Campus Celebrity: Vera Masterson

Name: Vera Masterson

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Chicago

Major: Sociology, with a minor in Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies

What are you involved with on Tufts’ campus? I’m currently the Marketing Coordinator for Her Campus and a Social Media Executive for The Tufts Daily

What is your startup? Some friends and I are working on an eco-fashion clothing line based in LA. Our five-panel snapback hats are made with upcycled materials from Indonesian junkyards and are designed to fit the modern, urban, street-style look for students like us

What makes your startup special? I think a lot of us don’t really consider the privileges that we take for granted here in the United States. For a lot of us, the question is where will you go to school, not will you go to school. What will you eat for dinner, not how will you get dinner? In Indonesia, millions of families live in overcrowded junkyards with little access to education, nutritious food, and clean water. The people who contribute the most to the waste issues in communities around the world are not the communities themselves. Topiku works to understand the disproportionate environmental harm placed on low income communities (especially communities of color). Our mission is simple: addressing Indonesia’s waste issue through ethical, sustainable apparel. We also are the only employer of women in that area of Indonesia!

What does each hat look like? Each hat is made from entirely upcycled materials from Indonesian junkyards, which means that no two hats look quite the same. The coolest-looking part of the hat is the Batik pattern that is on the brim, which adds color and tells a unique story through art of the artisan who designed the cloth

Any fun or unusual stories you’ve had working with Topiku? Well, when we initially started moving forward, we were reaching out to absolutely everyone we knew who was remotely “famous” to give us a shoutout. I can’t really explain my shock and excitement when I got the notification that Sam Mikulak, the Olympic medalist and gymnast, had tagged us in a picture on his Instagram and Twitter saying he loved the hat.

Where can we find your startup online? Check us out on our website for more information about us and our partnerships abroad. Also, sign up for our email list!

How can we get involved? We’ll be posting the link to our official Kickstarter campaign on our Facebook page! Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @TopikuHats.

When will we be able to get a hat? Our official Kickstarter launch is this Saturday. The campaign will be up online for a month and once we reach our goal, we’ll begin official product development. There will be rewards on the Kickstarter page for people who donate specific amounts, so if you’re dying for a hat, you can pay to receive one once the campaign is finished!