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Chicago's Glass House Shirtmakers
Top quality shirting crafted stateside from sustainable materials
by David Graver
on 18 August 2014
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As recently discussed, the role of the collared shirt within a wardrobe changes considerably with each generation. While they still carry a dressier cache and remain an essential component for most suits, collared shirts are also everyday wear for many, and lend a refined touch to a casual look. Chicago's Glass House Shirtmakers understands this. Their American-made, small-batch offerings play between formal and casual. And yet, they're also cut from sustainable, thoughtfully sourced materials. It's all in the name: Glass House represents transparency and a careful consideration of every detail.

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According to founder Daniel Bernardo, "The brand concept came from not being able to find a domestically manufactured, high-quality, slim-fit, sustainable shirt option. We wanted to bridge the gap for people." He approached this in two ways, "Design-wise and materials-wise, I chose to keep it simple: to not over-design and to utilize only needed materials, no bells or whistles, just clean pieces." The result is attractive, intelligently made apparel—something buyers can look good in and feel good about buying.

Glass House currently uses 100% organic cotton, hemp, lyocell and blends of other sustainable fabrics. They also employ reclaimed fabrics—buying them up before they're thrown out. Additionally, they construct shirts from fabrics not normally used for apparel, but pay close attention to how these fabrics feel on the skin. The through-line, however, is knowing the origin of everything. Bernardo explains, "We source our fabrics through vendors who have built relationships with mills and can vouch for the integrity and quality of the fabrics." By 2020, they plan on having all of their fabrics grown, milled, spun, dyed and woven in the United States—something that directly impacts production facilities stateside. Further reflecting their attention to detail, Bernardo shares that even "our buttons are sourced from a company that is creating communities in regions where the trees grow naturally."

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In the world of style, many consumers don't take materials into consideration, focusing on appearance first and foremost. Thankfully, Glass House shirts still look and feel great, and there's an element of minimalism to their designs—from the lack of front pocket to the spread collar—that can be dressed up or down. "Style and fashion in the past years have become casual and relaxed, so we aren't defined as a 'dress shirt' or 'casual shirt' company—we simply make shirts. Give them a good pressing and wear them with a suit—or wear them with jeans and sneakers. The choice is yours." Either way, Glass House is a smart choice.

Browse Glass Works offerings online, where prices range from $118 to $178.

Images courtesy of Glass House shirtmakers

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