UT student runs business selling feminist fashion, boy band tees

Stephen Acevedo

Instead of letting ridicule for their boy band T-shirts, posters and accessories alter their style choices, two One Direction fans decided to turn their interests into a business platform.

History and government sophomore Nishiki Maredia and her business partner Angela Jin, a management junior at Boston College, started a clothing line called 1950 Collective in January which now boasts $100,000 in revenue. They sell T-shirts, sweatshirts, flannels and iPhone cases with different prints for young women. 

Each month, they donate 10 percent of their clothing line’s profits to a different organization that advocates women empowerment. This month’s donations will be going to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.  

They have also created a “Girl Power” collection for the clothing line with T-shirts containing humorous and poignant phrases, such as “Favorite Position: CEO,” that Maredia said promote a positive message to young women. 

“Women are constantly being mocked for their interests — boy bands, feminism, fashion,” Jin said. “1950 Collective has become the ultimate amalgam of all those things. Not only were we able to celebrate what’s often used as a punchline against women, but we built our company and rooted our success in those passions, as well.”

The business idea started when Maredia and Jin attended a One Direction concert. They noticed a lot of the girls in the crowd said the merchandise was sub-par and lazily designed, so they decided to make their own. In addition to collections dedicated to boy bands and women’s empowerment, Maredia and Jin also offer apparel with prints of tweets, emojis, famous art and original fan artwork. 

“We were tired of young girls’ tastes not being taken seriously by big merchandising companies, and we wanted to start a company that put a real effort into exploring the interests of young women,” Maredia said. “From there we have just been adjusting our product options to what is currently popular.”

Maredia and Jin said they did not pay for any professional advertising. They initially spread awareness of 1950 Collective by advertising their T-shirt designs themselves through One Direction “fandoms” on Instagram and Twitter. Eventually, they were able to recruit ambassadors who offered discounts to their social media followers in order to earn special rewards. 

Maredia said this system played a vital role in the rapid takeoff of 1950 Collective. The business now has 65,000 followers on social media, 2,200 ambassadors and customers in 36 different countries. 

Jin said it’s important they do not have any investor or supervisor trying to push their business in a certain direction.The duo does everything independently to make sure all of the products they create are up to their own personal standards. In order to keep their business running smoothly while they are in school, Maredia and Jin have enlisted four interns to help them with daily tasks of packing and mailing, monitoring social media and communicating with customers.     

“It is no surprise to me that Nishiki and Angela have been so successful,” Meredith Reilly, intern and Boston College sophomore said. “They are constantly finding new ways to make their company more efficient and further please their customers.”

Getting involved with them and watching them work has given me a chance to learn so many helpful business tactics that I would never have gained in a classroom setting.”

More than the financial earnings of their company, Jin said she and Maredia are excited to show other young women that they too can be successful in the male-dominated startup community. 

“I feel like the people who are getting all of the attention in the business world right now are college boys with startup apps,” Jin said. “Not to put down what they are doing at all, but females are just as capable of being visionaries. Even if we are not developing an app, we are still running a very successful business. Nishiki and I are happy to serve as a beacon for females in a culture where we are being underrepresented.”