| Sewing Patterns for the Modern Woman - Blog Post: Meet Kristin Glenn, Founder of Seamly

Meet Kristin Glenn, Founder of Seamly

By Allie

Allie is the co-founder of Indiesew and creator of all things pretty on the site. Follow Allie and receive other Indiesew updates by subscribing to the blog.

Meet Kristin Glenn, Seamly Founder | Indiesew Blog

Hello Indiesew followers! Today I have the total pleasure of introducing you to Kristin Glenn, the founder of Seamly and a champion for ethical fashion. She’s been a constant source of inspiration to me, most notably in the mindful way she lives and works.

Today she’s telling us how she got her start in fashion design and how Seamly was born. Check out the Seamly Summer Collection to see her designs turned into sewing patterns!

Tell us about yourself. Who is Kristin Glenn?

I grew up in Missouri, and was always creating stuff as a kid — clothes, cards, scrapbooks, and painting. But I didn’t pursue that part of myself much outside of the house, and I certainly didn’t think that I could have a fun creative job as a grown-up.

I went to Tulane University in New Orleans and studied business (it felt safely generic!). I graduated and moved to Australia to bartend and travel, postponing any “real life” work plans. (It was 2008, mind you...) 

I really had no idea what I wanted to do. When I got back to the US in 2010, I reached out to a friend I’d met overseas (Shannon Whitehead from Factory45) and we decided to start a business together while we bartended nights, paying bills. We were drawn to travel clothing, sustainability, and fair trade. With zero experience (even in retail!) we decided to go for it, and build a clothing company. It was called {r}evolution apparel. We co-owned that company for three years before closing down, and that’s when I started Seamly!


How was the Versalette, and then Seamly, born?

That first company that I built with Shannon was kind of a dream come true. We had released the Versalette on Kickstarter, raised $60K, got some great press, and were making some money for the first time. But we burned out big time. After we decided to shut things down and take some time off, I considered lots of different interests. By this time, I’d figured out how to live off of odd jobs, Craigslist gigs, a small photography business I had on the side… but I felt drawn back into fashion. I felt like my work was so far from finished. I had learned so much about the industry and the people who make our clothes, and I wanted to be part of it — and affect positive change in a really dark, disturbing industry. 

Clothes are fascinating to me. The social statements we make, the way style changes with our collective consciousness, the individual creative expression we all get to make everyday. And the making of clothes is fascinating too — one of the world’s oldest traditions lives on in this bizarro world of mega-companies pushing out $5 trends and images of super skinny pre-teens, trying to convince women that happiness is available to them for the price of a $5 swimsuit. It’s pure insanity! 

Meet Kristin Glenn | Seamly Founder

I feel passionate about changing the way we make and market clothes. So I started Seamly in 2013, to share more about the processes behind our clothes and the things I’d learned about the industry, good and bad. 


How did you learn to sew?

My grandma taught me the basics of cutting a pattern and sewing. I still have the first dress I made with her (mint green, sequined straps, asymmetrical hem, really awful sewing job). I was impatient then (and still am) when it comes to cutting and sewing. 

Seamly Sketches | Meet the Designer

I’ve always altered thrift store clothes with a home machine. Before starting Seamly, I decided that I wanted to learn more about industrials and figure out how production patterning and sewing worked. I took a class at a vo-tech school, then started going to the Denver Design Incubator where I started sewing the first styles for Seamly. It was a disaster at first, but oh-so-rewarding once I learned a new skill for life. 


What values are most important to you in running an ethical fashion company?

People, people, people. I aspire to run a business where everyone who is part of the process, from vendor to consumer, benefits. It’s not about finding the cheapest labor or making your customers feel extra bad about themselves so they buy your clothes. It is 100% about the sweet spot where everyone wins. 

Seamly Garments | Ethical Fashion

No one should have to suffer for clothes, and that is happening all around us everyday. The system we have in place made Rana Plaza possible. It’s also, at least partly, responsible for the epidemic of body dysmorphia that especially plagues the United States. 

A big part of ethics, for me, is transparency and knowing exactly what's happening in the cut and sew process. Currently, all of our pieces are cut and sewn in Denver, CO, because that’s the only way we can oversee production and feel good about the work that we’re supporting.

Cutting Seamly Pattern Pieces | Meet Kristin Glenn

Pattern Pieces | Ethical Clothing Production

We’re starting to source fabrics for new designs, and we’re focusing heavily on durability as our highest metric for sustainability. “How long will it last?” feels just as important as “what’s it made from?”


What have been the biggest challenges in running Seamly?

Until last fall, this has been a one-person operation. Things were always on the back burner, not getting done, and I had about a year of burnout to boot. I have a love-hate with entrepreneurship — I think it’s the most fun I’ve ever had, but it’s also caused so much mental anguish, uncertainty, and stress in my life. 

The biggest challenge has NOTHING to do with business and everything to do with figuring out how I stay mentally healthy, excited but patient, stress-free, and confident. When I feel good, anything is possible. When I don’t, everything sucks. This is something people don’t talk about often enough. Figuring out how to be my best self in the midst of starting a business has been THE biggest challenge for me. I have worked hard at it (extremely hard), and if I’ve begun to master anything in business, it’s self-care. It is more important than the books, the marketing, the product, any of it. Nothing else matters unless I am enjoying the moment, the journey — that's the highest level of success, and the biggest challenge all in one. 

Seamly, Ethical Fashion |

Thank you Kristin! Be sure to sign up for Seamly's newsletter. It's a solid dose of heartfelt authenticity that always leaves me inspired!

Happy sewing!

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