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Davis, California

Saturday, May 25, 2024

UC Davis merch needs an overhaul

Aggies deserve classic and creative official merchandise 


By OWEN RUDERMAN — opinion@theaggie.org


Regrettably, my time in Davis is approaching its end. And even though I’ve only been here for a couple of years, it’s come to feel like my home. I’ve cherished (almost) every moment here, and, as a result, it’s only natural that I would want to snag some UC Davis merchandise from the campus store before I’m no longer a student. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the merch selection is not particularly compelling or representative of the school. It just feels bland.

And it doesn’t seem like I’m the only one who holds this opinion. Recently, a TikTok on UC Davis’s disappointing merch went viral. In the video, a UC Davis alumnus returned to campus to try to replace the hoodie he purchased when he graduated eight years ago, but was disappointed to find that all the designs had been updated. He proceeded to use AI-generated art to make his own hoodie design.

Let me be the first to say that the AI design in said TikTok is… horrendous, to say the least. The new hoodie features a “cow who is also a student, riding a bike,” and it looks like it crawled straight out of the uncanny valley. But the TikToker’s main point still stands — UC Davis needs to overhaul its merch. 

In the video, the alumnus showed off his original hoodie, and the design is, in my opinion, much better than anything we have now. In fact, even a quick Google search for “UC Davis 90s sweatshirts” brings up images of tons of different pieces of clothing that I wish we had at the official UC Davis store.

I think that the reason why this current iteration of the merchandise rubs me the wrong way is because it doesn’t seem to have any soul. Sure, it features the school colors (which are nearly identical to every other UC, by the way), but the chosen logo communicates almost nothing. All that most of the clothing says is “UCD” in big capital letters. If you look at some of the older designs, you see a design that screams “Davis,” a design that seems more classically college-y or both. I think we should return to our funky design roots and move away from the boring, minimalist merchandise that lines the walls of the campus bookstore.

UC Davis needs to address its bland merchandise options, and quickly. But in the meantime, perhaps it’s a good idea to pick up some Davis-themed clothing from the local Art Market, or maybe get a shirt from the club you’re in. The students here at UC Davis have a lot of creativity, and the Davis-themed clothes you can get from them are pretty cool. If you want my advice, though, stay away from the campus store unless it’s your last resort, at least until UC Davis gets some better merch.


Written By: Owen Ruderman — opinion@theaggie.org

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.