Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

College of Human and Environmental Sciences promotes the University's interesting tartan pattern


In Celtic culture, a tartan is a fabric designed to represent a specific family, symbolizing their history and what’s important to them. It’s something people usually associate with kilts. This week, the College of Human and Environmental Sciences (CHES) is looking to draw attention to the fact that The University of Alabama has a tartan of its own.

The University’s tartan pattern, entitled “We are Crimson,” is crimson and white with gray and black accents. It’s 13 lines, representing each of the university’s colleges, criss-crossed to form a square in the middle representing the Quad. Each of the four corners of that square represents one of the buildings that was left standing after the campus was burned during the Civil War: the President’s Mansion, Gorgas House, Maxwell Hall observatory and the little round house.

“Nowadays, there’s a lot of division everywhere you look and you can take something like ‘We are Crimson’ and this represents a family,” said Babs Davis, the fashion retailing coordinator with CHES. “And so at The University of Alabama no matter who you are, no matter where you came from, we are all part of this family, we are all crimson together.”

The pattern was created in 2010 by UA alumna Linnzi Rich as part of a contest held by CHES for its students. Rich said when she was designing the pattern, one of the big challenges was creating something that would be easily related to the University.

“I was working with a lot of different designs and configurations and colors and the only thing that made sense to me was to leave it mostly crimson with white and then accents of black and gray,” Rich said.

Rich graduated in 2012 with a degree in interior design and now works as a carpet designer in Cartersville, Georgia. Originally an engineering major, she switched majors after an internship when she realized she was more interested in designing textiles than the science behind making them.

“Winning the contest just kind of proved to me that maybe I could be a textile designer one day,” she said. “So that’s what I kept working towards.”

Nowadays, friends and family will send her pictures whenever they see the pattern in stores or at Alabama sporting events. She said family members have stopped people before who are wearing the tartan pattern to tell them that she was the one who designed it, especially her grandfather.

“We’ve gone to the SEC championship in Atlanta for years,” she said. “And anytime he sees somebody, it doesn’t matter if he stops for two seconds, my grandfather will just tell everyone.”

To bring more attention to the the tartan pattern, CHES will have stickers and flyers promoting it this week and at Friday’s gymnastic meet, Davis said. “The Best Seat in the House” section of Coleman Coliseum will have a tartan cover on it and the coaches will be wearing tartan merchandise.

Davis said she thinks one perk of the tartan is that unlike houndstooth, the tartan is completely unique to the University. She said many vendors and retailers she’s worked with have said they’re looking for something new to sell alongside the classic pattern for people who want something a little different.

“It’s something new and different that has a meaning,” she said. “When you think of Alabama you think of houndstooth and I think sometimes people are looking for something a little different because houndstooths is everywhere. It’s even in the fashion world. It’s very popular, so this is something new that’s just unique to Alabama that we think people are starting to embrace.”

For Rich, getting to see people wear something she created, with a tag that has her name on it, is one of the most rewarding parts of creating it.

“It’s really cool that I got to design this for the University and it’s kind of my legacy,” she said. “I really enjoyed my time at the University… Everything that I went through just kind of led me to this point. I know it sound really weird, but everything just kind of fell into place and I’m really thankful for that.” 

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