The presence of contemporary fashion, whether it be seen through a computer screen, walking a runaway or window shopping on Main Street, is an industry that is driven by passion, faith and creativity. Major fashion brands like Calvin Klein, Versace and Gucci were all born of ideas and designs created by aspiring designers that eventually turned into some of the biggest fashion companies. 

The same origin story is beginning for McEw, a fashion and lifestyle company originating from Columbus. McEw is an inspirational athletic gear company that has gained a worldwide reach through its 32,000 followers on Instagram, and whose founder also maintains a YouTube channel boasting 737,000 subscribers.  

For former college athlete and dreamer Andrew McEwen, McEw combined both his love of clothing and his personal mindset of being inspired by the hard work, motivation and fearlessness of people like him; young leaders looking to make a positive impact on the world around them. 

“Simply put, I didn't love college,” McEwen said. “I was a computer science major and sitting behind a desk coding the rest of my life wasn’t what I envisioned. After much conflict I ended up dropping out and now I feel like I’m living my dream.”

McEwen attended Capital University until his junior year and currently lives in Columbus. 

McEw, since its inception, has released many products, from sneakers to hoodies to the newest V/per jacket, which will drop Jan. 25. Each item, emblazoned with the winged McEw logo, is designed to make the wearer feel confident, comfortable and like they have a purpose. 

McEwen and the original “McEw crew” have also grown exponentially to include models, designers and fellow Strivers, individuals who advocate and embody the ideology of “striving,” by pursuing their own goals and achieving their own dream. This, in turn, inspires McEw to do the same. 

“Our entire company goes off the idea of ‘striving,’ which is being the best version of yourself,” Thomas Lee, a McEw designer, said. “So if we aren’t giving 100% towards the company or ourselves, then we aren’t working to be better. I’ve always wanted to be part of something like that.”

Lee, a freshman at Ohio University studying Business Analytics and Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development, has worked as a retail designer of McEw for over a year.

For McEw and its army of Strivers, striving holds a different meaning to each individual and whatever challenges they are going through. However, the main motivator, to become the best person you can possibly be, holds true as McEw continues to strive onward. 

“For myself, it’s to focus on being a positive and productive human and leaving a lasting impact,” McEwen explained. “For the brand, it’s to increase the quality in our products and continue the growth of our community. It’s about the students working for their degree, athletes looking to go pro, teachers building a new generation, those struggling with depression/anxiety, people trying to do big things. We all face everyday struggles and we all must do our best to overcome our circumstances and rise to success.” 

As McEw grows, its platform and ability to promote the brand has also flourished, especially in a time when TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and other social media forums are popular forms of communication. The McEw team, which consists of individuals ages ranging from 19 to 22 year olds, holds a huge advantage in that department because of their skills in social media branding and versatility. 

“Coming into McEw, I always knew that whatever Andrew worked on, he would succeed in,” Robert Pizzuco, a McEw photographer, said. “The path that we took as a brand was the result of the creative decisions that we made over the years. The brand is ever changing, and I never know what is going to happen next.”

Pizzuco is the chief marketing officer of McEw and works in photography, film, social media and other mediums to promote the McEw brand. 

In the future, McEw hopes to establish its own warehouse to serve as home base for McEw operations and for all Strivers. 

In the world where the pressure to pursue a college degree, work a nine to five job and follow a predetermined path to life is the norm, maverick companies like McEw prove that one doesn’t have to play it safe to achieve their greatest aspirations and personal fulfillment. 

“No matter your age, gender, occupation, what you wear, we are all human,” McEwen said. “We all want to be happy. We all want to live a fulfilled life. So do your best to stay positive and lift those around you. In your darkest times, be balanced with the light and stay Striving.”