Glenn’s Denim is the culmination of Glenn Liburd’s 30-year infatuation with denim, and his commitment to mastering the art and craft of making the world’s best jeans. After a career spent working behind the scenes designing, cutting, and sewing for others, at the age of 62 Glenn has launched his first collection under his own name – partnering with Daniel and Brenna Lewis – founders of Brooklyn-based tailoring brand Brooklyn Tailors.
The Glenn’s collection takes its cue from the subcultures of New York City, particularly that of the 1970’s and 80’s when the gritty, troubled city was the breeding ground for radical new music, art, and culture. Punk was emerging on the Bowery. Hip Hop was making waves in Harlem. And, a new avant-garde of artists were emerging in Soho lofts. Denim was so often the uniform of choice for this diverse group of young innovators and rebels – it was a perfect blank canvas to express oneself. This was the exciting world that inspired Glenn, through movies, music, and magazines, while he was growing up in Trinidad.
With Glenn’s encyclopedic knowledge of American denim, and his decades of experience as a patternmaker, designer, and craftsman as a foundation, Glenn and Daniel create a collection of jeans and other workwear staples that are authentically American – designed and manufactured in New York City to the highest standards, and steeped in the DNA of the country where denim was born, and the city that inspired each of them to create in the first place.
In Daniel's words:
OUR PROCESS & PRODUCTS:
"I'm not about what's in fashion - what's on trend - what's going to appeal to the masses. I'm about making the world's very best pair of jeans here in New York City - and I'm about staying true to my own self in the process. That means we don't compromise on quality, and we make the jeans we want to make, and nothing else." - Glenn
It always begins with a good design, which is a collaboration process between Glenn and Daniel. The two of them come together, pulling inspiration from vintage pieces and other ephemera, and connecting that with modern, contemporary ideas.
From there, Glenn sets to work on drafting a pattern for the garment on paper. He's been creating patterns for decades and each new one is built on his understanding of the subtle nuances between a great fit and a forgettable one. Glenn's years of experience with denim, and Daniel's in meticulously fitting bespoke suits for his clients, all informs this process with is equal parts technical and creative.
As a pattern is refined and the idea comes to life, Daniel sets to work to develop or source the perfect textile to bring their creation to life in the best possible way. A self-professed "fabric junkie," Daniel has been scouring the planet for the world's best and most interesting fabrics for over a decade.
"Its my favorite part of the design process. I love textiles and I love working with the people who make them. At Brooklyn Tailors, we partner with some of Italy's best weavers. Some are large-scale, such as world-renowed Vitale Barberis Canonico, who's been weaving fine suitings since 1663, and some are small mom & pop operations such as Subalpino and Campore, who in my opinion weave some of the most subtly innovative, exciting textiles on earth. Working on Glenn's has given me an opportunity to bring my search to our home soil - working with the handful of weavers that are still making denim fabrics here in the USA. Its extremely exciting to me that we're not only using American-made fabric, but we're actually creating our own exclusive fabric from the ground up, in partnership with a small artisan weaver here in the USA." - Daniel
Finally Glenn sets to work at the sewing machine. Glenn's Denim is not just a designer and a brand, we are a manufacturer, or as Daniel calls it a "maker-brand." Glenn produces most of our collection himself, out of a small Brooklyn workroom, using his arsenal of vintage industrial machines, many of which he's modified, re-worked and restored to precisely suit his needs.
When it comes time to produce larger orders for some of Glenn's core products, we enlist the help of one of New York City's best denim factories, in the heart of the Manhattan Garment District.
The one category of clothing that we do not produce in New York is our collection of meticulously stitched shirts, which we've entrusted to a small family-run shirt maker in the north of Portugal.
"In the USA, the clothing and textile manufacturing industry has been completely obliterated for the most part. However, we still do have a strong capacity, infrastructure, and know-how when it comes to our most iconic garment - jeans. That still survives, at least in a small way. However, when it comes to shirts and other tailored clothing, the best makers are (and always have been) in Europe. This is why when we decided to design shirts, we partnered with my friends in Portugal, who have made shirts for Brooklyn Tailors for many years. This is the way to offer our customer the best shirt possible. American design meets European craft." - Daniel
With every piece, be it a bespoke or readymade, Glenn's Denim is first and foremost about the product - about creating something of the very best quality and design, and embedding within it an authentic story and DNA.
A great pair of jeans begins with a great fabric. So naturally, our process begins with the research and sourcing of the best possible cloth, and building close relationships with our fabric suppliers. We are proud to be working with some of the last remaining denim weavers in the USA as well as some of the best weavers in Japan and Europe. Many of our fabrics are woven exclusively for us, allowing us the ability to collaborate with the textile weaver and create something truly unique for our jeans.
America is the birthplace of denim. As an American denim company, we are dedicated not only to sewing our final products here in the USA, but to working with fabrics woven here in the USA whenever possible. These days, that's not an easy task. The once-flourishing textile manufacturing industry has nearly ceased to exist in the United States, and denim has been no exception. One-by-one, America's great denim fabric weavers have shuttered their operations, either moving overseas to cut costs, or closing all together, unable to compete on price with foreign competitors.
We're proud to say that nearly our entire collection is made from denim woven right here in the United States, sourced from some of the few remaining weavers still in operation.
At the end of 2018, Cone Denim, America's last and most famous weaver of traditional shuttle loom selvedge denim shut down its famed White-Oak mill in Greensboro, North Carolina, ending an era of industrial production of denim on traditional shuttle looms in the United States.
But, American selvedge denim is not extinct. We're proud to report that Glenn's Denim has been collaborating with a small, artisanal textile weaver in the United States to produce our very own exclusive denim in small batches on a Draper X3 shuttle loom.
That's right, folks. Glenn's Denim is now available in some of the only American selvedge denim available on the planet. You'll recognize it by our signature green and white selvedge on the edge, and of course, by it’s incredible character, natural irregularities, and incredible hand that only an these looms (and the skilled craftsman who know how to operate them) can produce. Our American selvedge fabrics are available in extremely limited runs.
The USA used to have dozens of textile mills, many of them specializing in denim and other rugged cotton fabrics. Most of them were scattered around the American south, proximate to the cotton growers that they relied on for their raw material. Today, there is only one major denim textile weaver left in this country, and we're proud to be working with them.
Their denims are woven on wide-width projectile looms—more modern, efficient, and thus lower cost to operate than the antique shuttle looms that we all love. As a result, our friends in Georgia produce a denim that is beautiful, hard-wearing, and authentically American, but at a more accessible price point than their shuttle loom counterparts. These are not selvedge fabrics, but they're 100% quality and 100% American. You'll see them offered in our Glenn's line at our most entry-level price point.