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How many old high school T-shirts take up space in your closet, but never get worn?  Five?  Ten?  Maybe even twenty? 

If you or your kids are like a lot of high school graduates, you’ve got tons of school spirit T-shirts lying around the house.  To many recent grads, once they’re out of high school and off to college, there’s no need to sport their former school’s mascot and the shirts are often put on a quilt or in storage.

Highland Park Apparel is a brand created to represent more than the high school, but the entire community. 

Launched on Aug. 26 of this summer, Highland Park Apparel currently offers “classic” Highland Park T-shirts and socks printed with a Highland Park logo.  Later this week, the company will have pocket tees and tanks for sale on its website.  Long sleeve tees and caps are also in the works. 

Highland Park Apparel

John Sargent, founder of Highland Park Apparel, was born and raised in Highland Park, attending HPISD schools K-12.  After graduating from Highland Park High School he felt as if his Scots’ shirts were no longer as relevant as they had been in his school days.  The Highland Park community, however, still was.

While on a family trip to Seaside, Florida, Sargent noticed how the Seaside community seemed to market itself as a brand, rather than simply a beachside community.  He was inspired to do the same for his home community of Highland Park.  “No one had branded the Highland Park community yet,” Sargent says, modeling his plan after Seaside’s strategy.  “It was just a niche that I found that I could fill,” he says.

Though the HPHS Scots are an integral part of the community, Sargent wanted community members to realize it takes more to represent Highland Park than spirit wear.  “The community hadn’t been branded aside from athletics,” he says, adding “there’s more to the brand of the Highland Park community than blue and gold.”

Highland Park Apparel is still supportive of HPISD, however.  The brand recently donated an item to the Highland Park Belles’ silent auction and set up a display at the Scots’ appearance in the Tom Landry Classic.

In October, Highland Park Apparel will participate in the Hyer Preschool Association’s Happy Hollydays Bazaar.  Currently, Highland Park Apparel products are sold exclusively online, and the Happy Hollydays Bazaar will be the first opportunity to sell merchandise directly to the customer. 

While Sargent is interested in growing Highland Park Apparel, he has bigger dreams for the company than just building his own brand.  By having an entirely digital business through Highland Park Apparel’s website, he hopes to enhance the online presence of other local merchants by promoting local commerce. 

In addition to business, Sargent wants Highland Park Apparel to be an example for young people, showing them the importance of following their passions in business.  

A recent graduate from Texas A&M University, Sargent began his entrepreneurial ventures at the age of 10, selling items on eBay.  He later spent his time going from door to door painting addresses on curbs. 

While in college, Sargent became a member of the Aggie Men’s Club.  He designed the club’s event T-shirts, working closely with printing companies to gradually learn the ropes of the industry.  After graduating, he applied his acquired skills and opened Highland Park Apparel. 

He believes the Highland Park community supports the hard work of its younger residents, and he wants to encourage students to create opportunities for themselves as he did. 

“I feel like there’s a lot of potential and a lot of success coming out of this community,” he says, adding that through Highland Park Apparel, he would like to find a way to involve or contribute to young people that have big ideas.  Sargent urges youths to follow their passions, rather than just pursuing “safe” options, and hopes that a scholarship can assist graduates in their ventures. 

Sargent’s immediate plans for Highland Park Apparel are to expand the brand to cover more merchandise, and he hopes to take on an HPHS intern to help.  

For more information about Highland Park Apparel, visit the website at www.HighlandParkApparel.com.

Highland Park Apparel— Celebrating a Century (Highland Park 1913).

Photo courtesy of Highland Park Apparel

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