Just hours before a football game at The University of Texas at Austin, you’ll find yourself surrounded in a sea of burnt orange and white with students and alumni parading around the stadium, clothed from head to toe in fancy dresses, button-down collared shirts and cowboy boots. Renee Mango, an out-of-state corporate communications junior and native New Yorker, found this dressier game day fashion different from that of schools in the North. There, students tend to wear college T-shirts over dressier options to show their school spirit.
Story by Jenna Meltzer
Photographs by Alejandra Martinez
To bring this game day trend to Texas, Mango took a different spin on the classic college T-shirt, making a more stylish option to match the fancier outfit choices Longhorns pride themselves on wearing. She took one of her old Longhorn T-shirts and transformed it using an original method that she now calls T-Weaving, marking the start of her business, T-Weaves.
“Most girls can attest to the fact that finding something cute to wear on game day can be a challenge,” Mango says. “Thinking about that, I thought, ‘How cool would it be to turn that sleep-in, big T-shirt into a cute downtown or everyday shirt?’” After receiving motivational feedback and compliments on her own T-weaved shirts, Mango decided to turn this idea into an entrepreneurial opportunity.
Every shirt Mango sells is unique to the customer. Whether the customer owns the shirt they want weaved or a shirt option that Mango creates for the customer, each piece has a different design that matches each person’s personality. “This is what makes T-Weaves special — it offers individuality in every design,” Mango says. “This is the idea I want to encourage within this brand.”
Since starting her business in September, Mango has sold 80 shirts to students at schools across the country solely by word of mouth. “Currently I am the only one making the shirts, but I love doing it,” she says. “It gives me a chance to exercise my creativity.” Mango has sold shirts to students at UT, Syracuse University, Boston University and the University of Michigan.
With big plans for her startup business, Mango is currently working on a fall line of UT clothing for her biggest customers, such as expanding her line to include an array of T-weaved sweatshirts and shirts. She plans to register a trademark for her brand’s name and hopes to eventually open a store.
“T-Weaving is a trendy cool way to change up your everyday wardrobe," Mango says. "I hope for the brand to empower girls to rock their wardrobe, and also signify individuality.”