Florida A&M University students are known to outsiders for having great Rattler pride, but to many people on campus it is sometimes hard to notice.
Some people say the University appears to be more of a fashion show than an educational institution, which may explain why fewer students wear FAMU paraphernalia.
Marvin Platt, 19, a freshmen psychology student from Jacksonville, was spotted wearing a black hooded sweatshirt that had FAMU in orange capital letters written on the front.
“I never wear FAMU gear, this is the first time,” Platt said.
“The only reason why I bought this (sweatshirt) was because the weather has changed and I needed something to wear.”
Platt said he would rather wear FAMU clothing when he goes home to represent his school.
He said the clothing is just too common on FAMU’s campus.
He also said he did not think the bookstore had a good selection, and the only time he could find an alternative vendor is during a home football game weekend.
Toni Bellamy, an employee of Smartwear, a vendor from Orlando, said they have been selling clothes on FAMU’s campus for about 10 years.
Bellamy’s two sisters attended FAMU, and the owner of the company, Kevin Baker, is an alumnus of FAMU and his son attends FAMU too.
Bellamy said they only come to Tallahassee for home games, and their business, like the rest of the economy, has slowed down.
Smartwear thought about selling their items in the bookstore about three years ago, but had a change of mind.
“We were denied by the bookstore because our designs were too busy,” Bellamy said.
Smartwear sells items such as FAMU bags, hats, T-shirts and other nicely designed FAMU paraphernalia.
Management for the bookstore, which is one of the primary places where students can buy FAMU clothing, declined to comment.
Some students believe the items sold in the bookstore are too plain or too expensive.
Katharyn Honor, 20, a sophomore biology/pre-med student from Bradenton said she only wears FAMU shirts on her Ã¬bummishÃ® days because they are just regular cotton T-shirts.
Honor said she notices more clothing variety for FSU students than FAMU students, and if she had more of a selection she would buy and wear more clothes.
The bookstore’s cheapest shirt is usually $12.99. Some vendors sell their shirts for as cheap as $5.
Nyala Dupree-Walker, 21, a senior political science and education student from Oakland, Calif., said she understands that wearing FAMU clothes shows school spirit, but FAMU apparel should be fashionable and inexpensive.
“There is a horrible selection in the bookstore, and it can also be very expensive,” Dupree-Walker said.
Dupree-Walker also said she is not a “T-shirt and jeans” person, and she does not find it necessary to wear a FAMU T-shirt unless she is going to a game.
However, she does plan to buy a lot of FAMU paraphernalia upon graduation so she will be able to represent her school.
The issue of students and paraphernalia seems to wind down to fashion, price and accessibility.
Many students say they wish there was more variety of clothing, more places to purchase clothing and more economical prices.
Contact Ricquel Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org