By Laura McAlister
When it comes to game day fashion, forget the body paint and T-shirts. Thanks to a Hoover High graduate, women, at least, have some much more fashion-forward options.
Megan Crane is the designer for the Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.-based Judith March clothing line. In addition to fun, flirty dresses for any time of the year, the clothing line also includes a college game day collection.
And since Crane and Stephanie Nichols, founder of Judith March, are both Alabama natives, you can bet there are plenty of orange and blue and red and white options to choose from.
“I graduated from Auburn and Stephanie from Troy,” Megan said. “Every time I would go to try to find a dress with orange and blue, I could never find what I wanted. It was either always a solid orange or solid navy.”
That’s not the case with the Judith March game day collection.
Megan believes the perfect dress is all about prints and fit, so she designs her own patterns and tries on each dress herself.
In the game day collection, she’s created signature prints using her alma mater’s team colors of orange and blue. And since she has a boyfriend who’s a Tide fan, she’s also making dresses in red and white and houndstooth.
The game day dresses fit right in with the rest of the Judith March collections. They’re what Megan would call “girly.”
“There’s a lot of strapless options or one-shoulder,” she said. “We wanted something casual enough that people would wear them to games.”
This is the second year Judith March will offer a game day collection. Megan said they offered four dresses the first year but had such a great response that they’ve added more this year.
It’s not just the game day collection that’s growing. The entire Judith March line has taken off since the company launched in October.
Megan was working in New York when she was approached by Stephanie, who at the time owned a clothing boutique in Santa Rosa Beach, about joining her in starting the Judith March label.
“The reason Stephanie wanted to start her own line was because people at her boutiques were always saying they wanted clothes that fit better. They wanted prettier prints,” Megan said. “We started talking, and I knew I could help her from a technical aspect, plus I did design, as well.”
Good fit and unique prints are Megan’s specialties.
Since childhood, Megan has always been into fashion. She said she gets her creativity from her mother, Kim.
“My mom is very creative,” Megan said. “She actually had her own clothing line when we were younger. After that she was always making Halloween costumes for all of us.
“She taught me how to sew. Then when I went to Auburn I learned more.”
Megan graduated from Hoover High in 2003 and then went to Auburn University to major in apparel design. The summer of her senior year, she interned for Kay Unger in New York City. Though she was offered to a full-time job with the line, she chose to return to Auburn to get her degree.
After graduation, she secured a job with Phoebe Couture, an edgier, more youthful division of Kay Unger.
“I worked under the head designer,” she said. “I had to come up with designs and did all my own prints for the daytime division and the evening. They were very high-end dresses.
“I had to work with the factories in China and the production teams. I was kind of a one-stop shop. It was very hands on, but it helped me learn.”
The skills she learned from Phoebe Couture helped her in starting the Judith March line, she said
Now, almost a year into the venture, Megan said the line continues to grow.
The company has its own office building with about 30 full-time employees and is adding collections as well as retail locations.
Currently, Judith March dresses are sold in more than 1,300 stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. In the Birmingham area, the line can be found at Altar’d States, Chloe’s Closet, MiGi’s and Turquoise.