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KNOXVILLE — Retail and consumer sciences students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have Big Orange school spirit in the bag.

The same department that introduced the UT tartan in 2004 has created a UT paisley design for Vera Bradley-style quilted bags.

The products of the UT Pride Collection are being sold at the UT Bookstore on campus and at select retailers in Knoxville.

The students teamed with Bacon and Co. in Knoxville to develop the products.

The paisley project is an outgrowth of the product development initiative in the retail and consumer sciences program, which is housed in the Department of Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Management in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

The students developed the paisley design, chose the products and marketed them to stores.

The paisley design has an orange background with white, black and gray-blue as accent colors. The paisleys are detailed with small power Ts, orange daisies, orange-and-white checkerboards and basketball nets. The UT tartan is used as the trim on some of the products.

Nancy Rutherford, head of the Department of Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Management, said the project is a valuable hands-on opportunity for students to learn about real-life sales and marketing strategies.

“There definitely is a creative component to the process as the students translate fashion and consumer trends into their ideas. However, the students also must sell their ideas to Bacon and Co., who sources the products, and then promote the new products in the marketplace,” she said.

Kimberly Linebaugh, a senior in retail and consumer sciences, interned at Bacon and Co. this summer and helped complete the project.

“I really have been able to see the whole process of developing a product, which, as a student, is a great experience,” Linebaugh said.

The UT Pride Collection comes in seven styles — all named by the students using campus landmarks:

• Money Wall — ID holder
• Melrose — small cosmetic bag
• Neyland — tri-fold wallet with removable strap
• Ayres — small tote
• Thompson-Boling — medium tote
• The Summitt — large tote
• Volunteer — hobo bag

Students in the program have begun developing a new line of products based on the pawprints of UT’s bluetick hound mascot, Smokey.

To order paisley products from the UT Book & Supply Store, go to

For more information about the retail and consumer sciences program go to


Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179,