Three college students create a clothing brand to promote sustainability and positivity

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(left to right) Matt Doherty, Aidan Manion, and Carter Nevulis. Photo credit: Matt Berry

By Hannah Nguyen, Deputy Living Arts Editor

In an effort to spread positivity and advocate for the Earth, three Massachusetts college sophomores started a clothing brand. 

The Local Brand is a clothing brand founded by long-time friends Matt Doherty, Carter Nevulis, and Aidan Manion. Doherty is a visual media arts major at Emerson, Nevulis is a finance major at Suffolk University, and Manion is an economics/finance major at Bentley University.

The three went to high school together in Plymouth, MA prior to going their separate ways for college. With a shared interest in sustainability and fashion design, they came up with the idea during summer 2021 to launch their own clothing brand to promote living in the moment and caring for the planet.

“It started with those casual conversations over the summer while we were all in Plymouth together, and we were like ‘Oh, it’d be super cool if we could do something like this,” Doherty said. 

With Emerson and Suffolk being in close proximity to each other, Doherty and Nevulis met in person one weekend during the fall, while Manion was on the phone. They decided to move forward with the project at the start of the first semester of their sophomore year.

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They found that going to three different schools helped The Local Brand gain more attention instead of hindering the business.

“Instead of just all being at the same school with the same people, we now have three different branches of people,” Doherty said. “There are more people that we can talk to about our brand. From a marketing standpoint, I think it’s been really helpful for us.”

The name was inspired by the idea of being increasingly connected with the community and with yourself.

“We were trying to figure out what can make us more involved in the community and have a positive impact on others,” Nevulis said. “We sat around and thought of this idea of The Local Brand, the name [meaning] you could have an impact on a local community, and also local as in yourself and what it means to like to be present in the moment.”

Doherty creates all of the original designs using Adobe Illustrator. He then sends a sample design to the rest of the team. They try to make it as much of a collaborative process as possible, by asking their friends for their opinions.

“We try something and then we edit it, and then we go back and re-edit it, and eventually we land on something that works,” Doherty said.

Each clothing drop has a theme, which typically offers guidance on the designs. The most recent drop on March 18 focused on sustainability, with a design that said “Love Your World,” and positive mental health, with a design saying “Live in the Moment.” They plan to drop monthly.

A major part of The Local Brand’s mission is to “promote a happy and healthy planet.” With each order, they will plant one tree. They also donate a portion of their profits to four organizations: One Tree Planted, The Ocean Foundation, Climate Reality Project, and Amazon Conservation Team. They used Charity Navigator to determine the kinds of organizations they wanted to support.

The Local Brand had a pop-up at an Afterlife Presents LLC concert at Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub on Nov. 20, 2021, which helped with promotion.

“People would come up to us and say that they loved our message and they’ve been following our brand for a little bit now, and it was just kind of cool to see because it was outside of our normal domains,” Manion said. “A lot of people [at Bentley] know about [the brand] and always give me feedback and positive comments, but going out to an unknown area and getting some feedback there was pretty cool.”

The founders are hoping their brand reaches as many people as possible. They plan to network with local charities and other communities in the Greater Boston area.

“As of right now, we’re really focused on that strong community in Boston,” Nevulis said. “It’s just taking the next step and [reaching] people that we don’t know in the city. That’s really the direction that we’re going.”

For more information, visit The Local Brand’s website and Instagram.