London fashion agency to premiere EMCC merchandise

East Mississippi Community College has partnered with London-based apparel company Park Agencies Ltd., which will design and distribute EMCC merchandise in the United Kingdom, Europe and other countries. The deal is a result of the popularity of "Last Chance U" a Netflix series featuring the EMCC Lions football team. (Submitted photo)
Staff Writer

Travelers to Europe and other overseas destinations may soon see a familiar sight on foreign soil.

Due to the popularity of the Netflix show “Last Chance U,” British fashion agency Park Agencies Ltd has signed a contract to distribute and design EMCC merchandise for markets in Europe. “Last Chance U” follows members of the championship-winning EMCC Lions football team as the redeem themselves from crimes and academic failures to try to return to Division 1 football.

As a result of the series’ success, orders for merchandise from the EMCC bookstore soared by more than 200 percent. Orders came from far beyond the U.S., including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and The Netherlands

“That first night when the second season came out, I didn’t sleep,” said EMCC District Bookstore Manager and Athletics Social Media Coordinator Ginnie Cody. “I stopped processing orders at 5 a.m. the next morning, slept for a couple of hours at my desk and went right back to it. I remember thinking to myself, this is going to be bigger than we thought it would be.”

In-store product trials could begin as soon as March, with the line to officially launch in summer or early winter of this year. The products will be designed by Park Agencies, and will be different than the items available through the EMCC bookstore.

“I think to watch it really take off is really amazing,” said EMCC Executive Director of College Advancement Marcus Wood, who served as an assistant coach at the time the series was filmed. “I don’t know if any of us really planned for it to be exactly how huge it ended up being. Obviously, it was a lot larger than anybody could imagine.”

Wood also said both the series and the upcoming clothing line would help boost EMCC’s brand in places where the school was not well known.

“Hopefully, our brand continues to grow,” Wood said. “Hopefully, it will get more people interested in attending school here. Hopefully, it’s positive, and we take off and make this thing a great opportunity.”

EMCC President Thomas Huebner said there was also an opportunity for the college to make some money off the merchandise. The college will receive a small percentage of royalties from the merchandise.

“As far as we know, we are the only community college in the world with an apparel contract like this,” Huebner said.

Park Agencies Director Tony Park said he would like to create a separate label for EMCC apparel.

“We feel that we will be able to offer a brand that will reflect the values and hard work of the staff and students at East Mississippi Community College,” Park said.