The clothing we wear tells a story about us. We can use our style to communicate how we feel and where we’re going; it gives a glimpse into who we are at first sight. What about the story of your shirt? Do you ever pause to think about its journey from conception all the way to the moment you pick it up off the shelf?
The story of your clothing is probably not the first thing on your mind, but there is one Impact Hub Boulder member who can’t stop thinking about it. Kristin Glenn thinks about every single step a piece of clothing takes in its lifetime, from its design, to the source of the fabric, to the person who sews it, to how it’s sold, and every tiny moment in between. Her goal is to make clothing intentional and sustainable without compromising style. She encourages a younger generation to create, design and learn the craft of sewing.
In late June, Kristin launched Seamly.co, her newest venture in sustainable fashion. We sat down with Kristin to learn a little bit more about Seamly.co and her game-changing perspective on conscious shopping.
I was paralyzed for awhile trying to figure out how to do everything perfectly for the planet…
Where did your original inspiration to get into sustainable fashion come from?
“I graduated college in 2008; a terrible time to look for a “real” job. So instead, I took a year off to travel and work odd jobs around the world. I met my co-founder on the road, and we bounced around ideas for travel apparel. Knowing nothing about how clothing is made, we started researching apparel manufacturing. I was horrified by the environmental and human rights issues surrounding our daily fashion, and decided to try and do things better.”
Who is Seamly.co for, and how are the pieces produced?
“The goal at Seamly.co is to get folks involved the entire process of creating apparel. Our community votes on designs and colors they like, and then we show them the entire production process, from patternmaking to fabric cutting to production. So really, Seamly.co is for everyone; we make what the people want to see. Everything is produced in Denver, CO, by a small (but growing) team.”
What does conscientious shopping mean to you, and why is sustainable fashion important?
“Shopping can seem so frivolous. But it’s amazing to think that every single thing we buy has a story — whether we know what that story is, or not. Mindful consumption, to me, means asking questions. Where did this come from? Who made it? How was it made? It’s crucial for us to know the answers, because we’re all responsible for the impact of our purchases — even something as simple as a t-shirt or a pair of socks.”
As an up-and coming entrepreneur, what wisdom have you discovered in starting your own environmentally/socially conscious business?
“Compromise. There must be a balance between taking the most sustainable route, and making money. Because if you’re not making money, you can’t keep working towards those sustainable ideals. I was paralyzed for awhile trying to figure out how to do everything perfectly for the planet; and finally realized that momentum and balance are more important than that nearly-impossible “perfect” — especially in the beginning stages. After all, how can you create a more sustainable world, with no sustainable income?!”
What benefits do you and your business gain from working at the HUB?
“Getting Seamly.co off the ground has been hectic — frustration, insanity, and the occasional meltdown. After being at the HUB for a few months, I’ve found two things that are critical to coping with this hectic adventure:
2. I am not alone. Even when I stay until 9pm hacking away. We’re all going through the same wild stresses and celebrations; as they say, “The best things in life are meant to be shared.”
How can your fellow Hubbers support you and contribute to your success?
“Come say hi! I’ve been a total head-down-introvert for this launch, but I really would love to just meet more awesome Hubbers. You can find me at the coffee machine circa 2:00pm most days. And please spread the word if you dig what we’re doing!”
Visit Seamly.co to check out Kristin’s beautiful clothes, and shop, shop, shop! This is the kind of retail therapy that’s not only good for you; it’s good for your community and planet. All fabric is from deadstock and pieces are sewn right here in Colorado. If you want to see her designs in real life, HUB’s Hannah Davis and Kristin herself can be seen wearing Seamly.co’s fantastic Versalette.
Additional Resources on Fashion, Globalization, Human Rights and the Environment: