Dreams do come true. For Korean born Jean Glover, the opening of 8telier in Seattle’s Pacific Place Shopping Center is the capstone of over 20 years of industry experience. Jean and her business partner husband, Craig Glover opened the retail store in October 2014 to showcase Jean’s original designs of stylish, contemporary, and modern women’s wear.
Originally born in Seoul, Korea, Jean spent her early years in Seattle before entering the University of Washington to complete her undergraduate degree in architecture—a degree that proved useful in pursuing her real passion, clothing design. The discipline, design sense, and attention to detail she learned in architecture was a natural bridge to her becoming a fashion designer.
Fashion has also been a part of her family background. As a teen, her first introduction to the apparel business was at her aunt’s New York couture design firm, Gregory Cicola. So it was no surprise to her Korean-born parents when she chose to pursue fashion design in New York City at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). Jean had the full support of her parents, who always encouraged her to follow her dreams as long as she worked hard at it.
And it was a lot of hard work, Jean said. While a student at FIT, Jean acquired the basic technical skills necessary to work in the design business. She interned in New York designer Anna Sui’s sample room, which included running errands to local factories. This experience served as a major inspiration, Jean said.
She admits it’s tempting for aspiring designers to want to work for famous brands. She once had the opportunity to work at Calvin Klein, instead she went to work as an assistant designer for a small, unknown garment manufacturer, Sherri E/Visione. Jean considers it the best career decision she ever made; to work for a small company where she had the opportunity to travel and work in Europe, learning all areas of apparel manufacturing, especially important if a designer has aspirations to start their own label.
“There are no short cuts to success,” Jean said. Hard work led to her owning and operating two apparel businesses with her husband Craig prior to returning to Seattle to open 8telier, which would feature her own clothing line and designs.
Her designs don’t chase trends; rather the savvy, seasoned designer developed her collection with real women in mind. The simple minimalist yet edgy and modern fit of each piece in her line was designed with careful regard for practicality and wearability. Synthetic fabrics in neutral blacks, whites, greys and beiges create a timeless look wearable by women of any age and body type. Jean develops the 8telier collection based on a design philosophy instilled in her by a former architecture professor during her UW days, the late Philip Thiel.
“Design is a problem-solving process and must be functional and never art for art’s sake,” she said.
For Jean, there’s no separation between her work and her personal life. She loves what she does and rises to the challenges of the apparel business. Returning to Seattle from New York with her husband to start their own retail store and showcase her own designs brings her close to family and to her northwest roots, she explained. But most of all it is her dream come true.