Vibrant Sun Protective Clothing Created By St. Pet Couple

ST. PETERSBURG, FL — On a fishing day in 2020, a St. Petersburg couple got an idea for a clothing line, ShapeShifter Fish and Friends, featuring sun-protective T-shirts with vibrant designs.

Andrew Hill and Maria Aller of St. Andrews Petersburg spent a lot of time fishing in Tampa Bay during the summer of 2020 when the pandemic limited public activities.

“On one of our many days fishing in August of 2020,” Hill told Patch, “I thought it’d be nice to have my own fishing shirt. I asked Maria if she could make one, and she told me to send her my ideas.”

Aller is a designer who has a bachelor of arts in graphic design from the University of Central Florida. She and Hill have been together for five years. Hill is employed by the Pinellas County government.

Hill said he’d been saving a sketch he made about 15 years ago that represented fishing. After fishing, he sent it to Aller when he got home that afternoon.

“She sent the shirt design back, and I was intrigued but didn’t know if I would wear it. The trout on it was vibrant and colorful—something I’d see more of women or youth wearing. Then she sent me a redfish design for a fishing shirt, which I liked. An hour later, she sent me four other designs and I said, ‘Oh my goodness, you basically have a clothing design,'” Hill said.

Following that day, they put their business plan together and started their online business, ShapeShifter Fish and Friends.

Hill said that the shirts they design have UPF (Ultra-Violet Protection) 50 plus, which, according to Hill, blocks out 99 percent of the ultra-violet rays.

During the Patch interview one week ago, Hill wore a blue long-sleeve shirt from their clothing line and said the material was cooling.

“They’re moisture-wicking,” Hill said. “They dry really fast, and they’re stain-resistant and anti-microbial. I think they’re better than SPF (Sun Protection Factor) because you’re not getting chemicals in your body.”

Hill said that customers wear them for many activities like working out, mowing the grass, playing pickleball, boating and going to the beach.

Aller and Hill later founded Project Fin, a non-profit organization that gives to the homeless. This idea stemmed when a homeless man who Aller usually saw in her neighborhood disappeared for about six months in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hill said Aller grew worried and didn’t know what had happened to him.

“When he returned to the neighborhood, she (Aller) saw him and told her he’d been in the hospital all this time for skin cancer,” Hill said. “She told me that we should start giving our shirts to homeless people later that day because the shirts could help protect them from the sun.”

Since 2021, they’ve donated 700 shirts to homeless charities and more than a thousand dollars worth of shirts to homeless veterans.

Hill said their tagline is “Friends come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.”

They have a unique edition rainbow octopus shirt for Pride month. This past Saturday, they set up a booth at the LGBTQ Family Day in Straub Park.

At the company’s website, check out ShapeShifter Fish and Friends shirts for all ages, toddlers included.

ShafpeShifter is an online store; it does not have a storefront. If you live within a 10-mile radius of the Old Northeast area, they’ll deliver your order by the following day for free. The same goes for online orders that are $50 and more.

Follow the Shapeshifter on social media or sign up for their online newsletter via their website.

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