When Mar Gibbs landed in California to begin his freshman year at University of the Pacific in 2005, he realized he had no outerwear. The Sunshine State native from Southern Florida, who found himself getting cold fairly easily, needed a sweatshirt. So he headed to the university bookstore.
As he browsed through the merchandise, he noticed the high prices.
“I ended up buying the lowest priced sweatshirt that I could find; roughly $40. It was decorated with a three-color artwork that read 'University of the' on the first line and 'Pacific' on the second line,” he added. “I thought to myself, ‘I can do better.’”
Although he didn’t think much of it at the time, Gibbs would soon be inspired to create his own line of Pacific clothing.
Though he’s always had an artistic skill and an entrepreneurial spirit, it wasn’t until later during Gibb’s sophomore year that he created his first piece.
“My roommates and I were getting ready to attend Midnight Mania,” an event in which they introduce the men’s and women’s basketball teams, play games and give out free stuff. “I wanted to dress differently, so I purchased a blank white fitted baseball cap with thin black pinstripes. When I got back to my dorm, I pulled out a sharpie and went to town on that poor cap. I drew the Powercat on the front and the Pacific 'P' initial on the back.”
He wore his homemade cap to Midnight Mania and to his surprise, fellow students began to ask him where they could get their own.
“I didn’t even like the cap because I drew the Powercat slightly crooked, but they loved it. I didn’t think much of it.”
After graduation from UOP in 2010 with a degree in graphic design, Gibbs relocated back to Florida.
“While unpacking in my parent’s house, I came across my hat that I drew on in 2006," he said.
Being a harsh critic, Gibbs could not figure out why his cap was so popular among other students.
“I decided that it was because it was different. In 2010, I was a better graphic and apparel designer than I was in 2006 when I drew on the cap. I decided to create a tiger T-shirt design for fun.”
From there, Gibbs has continued to design and print the majority of his apparel, which is now officially licensed through the Collegiate Licensing Company since March 2013.
Now the owner of The Tiger Collection, Gibbs stays motivated when he sees the positive ways students, alumni and fans react to his works of art.
“I love seeing the frenzy-like mentality that takes over every student when campus organizations distribute my apparel on campus for free. It’s beautiful. I’m also motivated to keep designing because I’d like The Tiger Collection to be recognized as one of the top fashion-forward collegiate apparel brands, especially among smaller universities.”
Gibbs’ products are distinctive and stand out from other Pacific gear because of the concept and ideals that his brand is built upon.
“I don’t like cookie-cutter apparel. You shouldn’t be able to go to another university bookstore and see the same apparel designs bearing different colors and a different name,” he said.
“Everything we design is designed with a purpose. From the first preliminary sketches to the final product; we’re always focused on a goal. We don’t design it just to look good. We design it to compliment you. We design it to feel comfortable on you. We design it for you.”
For more information and to get your own piece from the Tiger Collection, visit:thetigercollection.com