Norwich student capitalizes on T-shirt design

The Chive, a popular website revolving around posting humorous pictures and videos, recently has been selling many T-shirts to promote the site.  That idea has inspired one particular Norwich University senior to upgrade the way Norwich University “keep(s) calm.”

Agustin Borjas, 21, a senior business management major from Granbury, Texas, works at the Norwich University uniform store helping cadets find what they need.  When he’s not at the uniform store, he spends some of his free time browsing the chive website.

After noticing that the students were generally unsatisfied with the shirts sold at both Norwich’s bookstore and uniform store, he decided to do something about it.

Left to right: Ryan Callanan, Evan Cary, Jaguar Sasmito, and T-Shirt designer Agustin Borjas show off their new duds. (Ivy Ceballo Photo)

Left to right: Ryan Callanan, Evan Cary, Jaguar Sasmito, and T-Shirt designer Agustin Borjas show off their new duds. (Ivy Ceballo Photo)

“Looking at the shirts, I thought to myself that they don’t represent the Corps of Cadets well enough,” said Borjas.

Playing upon the popular Chive T-shirt slogan, “Keep Calm and Chive On,” Borjas created a wick-centric slogan.

“After I bought my own Chive shirt, I decided to come up with a slogan for Norwich: “Keep Calm and Stand By.”

These slogans originated from one of the British World War II propaganda posters, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” This particular poster had been created for the time when it was feared the Germans would invade Britain, which never happened.  The poster was never officially seen by the public and they were mostly destroyed.

But over time, the posters slowly started to show up at antique shows, the national archives and Imperial War Museum in London.  However, those relics were not Borjas’ first inspiration.

“After sitting around a table with some friends trying to come up with some ideas,” said Borjas, “my first thought was to do ‘Keep Calm and Corps On,’ but then I continued to think of what really makes the corps what it is.”

There were many steps in the process of making this T-shirt, Borjas explained.  First, he came up with the slogan and decided to use the school colors, maroon and gold. The final and the hardest step, he said, was to come up with the logo.

The original logo on the British World War II poster was the British Royal Crown and The Chive’s shirt had the royal crown with a “C” in the middle, said Borjas. “I came up with different ideas such as the cavalry hat and the rook cover until I decided upon the interlocking NU symbols.”

T-shirt designer Agustin Borjas sports his new apparel. (Ivy Ceballo Photo)

T-shirt designer Agustin Borjas sports his new apparel. (Ivy Ceballo Photo)

This interlocking NU symbol, however, has been difficult for the university to figure out whether or not it is allowable to use it or not.

“Back when the Old Sarge got disbanded from the university it seemed as though the NU symbol faded out as well,” said Caleb Beasley, 21, a senior studies of war and peace major from Shreveport, La.  “The uniform store ended up getting rid of all of the uniforms with the symbol on it.”

As the students are still figuring out whether or not this symbol is acceptable to the university, they continue to keep the design to themselves, selling the clothing privately. Borjas’ T-shirts are not sold through the bookstore or uniform store.

“Borjas did the design of the T-shirt and I helped with more of the distribution and selling of the shirts,” said Beasley. “We worked with a supplier in Killington. We just gave him the design and he printed them for us.”

Some of the students that work in the uniform store with Borjas and Beasley knew of his project and were getting excited for the new shirt to come out.

“When I first saw them designing it, I was really interested in having a corps shirt with a spinoff from the Chive T-shirt,” said Seth Hayes, 21, a senior engineering management major from Granby, Conn.  “This shirt is different from any other Norwich shirt you can buy.  It’s not the typical black or grey shirt that says Norwich University or Corps of Cadets on it.”

Students are getting bored with the generic shirts that the stores are selling on campus, explained Evan Carey, 22, a senior communications major from Kingston, Mass.  “You see shirts from other colleges that are funny and still adequately show what the school is about; this is our first shirt that really stands out at Norwich and means something to us.”

Borjas started out only ordering 24 shirts but they sold out quickly.  “I walked into Hawkins Hall to deliver some to my friends and walked out with nearly half of them gone,” said Borjas.  “I have sold about 89 shirts so far this year and I’m hoping to sell some more when we get back from spring break.”

“Borjas came to my room the first day he was selling the shirts and I immediately bought one,” said Carey.  “This new shirt really represents the corps and it was a reasonable price.” The T-shirts are sold for $15 each.

“This shirt has been a hit not only to the Norwich campus but also alumni and parents,” said Beasley.

“Stand By” is not necessarily a military saying, said Carey.  The shirt itself is almost an “inside joke.”  “People that don’t go to Norwich have no idea what the shirt means, but the people that go to Norwich can really relate to it.”

“You’re always hearing “hurry up and wait” in the military,” said John Zwack, 21, a senior mechanical engineer from Steventown, N.Y., “so ‘stand by’ is kind of Norwich’s way of saying just that.”

“Stand by” is a command that Norwich uses a lot whether it’s in the morning before formation or before they start a parade, said Carey.

“Sometimes it’s a good joke to play because you can get the entire corps to be quiet with just these two simple words for no reason at all,” said Carey, “You can make them stand there for nearly 10 minutes before they realize nothing is actually happening.”

Borjas is not stopping with just his current T-shirt. He has new ideas  brewing in his head and some of them will be up on his Facebook page, Keep Calm and Stand By.

“I have about four more shirts that I have been working on,” said Borjas. “None of these shirts are being sold on campus, but I was able to design one that is being sold at the uniform store right now.”

“It really represents Norwich because we know how to goof off but when it comes down to it, we know how to be professional too,” said Carey.

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