Defining the College-Town Vibe
With Fayetteville in the center, northwest Arkansas has grown into an eclectic melting pot for local businesses, gorgeous natural landscapes and practically every sort of cultural (or countercultural) lifestyle imaginable. All of these elements mix and mesh with ease; whether you’re an outdoorsy athletic, a football hero, an aspiring businessman, a sorority sister, a musician, a writer, a fraternity brother or a spiritual ascetic, Fayetteville has something to offer you.
Most people who move here fall in love with the community, and over the years, Fayetteville has been given a whole host of affectionate nicknames by its residents. Part of Fayetteville’s unique flavor comes by the vast array of local restaurants and companies, and one that’s made a particularly heavy culture mark is Fayettechill, the local “Ozark Mountain Clothing” company.
“It’s about taking life slowly,” reads the Fayettechill website vibe descriptor. “It’s about being with friends, kicking back and popping the top off a cold one, or sitting on the porch and just watching the sunset.”
“I was in college for three years and nobody really used the term while I was there,” said Mo Elliott, the founder of Fayettechill. “Then one day I heard someone say it, and I trademarked it and started a company after it. I think it’s a vibe that goes well with the area. Compared to where I’m from, which is Dallas, Texas, this place is very easygoing and relaxed, and the people are very friendly. And then you have the outdoor community that’s such a huge part of the culture here—the term just fit perfectly with all the aspects of Fayetteville.”
The company’s name has been taken on also as a general nickname for the city, which, economically speaking, is an excellent place for a business to be.
“I actually heard the name ‘Fayettechill’ before I came up here and discovered that it was a clothing company too,” said Andrew Barber, a UA freshman. “I think the name is supposed to reflect the easy living, and hanging around in the mountains, going hiking, canoeing, rock climbing or just being able to chill out and lay in a hammock all day.”
The locally-powered economy is something Fayetteville prides itself on, and just as Austin, Texas has its “Keep Austin Weird” campaign, the Fayetteville Independent Business Alliance runs a campaign called “Keep Fayetteville Funky.” Much like in Austin, the campaign’s practical purpose is to promote and encourage the development of local businesses. But even beyond that, the stickers seen around town in restaurants and bars quite effectively capture the city’s quirky sense of community.
The FIBA writes on their website, “The Fayetteville Independent Business Alliance seeks to ensure a vibrant and sustainable economy based on locally owned businesses whose owners and clients value their independence.” And the statement, in a big way, embodies the general eclecticism of the city.
“Some would call it funkiness, but I would call it uniqueness,” said Olivia Merritt, a UA apparel studies student. “Fayetteville is so unique, and so different from everywhere else I’ve been. It just has this aura about it that brings people together.”
“And it’s always been the people of Fayetteville that keep this place funky,” said sophomore Taylor Wehunt. “Fayetteville has always had this great sense of community, and this whole Keep Fayetteville Funky thing exemplifies that.”
Some people call it “chill,” some people call it ‘funky.’ But verbosity aside, the city of Fayetteville has a lot to offer. More often than not, when people move here for the first time and dig into the culture, no matter where they might be in life, they find what they’re looking for—and the people already living in Fayetteville know what they’ve got.