Longhorn Fashions in The Daily Texan!

6th Oct 2010

I am so honored to be included in The Daily Texan. You can pick up a copy on the University of Texas campus or read the article here: http://www.dailytexanonline.com/content/fashionista-designs-football-garments

I am pictured wearing the Texas Fight White w/ Burnt Orange Long Sleeve Wrap belted as a top, the Blanton Earrings, the South Lamar Colorful Beaded Belt and the Everybody Loves a Longhorn Chunky Bangle.

Fashionista designs football garments

By Layne Lynch, Daily Texan Staff
Published: Wednesday, October 6, 2010
DT Image
Allen Otto | Daily Texan Staff

UT Alumni Tessie Watson now owns and manages her own fashion label, Longhorn Fashion, which specializes in UT game day outfits for women.

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a bi-monthly series looking into the lives of people who help shape the city of Austin.

In the thick of a nail-biting Longhorn football game, thousands of screaming fans focus their attention on the green field, the plays and the scoreboard. All the while, UT alumna Tessie Watson is admiring the sea of burnt-orange fashions in the audience.

Although the arenas of sports and fashion seem worlds away from each other, Watson has made it her job to sew the two pieces together, merging fashion and football into one entity. Channeling the football fashion trend, Watson began selling collegiate clothes and accessories on her website longhornfashions.com in August.

“It’s funny because about half the time at the [football] games, I’m not even watching the players,” Watson said. “My eyes wander and I [often] look at what everyone is wearing.”

Although it might not make her the best football fan, her wandering eyes have led to some satisfied customers. However, she didn’t originally intend to venture into the fashion world. Just a few months ago, Watson was a far cry from that world.

After graduating from UT in 2009 with a degree in corporate communications and working full-time in online marketing, Watson had planned on selling Longhorn fashions one day, but continually put her intentions to sell UT clothes and accessories on the back burner. Suddenly, with the advice of friends, Watson realized it was only a matter of time before it was too little, too late.

“I got really nervous when my friends told me that other people had similar ideas of what I planned to do,” Watson said. “I thought, if I’m going to do it, I need to do
it now.”

Growing up, Watson’s love for fashion coursed through her veins and has since become a grounding force in her life. She cites her interest in it as something she inherited from her grandmother, whom Watson said could look at an old picture and recall details of her clothing down to the exact day she bought the particular piece.

However, Watson said her greatest inspirations are her mother and sister, who helped her start her business. As a teenager, she collaborated with them to make leather and suede shoulder bags for fun and sometimes for donation, but announcing she wanted to sell clothing as a means of income was something Watson was quite nervous about.

“I expected them to warn me and tell me it was too risky because I was working full-time, but they were really supportive,” Watson said. “They were like, ‘That’s awesome. How can we help?’”

As a current Austin resident and UT alumna, Watson has seen women’s football fashion evolve from washed-out T-shirts and cutoff shorts to burnt-orange cotton dresses and feminine-chic cowboy boots.

In her pieces, Watson likes to tailor her attention to the fit of the clothing as well as the appeal to women of varied body shapes and sizes. Her favorite item to include is turquoise jewelry because she feels it is a classic representation of being from the South. Watson also thinks something as simple as adding a belt or pair of earrings can completely transform an outfit.

“In a city like Austin and a university like Texas, burnt orange is a precious commodity,” said customer Caroline Ashmore. “Tessie’s accessories and dresses are [a] solution for someone who is looking for a game-day outfit that’s way more unique than a typical homemade T-shirt dress or mass-produced jersey from the Co-op.”

In the future, Watson hopes to establish a flagship store in Austin expanded to include a men’s line, incorporate vintage pieces into her line and include pieces for colleges outside of UT. What once started as a secondary dream has now become the focus of her life.

“I don’t want to lose the purpose behind what I do,” Watson said. “I want to keep up the unique quality of my work and keep bringing in great pieces.”