The Fall Collection from Designers GLENN + GLENN
Our series Trend Report is a style spread featuring designers and clothing stores. They are shot on location in Cherry Creek. This month, Writer KOYA NYANGI interviews sisters Hillary and Jillian Glenn of the clothing brand Glenn + Glenn.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ESTHER LEE LEACH // SITTINGS EDITOR: KOYA NYANGI
LOCATION: MOXY DENVER CHERRY CREEK
Koya Nyangi: Did you both have an interest in fashion when you were growing up in the Midwest?
Hillary Glenn: We were both very interested in the arts growing up. Our mother is an interior designer and introduced us to art classes at a young age. Her style and eye for design considerably influenced our appreciation for the importance of fabric, color and design. After taking some sewing classes in high school, I decided to focus my studies on fashion design and production. Jillian channeled her interests into photography and advertising.
KN: Hillary, you have an extensive background in the fashion industry. You started your career at Diane Von Furstenberg in New York. Tell us more about your experiences working there and how did it prepare you for starting your own company?
HG: I had my heart set on New York because it was the mecca of the fashion industry. It was an amazing experience to begin my career at such a creative design house. I obviously ran a lot of errands and did typical intern tasks to start, but I was also exposed to many talented designers. I learned so much about the design process and every intricate detail of creating a color palette, sourcing textiles, or searching the garment district for a tiny unique button. To see the finished product on the runway and then in stores was very eye opening. The fashion industry is a fast moving machine. Working with a design team and also working for an established company was imperative for me to have an understanding of every little step that needs to take place in order to produce a garment. It gave me the confidence that I could do the same for our own brand, but on a smaller scale.
KN: Jillian, while Hillary was working in fashion, you were working as a contract designer in corporate branding, photography and art direction. Tell us more about your background and how you used these skills to create GLENN + GLENN.
Jillian Glenn: Contrary to the stories of people who ended up in careers that had nothing to do with their education, I ironically studied exactly what I am doing now: marketing, advertising, entrepreneurial finance (gag) and photography. As a contractor in a hot bed of entrepreneurs in Boulder and San Francisco, I worked with many start-ups and non-profits with small staffs and limited funding, so this is familiar territory! I learned to become creative within budgets, and this is where I started using my own photo skills to create content for my clients. I also worked with more established companies with more resources to be dedicated toward advertising, so it was fascinating to see the opportunities that I could offer with a little more time and money. There are many hats to be worn within the space of Glenn + Glenn, so yes, all of the skills are being used to develop our brand!
KN: Did you both always have the entrepreneurial bug? When did you know it was time to take the plunge and create your clothing brand GLENN + GLENN?
HG: Moving out of New York to Boulder really opened my eyes to working for yourself. Boulder is a hub of entrepreneurial spirit and it was refreshing to be in a place where so many people were working independently or freelancing.
JG: We both spent our early careers working for large corporations. We learned a great deal in these beginning years, and quickly realized it might not be for us. Eventually, while we were both working as contractors for others, we grew wary of designing our clients’ ideas. The breaking point for both of us occurred at the same time, and we decided it was “now or never” to create our own brand and style of clothing that we looking for.
KN: Tell us more about the process of setting up a clothing brand. Why did you launch GLENN + GLENN in Boulder as opposed to a more fashion focused city like New York?
JG: The short answer is that we live in Colorado for the quality of lifestyle that is important to us. The global economy is becoming so much more accessible, so headquartering in Boulder seems less a barrier than in years’ past. And our experience working with other Colorado-based apparel brands proved it was a possibility. There were many reasons we chose to produce our garments in NYC rather than overseas, one of them being the accessibility of traveling there quite often. So while we don’t live there, we spend a fair amount of time in the city and we are lucky to have tremendous partners there that keep the cogs moving!
KN: I really love your brand aesthetic. The designs are very clean cut and minimalistic with a neutral palette. What is the inspiration behind the brand and how would you describe the ‘GLENN + GLENN woman’?
JG: We created GLENN+GLENN out of our own desire to find clothing that we wanted to wear. We felt there was a hole in the market for modern, timeless pieces made from beautiful fabrics, high quality construction, that are accessible – in terms of price point and actually getting your hands on. We found ourselves struggling to find apparel that didn’t exist. We wanted to create something better and nicer. We wanted to look good and feel good and be proud of our purchases.
HG: We focused on creating tailored modern classics for the urban sophisticate, created with awareness and thoughtfully produced. Our styles are designed with the intention that they can be timeless and worn season after season with a neutral color palette and tasteful complimenting colors.
KN: You two are not only business partners but also sisters! Describe this dynamic? Do you ever have creative differences?
JG: Sure! As with any small company and partnership, we definitely have a difference of opinion from time to time. We continue to learn better methods of communication and are still defining our roles. But the underlying foundation is that we whole-heartedly believe in the concept and trust each other’s strengths. This process has been humbling to say the least and I’m not sure how you would do it without a partner that you know so well as a sibling!
KN: How would you describe your individual styles? Do you two have similar or very different personal styles?
HG: We are both drawn to same kind of design aesthetics and even show up to the office wearing the same outfit most of the time! We are attracted to neutral colors and clean, modern silhouettes. I would say I probably own and wear more accessories and have a touch of boho style influence where Jillian owns more tailored / structured pieces.
JG: Yes, Hillary certainly takes more risks and puts in a little more effort!
KN: How do you see GLENN + GLENN evolving over time? What’s the next thing you’d both like to accomplish with the brand?
HG: We started this company with sustainability in mind. So while growing the brand and line offerings is the obvious answer, we are dedicated to staying true to our style and concept of matching production to demand, utilizing sustainable fabrics and resourcing our excess materials to create accessories. We would love for Glenn + Glenn to become a global name, hoping we have the patience to get there, one city at a time.
Photoshoot Location Info from The Moxy: Forget what you know about budget hotels. At the Moxy, we’ve ripped all that up and started over. We kept premium comforts, convenient services, and, made it chic, modern, with a vibrant social scene. Because why shouldn't you have it all? (Hint: You should.) We tossed out stodgy suits and forever check-in lines and created a stylish atmosphere where self-service means you can do what you want, when you want without holding you up. Because you know how you take your coffee – or your Manhattan – and you have places to be.
Where we really splurge is on modern residential design, high-speed Wi-Fi, a buzzing living space where things are always happening, and a seriously comfortable bed so you can kick off your shoes and get rested for whatever comes next. It's just like home, but with a bartender. Moxy is fun. Moxy doesn’t take life too seriously, adding a playful twist to conventional hoteling. Inclusive and young at heart, Moxy plays with the rules of the industry and shows them a good time!
Cherry Creek Fashion TV’s My Style Guide with GLENN + GLENN