Nuzzled comfortably between Starbucks and Coffee House in Tressider Union is Stanford’s very own revamped student merchandise store, Tree Apparel. On Friday, the student store hosted their grand reopening event, enticing students with free boba drinks, a raffle and — of course — an onslaught of new and never-before-seen Stanford apparel.
At the start of the pandemic in 2020, the student store was forced to shut down for a year. After this period of stagnation, Tree Apparel is looking to support student life and reestablish their presence on campus as a go-to establishment.
Business Operation Manager for Stanford Student Enterprises, Jas Espinosa ’19, saw this revamp as an opportunity to infuse the store with more life in order to catch students’ attention.
“The pandemic really hampered our sales; we had to shut down for an entire year. That means we lost out on a whole year of profits toward the association, which helps fund student organizations and events on campus. So we are really looking toward strengthening our presence on campus,” Espinosa said. “What we really want to convey is that this store is a labor of love for the University and the student body. Everything here is completely run with the intention of supporting student life on campus.”
At the reopening, students marveled at the freshly painted robin’s egg walls, pristine white cabinets and a redesigned logo on the wall. Others congregated in hopes of snagging a free boba drink but ended up staying for the Tree Apparel’s welcoming environment and the opportunity to hang out with their friends while enjoying the fresh clothing designs.
“I’m here for the boba. My friends and I just came out of a class together. I think it’s nice because we haven’t hung out as a group before, since we’re all so busy, and it’s nice to be around them here. Hopefully we win something,” said Julia Hok ’23.
The Tree Apparel staff are always accepting student opinions and suggestions for product designs.
“If people want a place to showcase their designs, we want to be that place for them. We are looking forward to expanding our online presence as well as our retail location here,” Espinosa said.
While the reopening event posed opportunities for some students to enjoy the day with their friends, others came to collaborate with Tree Apparel. Vardaan Shah ’25 and Isabella Pistaferri ’25, two student designers and members of FashionX — Stanford’s pre-professional fashion club on campus — are interested in pushing the boundaries of what students are wearing.
“It’s been closed for a while, so I wanted to check out the new merch. I knew that they were making an effort to revamp, and it was cool to see that they had collaborated with different brands. We were also scouting out the merch because we know that the student store is working on getting collaborative student designers,” Pistaferri said. Shah and Pistaferri hope to work with the store in the future, as Tree Apparel provides a supportive space to incubate designers.
Tree Apparel distinguishes itself as a store run by students, for students. With student budget in mind and student designers showcasing their unique designs, Tree Apparel hopes to meet all of Stanford students’ merchandise needs.
“Honestly, I came for the free boba, but I stayed for the student store. It is a really interesting store, and it definitely sells different stuff than the bookstore,” Shah said. “We are largely looking to see what hasn’t been done before, what would be interesting and what students would like to wear on campus that hasn’t been sold at the bookstore.”