GLENN + GLENN founders and designers, Hillary Glenn Riley and Jillian Glenn Altman, saw a need in the women’s apparel market for quality, wardrobe staple pieces and set out to amend it. Relying on their professional backgrounds in knitwear design and branding, the Boulder-based women’s apparel line was created to provide functional, fashionable pieces that women can actually afford. With a commitment to sustainability and a desire to broaden their reach to a national level, Riley and Altman created an authentic, fairly-manufactured brand that women can feel good about wearing. The sisters recently filled us in on how the brand came to be and what it stands for.
303 Magazine: Tell us about yourselves. Where are you from and how did you get to this point in your career?
GLENN + GLENN: We grew up in Nebraska. We both pursued degrees in the arts and business fields (Hillary at CSU and Jillian at CU), ultimately taking our career paths to different places. Having worked in the fashion industry for over a decade, Hillary launched her career at Diane von Furstenberg in New York City and subsequently transitioned into knitwear design. She returned to Colorado to design for major brands in the lifestyle and performance industries. Jillian’s background in corporate branding, art direction and photography has kept her close to the entrepreneurship arena. After designing, branding and merchandising for dozens of clients and apparel brands, we decided to act on the ideas we had discussed over the years. We developed a business plan, pitched to investors, and started GLENN + GLENN in 2017.
303: Why did you start GLENN + GLENN?
G+G: As two women in the thick of building our families, homes and careers, we found ourselves shopping for clothing that didn’t exist. We wanted something better. We wanted to look good, feel good and be proud of our purchases. We talked to friends over dinner, strangers in boutiques, moms at preschool and professionals in board meetings and found we were not alone in this conundrum. Our conclusion was identifying a void in the market between fast fashion and luxury garments, and we wanted to bridge that gap.
303: Do you release styles seasonally?
G+G: As we just launched in February, yes, we produced a great foundation of two collections to build on. Part of our concept is to create timeless pieces that can be worn throughout the year — elevated essentials for layering, travel, work and leisure. We have exciting ideas in the works for 2020 to add to these capsules.
303: Tell us more about each collection — the Fife, Aura and Flair Collections.
G+G: Fife is comprised of warmer weather options, while Aura features cooler weather selections. Our intention is to give our customers a base for their wardrobe with neutral pieces that can be mixed with their own style, worn separately or together. Our color palettes are designed with this in mind, featuring a variety of neutral options with the occasional print or pattern. The Flair Collection is comprised of accessories we are creating from excess fabric. This is part of our sustainability initiative where we are working to reduce waste and partner with local organizations to employ women in the sewing community.
303: How did the partnership with Moxie Made come about? Are you still working with Rachael Ray?
G+G: A wonderful Colorado entrepreneur was wearing our Alyster top while she was being interviewed on Rachael’s show, and Rachael loved it. Her publicist reached out to us about working together for her new venture, WeAreMoxieMade. We sorted out a handful of styles to showcase with the launch of their website and in their Austin SXSW Pop-Up. We have a Spring Feature planned with them, so stay tuned.
303: Who are a few designers that inspire you?
G+G: Helmet Lang, Rodarte, Cushnie and Victoria Beckham.
303: How would you describe the line in three words?
G+G: Tailored, modern, classics.
303: Tell us more about GLENN + GLENN’s commitment to sustainability.
G+G: Sustainability is certainly a pillar to our brand. It really is just our natural mindset rather than a trendy movement. Efficiency is considered from the first step of design in regard to fabric. We choose textiles that will be used in multiple styles to reduce waste, textiles that are sustainably produced and natural fibers like Lyocell, Silk and Cupro as much as possible. Our garments are modern basics that transcend short-lived trends, extending the life of the garment so they can be worn season after season. These capsule collections are minimal in quantities which allows us to work with smaller, domestic factories and in turn, reduces our travel and shipping. Our excess fabric is then upcycled into accessories like the Skinny Scarf and Palm Clutch.
303: What are some aspects of the Colorado lifestyle that inspire you?
G+G: There is an appreciation for quality and a doggedly stubborn respect for many of the facets of life that are also in line with our beliefs — access to incredible food, outdoors, nature, entrepreneurship and our network of relationships not just in business, but with our family and friends. While we’ve both spent time living in big cities on both coasts, our daily lives gravitate to the Colorado lifestyle.
303: Where do you see GLENN + GLENN in five years?
G+G: In broad terms, we would love to see continued growth and expansion in our products over the coming years. More specifically, a stronger presence online and partnerships with additional retailers on a national level.
All photography by MJ Kampe.