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Cleveland company launches sustainable fashion line, hopes to bring garment manufacturing back to the city

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Posted at 3:03 PM, Nov 29, 2022

CLEVELAND — At just 21 years old, Aidan Meany is making a name for himself in the fashion world. And sustainability is the thread that ties it all together.

“I was lucky to be exposed to sewing and design at an early age,” Meany said.

Aidan’s company, Found Surface, has only been in existence for a short while and is already selling out.

The collection of clothing — just four styles in four colors — is meant to stand the test of time.

All products are manufactured in the United States; sewn in Los Angeles with organic cotton coming from Texas and recycled plastic bottles from North Carolina, using bales of ocean plastic from the coasts.

“Using a crazy process that is done with steam and solar, they recycle that into a usable thread that feels just like cotton,” Meany said.

But starting in January, Meany will begin manufacturing right here in Cleveland, with a sewing team already in place.

“Our mission is to bring all of our partners right now that are domestic, even further into Cleveland and bring some really cool opportunities here,” Meany said, “Not only for labor and manufacturing but also the art and design community and bolster that here as well.”

You may not know this, but back in the 1920s Cleveland used to actually rank up with New York when it came to garment manufacturing — and that is what Meany is hoping to bring back to the city.

And it all goes back to grandma.

Meany's grandmother, Linda, actually taught him how to sew when he was 14, never thinking he’d go from a hobby on her kitchen island to a garment manufacturing company in Downtown Cleveland in seven short years.

“I mean, every grandmother loves time with their grandchildren and for him to come to my house in the summer and sew with me on my mothers 1939 Singer sewing machine, was like a dream come true for me,” Linda said.

Meany's clothing is priced steep — ranging from $249 to $399. But, he says it’s meant to be an investment and sustainable from start to finish.

“Making stuff in the U.S. is already difficult,” Meany said. “The goal is to not be a luxury brand where you’re just paying for a name. You’re paying truly for the quality of what you’re getting.”

And forget the runways and high fashion models. Turns out grandma is the best advertisement you can get, as she sported his jacket for the interview.

“I am very proud to wear it, and I’m excited as people ask me, ‘oh I like your jacket, where’d that come from?’ and I’m like ,’Wellll, my grandson made it!.'”