Lisa Frank: Back, bright and vintage

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Photo by Joshua Zubia
Hannah Wood poses with her vibrant Lisa Frank poster on campus. Wood’s past love for all things Lisa Frank lives on in her large color by numbers poster in her college apartment.


Penguins, Kittens, and Unicorns, OhMy!

It’s 1990, and penguins, unicorns and ballet-dancing rabbits, all painted in bright and bold colors make grade school girls excited for more than new friends as a new school year began.

School supplies have not been the same since and are just one of the ways that Lisa Frank has captured the hearts of so many in past years.

Frank is known for her brightly animated school supplies that were popular in the late ’80s and through the ’90s. Who knew they would make a comeback?

Lisa Frank items are now considered to be “rare vintage” by fashion experts and by the fact that they are now difficult to find. Having nostalgic fans and a shortage of supply create a great market for rare vintage items.

“It’s interesting — just funny because it was so popular when I was younger and now it’s vintage?” said Audrey Miller, junior nursing major. “Makes me feel old.”

Urban Outfitters Inc. is one of the few places Lisa Frank items are available for purchase other than on websites such as eBay.com or Amazon.com.

This retail outlet has made the hipster trend of all things vintage and ironic cool again with its inventory of items of yesteryears.

So, naturally, these brightly colored school supplies are not excluded from the lineup of vintage items this generation is clambering to get back into their backpacks — or briefcases.

As millennials grow up, so do the items from their childhoods, making their way to being categorized as vintage in today’s market.

When an item becomes vintage by popular standards, the pricing follows suit as it skyrockets. A popular tri-fold binder that would retail for less than $10 in the early 1990s is now selling for $35 at Urban Outfitters.

Individual folders to be used inside of binders are now selling for $6. These items sold for around $1 during the height of the Lisa Frank school supply craze.

Items currently for sale include everything from sticker packs to desktop kits. Single items like individual pencils are hard to come by.

“I probably wouldn’t buy a folder for $35,” Miller said. “It’s so expensive.”

Rebekah Hurlburt, senior music composition major, was never a fan of Lisa Frank items growing up. However, she still has some stickers tucked away and remembers thinking that one day the psychedelic color themed supplies would be wanted again.

Those who wish to purchase direct from the trademarked company can at LisaFrankStore.com. The website has many products that Urban Outfitters does not carry.

LisaFrankStore.com is not currently selling folders; however, the site does offer more novelty products such as T-shirts, beanie babies and cookie jars for the avid Lisa Frank collector.

However people feel about the famed school supply designer, the masses have indicated a resurgence of these brightly colored office supplies is in demand for the 21st century.

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