Fashion entrepreneur designs for CLE


Jameson McMaster had been working as a graphic designer for more than a decade when he decided it was time to share his appreciation for Cleveland by way of an apparel business - and his company CLEVE STUFF was born. CLEVE STUFF offers a variety of Cleveland-themed apparel that celebrates Northeast Ohio. We chatted with McMaster about entrepreneurship, design and his love for Cleveland. See his answers below:

What made you decide to open CLEVE STUFF?

I’ve been a graphic designer for 15 years, most of my professional career spent in Cleveland. I haven’t always considered myself a Clevelander, but the more time I spend here, the more at home I feel. During my time as a designer, I’ve been involved with a number of apparel companies, but they were all fly-by-night kind of companies. Custom apparel is such a competitive market, it’s easy to be completely overshadowed by the big fish. Like most things in this world, everything seems to have already been done. 

The longer I’m in Cleveland, the prouder I am of this city. I’ve seen so many good things happening here in the last decade. There’s a buzz that I don’t think was here before. You have to spend time here to know what I’m talking about.

I know that a Cleveland apparel business isn’t a new idea by any means. There are some awesome companies already doing this really well. The idea isn’t to directly compete against them; my hope is that you find new and fresh ideas that you can’t find anywhere else, and you wear them with pride! That’s why I created CLEVE STUFF.

What advice would you give someone starting a fashion- or apparel-related business in Cleveland?

Great questions! I think I touched on it above, but to go into more detail… Bottom line is, clothing is so competitive. Everyone has a great idea and they’re sure it’s the next big thing. You’d be surprised how many people approach me with a “shirt idea.” I’ve done this enough times to know that it’s a dog eat dog world, and to succeed you have to do it right and you have to put in the time. You also have to remind yourself that targeting a city limits your audience right away. You have to advertise, market and reach out to other locals.

Do you have a favorite piece you've designed or one with a special significance?

It’s hard for me to chose a favorite item. I try to design them all with the same goal in mind, that it’s something I would wear, and more importantly something somebody I’ve never met would wear. I try to put the same amount of passion and attention to detail into each item, otherwise I feel like I’m shortchanging everyone.

If I was forced to chose my two favorite items, I would say the “Cleveland Rocks” collection and the new “Neon” collection. I just think they are really fun and super unique. I also love designing outside the box of traditional Cleveland colors.

How has living in Cleveland inspired you?

As I said before, I’ve never lived in Cleveland, but I have worked downtown for the better half of 15 years. I just love the energy that is building in Cleveland, from the booming startup community to our kick-butt professional teams (I’m a HUGE Cavs guy), and everything else. There’s nothing better than being downtown on a beautiful summer day during a Tribe game. It gives you a totally different perspective on Cleveland. You have to try it!

Learn more about CLEVE STUFF at

Tuesday, February 20, 2018