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For the Love of the Logo

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Can you guess the hippest college brand in Europe?

Harvard? Yale? University of Alabama or Notre Dame? Sorry, it’s actually Franklin & Marshall, a small liberal arts college in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish country.

The fashion craze has nothing to do with the college and everything to do with two Italian designers: As the story goes, Giuseppe Albarelli and Andrea Pensiero found a Franklin & Marshall sweatshirt while rifling through vintage apparel at a local market. The two were so enamored that they founded a brand of clothing based on the item.

At the time they had no clue that Franklin & Marshall was a college; about a year later they heard from school officials. Albarelli reports that at first they were “disappointed that we were using their name, but when they got to know us better they were happy for our business to carry on.” reports that Franklin & Marshall -- the clothing company -- licenses the name from the school. Last year the company also pledged to donate $130,000 over four years to the school’s scholarship fund.

Skeptics say the school may have gotten the short end of the stick. Sweatshirts on the clothing brand’s website sell for between $110 and $205 -- a far cry from the $37 to $60 for apparel sold through the college. reports that fans of the brand are flocking to the company’s six stores around the world. Last year the company is reported to have rung up sales of around $61 million.

Anyone care to wager whether Franklin & Marshall -- the school -- will be adding a class in brand building for the fall semester?