Glyph: Pure, minimalist fashion

Glyph digitally knit shoes are vegan, recyclable, and designed to be your only pair of shoes.

By: Janice Endresen
portrait of Glyph cofounders Pranav Sachdev and Alan Lau

Glyph cofounders Pranav Sachdev and Alan Lau, both MBA ’17 (Cornell Tech)

In the burgeoning ethical fashion world, “it’s the small [apparel] startups that are really being innovative and pushing the envelope,” says Natalie Grillon, MBA ’12, project director of Open Apparel Registry. “And that in turn pushes the big companies as well. So it’s important.”

Take Glyph, for example.

picture of a Glyph shoe
a Glyph shoe

Pranav Sachdev, MBA ’17, (Cornell Tech) and his classmate and co-founder, Alan Lau, MBA ’17, built their fashion startup on a foundation of ethical ideals quintessential to the fashion revolution: Glyph digitally knit shoes are vegan (free of animal products), fully recyclable, and minimalist — designed to be your only pair of shoes. Glyphs are also crafted to be sleek and comfortable, water resistant, washable, and durable — all important qualities that Sachdev and his co-founder incorporated into creating the shoes after spending about 100 hours talking to people about their lives and their shoes.

Launching Glyph “came from wanting to own fewer things,” adds Sachdev. “I had a lot of things going on and was traveling for grad school quite a bit, and thought ‘This could be better if I just owned one pair of shoes.’

“The legacy shoe industry doesn’t understand how shoes fit into our lives,” says Sachdev. Their goal, he says, is to sell shoes to the person who might already own 30 to 50 pairs of shoes. “Our philosophy: We want to replace as many of those as we can,” he says.

“The biggest part of it for us is owning less,” says Sachdev. “People who own fewer things tend to be a lot freer, a lot happier. And it’s counterintuitive, but people who tend to stick to things that work well for them tend to dress better.

“The two environmental issues of our age are climate change and clean water, and when you have animal-free products, you tend to have a smaller footprint in both those areas,” Sachdev continues. “If you have a pair of leather shoes, thousands of gallons of water went into creating those, and the climate footprint is equally as egregious.

“A lot of people want to feel better about what they’re wearing and want animals to be treated better, too. We’re seeing that especially with the younger generation of people right now.”

Learn more about the sustainable fashion, the impacts of the apparel industry, and Cornellians who are involved in driving change in Ethical Fashion.