|Ewha merchandise are sold at Ewha's gift shops around the school. These goods are not only attractive, but they also embody students' affiliation for the school. Photo by Kim Jee-min.
The fall semester has just begun, bringing students back to school after the long break. This time of the year is a crucial stage for seniors in high school as they start applying for the universities of their dreams. While they thoroughly examine what programs and curricula each university offers, prospective students also take great interest in the university’s apparel, notebooks, bottles, and other representative merchandise.
“I stopped by the Ewha Welcome Center to look around their gift shop,” said Nam Eun-ji (alias), a senior from Ewha Womans University High School. “Ewha’s merchandise are very popular among my friends and other high school students.”
For prospective students, this merchandise are much more than just pretty souvenirs; they also become a source of motivation.
“I bought this notebook and pencil-case with Ewha’s logo on them,” Nam said. “I think these will remind me to study harder in order to come to Ewha Womans University. I truly hope that I could continue using them when I enter college next year.”
There are three gift shops in Ewha, each at the Ewha Welcome Center, Ewha Campus Complex, and Pavilion. These gift shops are all operated by Ewha Consumer Cooperative (Ewha COOP). In order to successfully manage the gift shops, Ewha COOP holds weekly meetings to discuss what merchandise they would sell, what designs they would select and what events they would organize.
As well as prospective students, tourists who come to visit the campus also take great interest in Ewha’s merchandise.
“Tourists make up a large portion of our customer base,” explained the executive director of Ewha COOP. “I believe that they wish to take something both attractive and memorable back home.”
Nevertheless, the largest portion of the customer base includes enrolled students and alumni. Students and graduates of Ewha come visit and purchase items from the gift shops the most frequently.
“Some alumni come all the way to Ewha just to buy a mug or bottle with the Ewha logo,” remarked the executive director.
On the other hand, you might notice uniquely hoodies or jackets bearing the Ewha logo, that cannot be found in the school gift shops when you walk around campus. These are merchandise designed by students independently, which can be ordered online, usually with a limit of 30 to 50 students. These group purchases happen all throughout the year as students upload their designs on online school community boards such as Ewhaian and Everytime.
“I have been in charge of five group purchases for a jumper, hoodie, t-shirt, windbreaker and sweatshirt,” said Kwak Do-eun, a sophomore majoring in international studies. “I volunteered to do the group purchase because I wanted to have specifically designed apparel and others wanted to join as well.”
Though Ewha’s merchandise is recognized for its cute designs, many believe that its popularity roots from the students’ sense of affiliation to the university.
“Not only are they comfortable clothes to wear around campus, but these Ewha-logo merchandise also significantly stands for Ewha,” shared Kwak. “I believe students feel a special pride and affection for Ewha, making all these group purchases possible despite the difficult process.”
Whether sold at gift shops or hand-made by students, Ewha’s goods are an attraction to both Ewha and non-Ewha students and tourists. Therefore, many expect that Ewha’s goods can be used to further promote Ewha’s brand and value as a university.
“These items bearing the Ewha logo mean more than just merchandise to us,” said a student majoring in Korean education. “I hope more people will see our devotion to the school and learn how much we deeply value it.”