Startup Stories: Seamly.co – Resourceful, Community-Powered Fashion

Goodlifer: Startup Stories: Seamly.co - Local, Resourceful, Community-Powered Fashion

A few years ago, Kristin Glenn and a friend successfully raised $64,000 on Kickstarter to domestically produce an innovative multi-use garment called The Versalette. As she was introduced to the fashion industry and apparel manufacturing, Glenn found herself wondering about all the other things in her closet. Where did it come from? Who made it? Usually, the search for that answer will take us on a whirlwind tour of toxic overseas factories, underpaid workers and unsafe labor conditions.

Glenn embarked on a mission to create a shopping experience where we can all actually get involved in the process of design and manufacturing. Here’s her story.

Kristin Glenn, Founder & Designer, Seamly.co

Kristin Glenn, Founder & Designer, Seamly.co

I didn’t study design, or fashion, or textiles. But at 26, I found myself touring fabric mills and garment factories in North Carolina, preparing for my first production run of USA-made apparel.

The Versalette by Seamly.co

My story starts in 2010, when my friend and then-co-founder Shannon Whitehead and I designed and Kickstarted an ultra-versatile garment called the Versalette — one garment that can be worn 30 different ways. Surprising ourselves, we raised over $60,000 to manufacture our design (sustainably, and entirely in the USA).

Kristin Glenn of Seamly.co visiting factories and mills Kristin Glenn of Seamly.co visiting factories and mills

Business went from zero to 100 in a split-second, and suddenly, I was in the fashion industry.

Much has happened since then, but my passion for sustainability, fashion, and American manufacturing has held strong.

In June 2013, I launched a new brand, Seamly.co, focused on the elements of fashion I love most. Mindfulness. Versatility. Comfort. Fun. Community.

Seamly.co

At Seamly.co, we create women’s apparel using surplus and deadstock fabrics. Some of our fabrics are excess from bigger companies (let’s say J.Crew doesn’t use all of the fabric they ordered for their t-shirts; we will take and use their excess). Other times, we use slightly imperfect fabrics. For example, a fabric might not be dyed the “perfect” hue of black or red, so the manufacturer labels it deadstock. We find a use for it.

Clothing by Seamly.co

A fabric might not be dyed the “perfect” hue of black or red, so the manufacturer labels it deadstock. We find a use for it.

Clothing by Seamly.co

All apparel is made in the USA, within a 60-mile radius of my home in Denver, Colorado. Our process is localized as much as possible, increasing quality control and transparency. (Also, it’s way more fun!)

All apparel is made in the USA, within a 60-mile radius of my home in Denver, Colorado. Our process is localized as much as possible, increasing quality control and transparency.

For me, the most interesting part of the Seamly.co process is how we design. Our community can vote on designs and colors they’d like to see next, give feedback, and suggest future designs. I work with COsewn to develop designs and patterns, and in the end, make what people want. It’s a fun way to get everyone involved in the process, let them follow along with the “making,” and connect with the end result.

Clothing by Seamly.co Clothing by Seamly.co

As I pored over business and accounting books in college, I certainly didn’t think I’d find myself in the fashion industry, scheduling photo shoots, sketching designs, or managing production. But the more I learn about people and the environment and fashion, the more passionate I become about the industry. And the more I want to share mindful fashion with others.

Clothing by Seamly.co Clothing by Seamly.co

We’d love to invite you to vote on new designs (and get behind the scenes with us!) by signing up here, and joining our mission to create apparel sustainably, locally, and above all, responsibly. To see designs that we’ve already completed, take a peek at our online shop.

The more I learn about people and the environment and fashion, the more passionate I become about the industry. And the more I want to share mindful fashion with others.

Guest post by Kristin Glenn, Founder and Designer, Seamly.co

Do you have a great Startup Story? Tell us about it.

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About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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