UT Co-op partners with UT student for fashion line


Blake Love, a clothing and jewelry line designed by Brian Tran and Lauren Craft, will be available in the fall. Photo courtesy of Dustin Mansyur. 

Wynne Davis

For the first time, the UT Co-op is partnering with a UT student to make a new fashion line.

The UT Co-op is expanding its line of womens clothing with pieces designed by a UT student. Blake Love, a clothing and jewelry line designed by Brian Tran and Lauren Craft, will be available in the fall when the Longhorn football season kicks off, giving UT fans a few more options on game day

While the Co-op partners with students often, this is its first time partnering  with a student for a fashion line. The line will debut on Sept. 5 and will consist of nine different looks, Tran said.

“That translates to about 14 different individual pieces, but to start off with we’re only [producing] five pieces,” Tran, an RTF senior, said. “One maxi dress, one trapeze dress, one blouse, one cami top and a pair of shorts.”

On average, the items will be priced at $88, but some prices depend on the styles. They are still experimenting with higher and lower prices and waiting to see how the clothes sell, Tran said.

Tran said the line is versatile, simple and current, but slightly classic at the same time.  Currently, the Co-op does not have a line similar to Blake Love. Tran said the line is for more than just gamedays. The custom color from the orange family was inspired by copper, clay and sunset. Most of the clothes are made of lightweight, breathable fabrics. 

“We’re excited about trying the upscale line,” George Mitchell, president of the University Co-op said.

Mitchell said Tran and Craft have been working with the Co-op since last semester to make the line available.

Tran came up with the idea to start the line after he spent years listening to his friends talk about their struggles to find a cute outfit to wear on gameday, he said.

“The project really hit me during fashion week,” Tran said. “I was at Nicole Miller’s show and it just all popped into my head. I could really create a brand. I could make something cool and cute for all women.”

Tran said after the show he called Craft and they started to work together on the designs. Craft and Tran met years ago when Tran first worked for Craft, a local jewerly maker.

“[He] always comes up with amazing concepts,” Craft said. “The best part is he can really execute what he thinks and what I think to a high level.”

Tran said Craft understands the importance of Longhorn sports on campus because many of her family memebrs attended UT and raise Longhorn cattle.

“It’s really rare for people in the fashion industry to really understand what a Texas gameday is,” Tran said. “Luckily, Lauren gets it all.”

Tran said he was inspired by classic sportswear pieces with the adaptation necessary to fit a UT gameday.

“Austin’s casual, cool culture and definitely all the women in our lives played a huge part in the creative direction for this line,” Tran said. “Our ideal customer has a great sense of self and is young at heart.”

Currently, Blake Love will only be available at the Co-op and online at blakelove.com.

Follow Wynne Davis on Twitter @wynneellyn