Whether sporting orange and purple or garnet and black, Charleston abounds with artful ways for football fans to work it during the pitch of the season. They're great gift ideas for the holiday season, too.
There is a sizable cottage industry surrounding fandom around town, enabling those to support their team and local businesses in one inspired transaction.
A quick cruise of the Charleston City Market turns up ample offerings that would animate any game day festivity, particularly for the University of South Carolina and Clemson University. There are hair bows and puppy bow ties. There are sweetgrass basket spinoffs and tiger-touting onesies.
Online, a cursory glance at Etsy or the websites of Charleston designers demonstrates similar abundance.
In the City Market, for example, Indigo Designs' team logo-boasting coasters encase images in recycled glass, offering the perfect perch for libations that either celebrate a win or drown the sorrows of a loss.
But, first, you'll need to open those drinks. Enter Charleston Wood Co., which offers custom crafted wood products including bottle openers with the likes of tiger paws or other iconic wildlife burned into their surface.
Also the City Market, Ophelia's Sweet Grass Baskets emblazons wood plaques logos of several schools, then frames them with woven sweetgrass, finishing them with a decorative loop by which to hang them. They are certain to add Lowcountry cache to team pride.
Let's not forget pet accessories, the perfect companions to demonstrate the extent of school loyalty. At their City Market table, Coastal Accessories had the tweed touch, burlap doggy bow ties topped off with team ribbons, along with collars, boxers that came in colors connected with many local teams.
Beyond the market, there are many other products sprung from the Lowcountry that can seriously up your game day game. There is Pixie Lily, the elegant children’s wear line and the go-to gussy up for many a Charleston child.
“My SEC collection started when some Baton Rouge clients begged me to create an LSU collection,” said Leda Jackson, founder and owner of Pixie Lily. “They told me their husbands would force them to dress their children in game day clothing and they were literally dying for something that was cute and ‘Pixied.’”
The resulting design features a sweet-faced, embroidered tiger on pieces like a playsuit and white dress. With the tiger as its central design, it was a natural to expand to other teams sporting a similar cat.
“This was literally the collection I swore I would never do, but boy is there a need,” she said. “Next year we are rolling out eight.” Those include those inspired by USC, with variations on design components like color schemes in garnet and gray checked to render them more kid-friendly.
Of course, there is craft involved in ensuring one doesn't get afoul of licensing agreements, too. For this reason, USC offers a crafter’s license program that applies to these homespun products.
According to Matthew Bridges, director of trademark licensing for USC, any and all products bearing the logos, wordmarks or images that have come to be associated with the university.
“This program exists to allow local in-state artisans an avenue to express their support for the University of South Carolina through their creativity,” he said in an email.
Items produced for sale under this license must be handmade, sold person to person and unique to items currently produced by our fully licensed partners.
USC provides approved crafters with holographic stickers to be included on the products that designate they are officially licensed. “If a product does not have one of these stickers, more than likely, it is not a licensed product,” he said.
That being said, the fancy footwork involved in selling these wares seems to be paying off for homespun vendors, and catching the eye of discerning fans.