The Kentucky Plaid Project is a unique experiential education project engaging students in the Department of Retailing and Tourism Management in product development from creative inception to finished product.  The project is led by Dr. Scarlett Wesley, Associate Professor and Liz Toombs, Advisory Board Chairman.  University of Kentucky First Lady Patsy Todd serves as honorary chairman.

The project began during the spring 2008 semester in two courses in the department.  Students in Problem Solving in Merchandising (MAT 350), where students designed 35 plaid patterns from which 4 finalists were selected for consideration to be the official University of Kentucky plaid.  Through online voting, the official plaid was selected in May 2008.  Approximately 12,000 votes were cast during the two-week process.  The official plaid was designed by Christina Criollo and Jena Everhard (pictured at left).

Students in Customer Relationship Management (MAT 559) designed Kentucky Plaid Project logos for use on apparel and accessory items produced using the plaid design.  Elements from three logo designs were selected for incorporation into the final tag (pictured at left).  The designs were created by Cyntrale Johnson, Kristin Kover, Erin O'Brien, and Whitney Whitmer.

During fall 2008, students in Merchandise Strategy Analysis designed products for consideration for production.  Their ideas were presented to the advisory board who selected products to be produced.  Through courses in the department, students annually created product designs for the advisory board to review and select additions for the product line

As the project continues, additional courses in Retailing and Tourism Management are engaging students in activities associated with the plaid.  Each semester, students in Aesthetics Experiences in Retail (MAT 237) create window displays at the UK Bookstore to feature the plaid products.