Senior Fashion Merchandising Major Designs New TCU Tartan


Imagine getting the chance to design something that will represent your alma mater for years to come. For senior Fashion Merchandising major Aimee Hibler that chance became reality during the Spring 2018 semester when she was asked to create the new official TCU tartan. This project gave Aimee the chance to demonstrate her creativity and to work with leading industry technology while guided by her faculty mentor, Dr. Janace Bubonia. The vision of Provost Nowell Donovan, the tartan will become part of TCU’s heritage. Six designs developed by Aimee were voted on by the TCU community in March 2018 in order to select a winning tartan that will be featured on officially licensed TCU apparel and gifts beginning Fall 2018.

With TCU’s tartan officially selected, we caught up with Aimee to get her perspectives on the process of creating the TCU Tartan and her Fashion Merchandising major.

How did you decide that Fashion Merchandising was the career path for you?
I originally came to TCU as a business major and then I realized I had a passion for fashion. Both of my parents have experience in the fashion industry, so it was a natural path for me to follow. I am looking forward to a career in a field that I love. When I graduate I plan to apply for product design/product development positions so designing the tartan was perfect preparation.

How did you get involved with creating the tartan?
Like other Fashion Merchandising students, in my junior year I took Dr. Bubonia’s Digital Design class and found I liked it so much that I became a teaching assistant for the class for the next three semesters. I gained so much skill and knowledge that when Dr. Bubonia approached me about TCU’s desire to establish an official tartan, I know that with her guidance I could accomplish this project. I was both excited and nervous, but gladly accepted the project.

Aimee Hibler and Provost Nowell Donovan with a purple and white tartan design

Senior Fashion Merchandising major Aimee Hibler and TCU Provost Nowell Donovan pose with the winning tartan design. Photo: @TCU_licensing

What is a tartan, and how did tartans develop?
A tartan is essentially a plaid, meaning horizontal and vertical bands of color are woven together in a criss-crossed pattern.  The tartan is said to have originated in the British Isles around 6 B.C. with the Celts. In the 19th century, Scottish clan tartans became popular; most clans have several tartans that are worn for significant occasions. TCU’s official tartan will become part of the heritage of the university and will be worn with dignity for centuries to come.

How did you design the TCU tartan?
I began by researching tartans and their histories. I wanted to be sure that I did not create anything similar to existing patterns so I focused on those tartans in the Scottish Tartan Registry that incorporated purple, black, grey and white, colors associated with TCU. When I started creating the six patterns for the university to choose from, I took inspiration from other plaids and adjusted my work until it had the right balance of colors.

What was the most interesting part of designing this tartan?
The most interesting part of designing the tartan was learning about Scottish plaids and what makes a true tartan. I also enjoyed experimenting with different twills and patterns to create the six options.

What did you learn through the process of creating the official TCU tartan that you think will help you the most in your future career?

Through creating the official TCU tartan, I learned that the creative process is a journey. Throughout the process, I worked with multiple designs and kept tweaking them as I went. I think this is a good lesson to remember because not everything is perfect on the first try.