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Longhorn Fashions on CultureMap!

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Read the article on Longhorn Fashions in CultureMap below! So thrilled to be included in this Austin publication!

Written by Layne Lynch

I didn't know how formal an occasion a college football game was until I became a student at the University of Texas at Austin.

When I showed to the first football game of the 2007 season decked out in faded blue jeans, burnt orange sneakers and a Longhorn t-shirt that I had just purchased at the University Co-op, I quickly realized that I would need to revamp and revise my entire game-day attire if I wanted to blend in with the rest of the ladies.

Much to my surprise, I discovered that women seized football games as an opportunity to make bold, never-before-seen fashion statements. Creative fashion entrepreneurs like Tessie Watson Crow, owner of Longhorn Fashions, are the people who are helping women venture away from blue jeans, athletic shorts and simple tees and into chic tops, flowy burnt orange dresses, chunky statement necklaces and feminine leather boots.

Throughout her years as a student at the University of Texas, Crow had the concept for Longhorn Fashions at the forefront of her imagination. She wanted to create a boutique that would sell fashionable, affordable Longhorn-inspired apparel.
 
“I thought it was frustrating how difficult it was to put together a cute burnt orange outfit on the fly,” Crow says. “I felt like it would be great to create a company that carried clothing that girls could wear to games, but then turn around and go to work in the next day or wear downtown.”

A year after graduating college, Crow took a leap of faith and launched her store in August 2010, sourcing from four local fashion designers and spreading the word about her brand through word of mouth and social media. Though she was young and uncertain her concept would flourish, Crow understood that success only comes to those who have the courage to go chase it — so that’s exactly what she did.
 
Longhorn Fashions launched as an online boutique that sold a small selection of burnt orange dresses, skirts, tops and accessories. “Sure, I was overwhelmed when I started out, but I knew I’d put in 110 percent and make the necessary sacrifices,” she says. “I took the plunge, and the truth is I’ve never not been smiling when I’m working on the store, whether it’s updating the blog, working with a customer or talking to a new designer. I love what I do.”

The growth of Longhorn Fashions was slow and steady for most of 2010 and 2011, but in 2012, Crow decided it was time to expand her fashion startup. She realized the only way she’d be able to cultivate a recognizable brand and a strong customer following would be to get out and interact with all the fashion-savvy Longhorns throughout the state of Texas. That’s when the idea for Longhorn Fashions’ Trendy Trailer came about.

“A lot of my customers aren't just in Austin; they’re in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and all over. I wanted to be able to get out on the road and finally meet them,” Crow says. “I started looking for a small Airstream trailer I could use as a traveling store, and in June, I was finally able to find one that was a good fit for me.”

After purchasing the 19-foot trailer and parking it in her small driveway, Crow spent weeks painting the dirty walls a beautiful shade of turquoise, hanging jewelry accessories hooks she bought from Etsy, installing two steel clothing racks and decorating the whole of her chic boutique on wheels.
 
The trailer features 24 designers and over 90 percent of the store's online merchandise. In the end, purchasing the trailer turned out to best business decision thus far for Longhorn Fashions: In August 2012, Longhorn Fashions’ sales surpassed all of 2011’s sales combined.

Now that football season has started up, Crow plans on featuring the trailer at all the home games as well as Longhorn events throughout the state. As to whether or not we’ll see a brick-and-mortar storefront in the future, Crow says that decision is still up in the air. 
 
“I feel like brick-and-mortar would be nice someday, but I’m focusing on the trailer for now. I’d like to get a permanent location on South Congress or team up with one of the food trailer lots in the future and see where I can park the trailer permanently. I’m just taking it one day at a time.”

You can find Longhorn Fashions’ website here, or you can catch the Trendy Trailer at Bevo Boulevard during all the home games.