Stories of Austin by Rashu & Niti Malwade

“My older sister, Helena, and I are really into second hand stores and thrifting. We love taking shirts and giving them new life. My sister actually learned how to sew when she was younger after my grandmother taught her. So, one day my sister made a split shirt after thrifting and as most sisters do, I stole it from her closet and wore it to dinner. A lot of people told me, ‘That is such a cool shirt! Can you make one for me?’ Eventually, so many people asked but we realized we can't be paying for everybody and we’re gonna have to start selling these. That’s when we took our love for fashion and created SPLIT Shirt.

We have seen a huge shift in people's mindsets on sustainable fashion recently. Every single one of our shirts is one of a kind. But we had the ‘aha’ moment when we realized that the sewing process behind our shirts is pretty simple and we could eventually make a big impact in sustainable fashion if we were able to figure out the supply behind it. That’s what we’re working on right now. Our goal is to make sustainable fashion attainable.

I would definitely say that the fast environment of UT and especially within McCombs has been a huge inspiration. I just saw so many inspiring stories around me and everyone’s doing their own things and starting their own businesses. And of course, that's something I've always wanted to do. Getting to start SPLIT Shirt with my sister has been the best part because our dynamic is awesome. She is like the best thinker I've ever met and I trust her opinion 100%. I have the go, go, go mentality to get stuff done. She makes sure we get it done right. But it's also nice because if we go out to the store, and we're trying to match two shirts together, and she's like, ‘Hey, do you like this match?’ I can tell her ‘No, that's ugly’ because she's my sister. So it works. But it's been really fun and we can’t wait to keep growing.” - Gisele Sampayo, Co-Founder of SPLIT Shirt

Check out Stories of Austin on Instagram! @storiesofaustin