Saturday, August 22, 2009

Have a Shirt Idea?

Creative Consultant, Joey Mandeville, with Burlisons. Tory Watkins on far left.

Last spring I asked my seniors to help me decide which shirts should be launched first. Given I'd been making a list for years, there were many fun choices. Narrowing them down to just five styles for the first run was tough. It became even harder to choose when students began throwing out their own ideas. Senior Braden Anderson, honors student and school quarterback, nodded with his signature smile and confidently said, "Party at Gatsby's." We knew we had a winner.

Later friends began to brainstorm. While tailgating outside the Vanderbilt stadium before a Dave Matthews concert, I asked for ideas for an Atticus Finch shirt. Greg Burlison, a Public Defender, was excited about his personal hero who has inspired so many law school students to pursue legal careers. What about, "Atticus Finch for Chief Justice"? he asked. Another star of our shirt collection was born. Later his wife, Sara, one of my best friends, a former student and English teacher herself, called excited saying we had to do a line of Onesies. While spoon feeding her baby, Trent, she thought of the perfect quote for our prototype: Oliver Twist's plea, "Please, Sir, I want some more."

How fitting that three of our shirts in the premier collection were contributed by former students and friends. Talking books affirms that lit is life... and that many heads are better than one. We'd like to get you into the act, too. Send us your ideas in the comments below. If we bring your brain child to life, we'll feature you on Classic Coup wearing your free shirt. We not only meet at the round table to discuss rich reads and foster global education. We meet at the drawing table for creative collaboration to move the world with cool shirts--one book at a time.

Braden promises to sport his shirt at the University of Tennessee this fall.

High school buds Trey and Jordan congratulate him on his Great idea.

The Burlisons, UT grads themselves, pass their love of reading to the next generation.

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