reputation for its high-quality academic program.
"As we proceeded through the discussion and came to know the Italian company, it was clear they were also interested in the best quality in their field. As the discussions went on, we realized this was a great opportunity to work together," Kingston said.
"Now, with this licensing agreement, the company can continue its European success in the United States."