A thousand miles may stand between designer sister duo Lizbeth and Gianella Cevallos, but it certainly hasn’t stopped them from taking over the fashion world with their sustainable denim brand, Glim Studios.
“Glim Studios is all about celebrating style, creativity and personalisation,” Lizbeth and Gianella say. “We saw an opportunity to reinvent denim as a sustainable and ethical brand.”
Glim Studios offers high-quality denim garments, made from sustainably and ethically-sourced materials in small, locally-produced quantities. It is a denim brand with heart and one that stands firmly against the consumerism of the fashion industry.
In this interview, we sit down with Lizbeth and Gianella and talk all things fashion, the best and worst things about starting a business with your sister, and how Glim Studios is changing the fast-fashion tide, one impeccably made denim garment at time.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, what inspired you to start Glim Studios?
Lizbeth and Gianella: We were born and raised in Ecuador and grew up inspired in all the pop culture from the 90’s and the last of the 80’s, including art, architecture and music from the era.
Lizbeth is a Fashion designer, and Gianella is an Industrial engineer. We both love to travel and explore new cultures and moved oversees to live our dreams. Lizbeth lives in Madrid, Spain. Gianella lives in Miami, US.
Lizbeth: I went to study Fashion Design in Barcelona, and then moved to Madrid to work and study. I did an MBA in Fashion Management, and then a Master’s in digital business and Innovative Technology.
Gianella: I graduated as an Industrial Engineer in Ecuador and then moved to California to study an Applications Programming (Computer Science), and Design Communication Arts, then a Master’s in international business in Florida.
Even though we live in opposite sides of the world. We share the same values and found common ground by sharing the dream of creating a brand that reflects both, and their beliefs, founding Glim Studios in 2019.
2. What is the best and worst thing about working together as sisters? Why did you decide to focus on denim?
There isn’t a worst thing about working together because we really enjoy working together as sisters and business partners. It’s an exciting adventure for both us, a true discovery.
We know each other well enough to recognise our strengths and weaknesses in order to support each other. We may disagree, but then find a way to see each other’s perspectives. Most of the time we ended up combining our ideas. From the business point of view, we try to use every advantage to make things work in the best way possible.
We live in different countries, with different time zones and thousands of miles between us. This poses many challenges, but the passion and the dream we share for Glim Studios helps us overcome them.
We decided to focus on denim because we love denim. We saw an opportunity to reinvent denim as a sustainable and ethical brand. We decided to work very close with our partners to develop denim garments with the lowest impact on the production cycle and find ways to recycle the leftovers materials by only making limited quantities of each style. This is the quality of clothing we like to wear, and we want to share it with others.
We went one step forward by bringing the opportunity to customise our customer’s denim items using patches and pins from our ‘Customisation Bar.’ This makes every item more special and unique. At Glim Studios, we celebrate style, creativity and personalisation.
3. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as businesswomen so far?
The global pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced as businesswomen. We’d never imagined that almost four months after we officially launched Glim Studios in November 2019, that we would be facing a global pandemic which has been lifechanging for everyone. The first three years of any fashion label are crucial and so we approached the situation in the best way we could, reinventing and adapting to changes we were facing with our community and our customers.
It was hard, but we have managed to keep learning from every little thing that was and is still happening around us. We are very lucky that we are a small business that can make changes fast and reinvent easily.
4. What difficulties do you face as a sustainable and ethical fashion brand?
As a sustainable and ethical fashion brand we believe fashion can be a force for good, and a vehicle for change. Nonetheless, on this path we have faced many difficulties on every level such as:
Finding the right partners. It has been a real challenge to find responsible businesses. Not just any person, or company, but certified businesses that support sustainable and ethical production with transparency. At the same time, partners that can provide us flexibility to order limited quantities.
Some of our styles come in very limited stock because we need to satisfy our suppliers, and at the same time, we try to maintain our sustainable ethos because we know that’s the best way.
Another difficulty has been to inform and reach our customers to explain why our garments have the value they have. We make high quality items, focused on detail, and responsibly-sourced materials, which turns our operations into more costly processes.
And finally, our surplus (items from past collections, and material from past collections), have always been in a part of our plans. So, we try to minimize them from production and reuse them in future collections. This part of a planning process and this takes time.
The contradiction is that we produce for consumption even when we do produce limited quantities. We recognise how this inherently contradicts the current fashion industry which thrives from newness and consumption. So, we are committed to making better choices every day across the business. Every small action matters.
On this front, we decided to work with small factories, most of them family-owned, where we are able to watch each piece be made. We have seen and met the workers who are hardworking people that create each piece of clothing for Glim Studios.
5. “Glim Studios is all about style, creativity and personalisation.” Tell us more about this ethos and what sets Glim Studios apart from other brands in the market today?
When we refer to Glim Studios ethos, we wanted it to represent young people at heart. We want to celebrate style, creativity and personalisation because we believe everyone is different and that make this life so wonderful. We believe that what sets Glim Studios apart from other brands today is that we don’t categorise ourselves and we welcome everyone, every individual.
We celebrate being different, being unique, we celebrate style and with it comes creativity and personalisation.
We create unisex pieces where our customer decides how they will wear each item. We produce limited quantities which means every style is unique in their own way. Beyond that, we also have our ‘customization bar’ where you have the opportunity to customise your pieces by adding patches and pins with freedom because we want to empower uniqueness and authenticity.
6. What’s next for you? Any new exciting projects in the pipeline?
That a good question! For sure, we will keep working hard and dreaming big with Glim Studios. We are very focused on the things we want to achieve and explore with the brand, for us there’s no limit so we are 100% excited for what’s to come. We have been working non-stop in a few projects all related to the brand that will come to light later this year.
7. What advice do you have for women who would like to become successful entrepreneurs like yourselves?
The best advice we could give any women out there fighting for their dreams is the same we received from our parents from the very beginning: Work hard, be consistent and believe in yourself and your dreams with all your heart and never take anything for granted. It may take a while to see the results you always dreamed of, just remember ‘the day you plant the seed it’s not the day you eat the fruit’, be patient and keep working hard.