I settled myself down into a cosy, blanket covered sofa on an ever-darkening London evening – opened my Macbook and pulled-up the Skype app. It’s a Friday night; 8pm UK time, 10am LA time. I’m eagerly await a conversation with Greta Eagan, the brains behind eco style blog Fashion Me Green and author to Wear No Evil – perhaps the most sustainably stylish woman in America.
I’d just got back from work and was sporting my daily uniform of all black, whilst on the other side of the Atlantic Greta was dressed down in her morning activewear, preparing for a hike in the Los Angeles mountains. It dawns on me that the one thing I crave from living in London is the outdoor lifestyle; A hike around Hackney Wick on a Friday morning mid-october doesn’t quite have the same allure. I soon learnt that Greta lived and fell in love with London whilst studying at the European School of Economics, I guess the grass always seems greener.
I was instantly inspired by Greta’s enthusiasm and knowledge surrounding sustainable fashion. With a desire to learn and become even more aware of sustainable styles, it was amazing to chat with such an inspiring green wardrobe guru.
Let’s start with your blog Fashion Me Green, how did the concept come about?
It was during my second year studying at the European College of Economics, where I decided to dedicate my dissertation to sustainability and fashion. I felt that there was a mis-conception surrounding sustainable styles, when there are actually some great fashion-forwards eco-brands around. I wanted my site to meet the sustainability standard and the style standard. The other thing that led to my blog was a friend that was pushing me to think about the future and what I wanted to do. I said I always wanted to write a book and he told me to start a blog to develop my voice as a writer and build an audience. I started my blog the next day!
How did you go about writing a dissertation on sustainability in fashion?
The London College of Fashion has a whole section devoted to sustainability now, but when I was there this didn’t exist. We didn’t have sustainability on the curriculum, and so I didn’t have a structure or professors talking about the subject I was interested in. When I decided to do my dissertation on sustainability in fashion I had to go out and seek the experts. Through those interviews and the guidance they shared that’s how I structured my studies. It was a crazy experience!
How did Wear no Evil, your first book, come about?
Wear no Evil was based on my dissertation. All of that research and work that I did was swimming around my head, which was great because I had built up the knowledge to go out and shop in a way that met my style and my ethic standards. Sometimes I feel people kind of give up, because they can’t figure it out, or it seems to complicated. My friends started to say that I should share all of my research, and my process of shopping sustainably. So then I started thinking about how I could break it all down and share it in a useful way.
What happened then, how did you take the book from a concept to a publisher?
I sent off my dissertation to an academic publisher in Sweden and they wrote back to me saying that they wanted to publish it into a text book. Which was so flattering and at the same time so terrifying! I said yes at first and started working on it as a text book. When I was about two months into it I felt that I didn’t want to create content only available to students and academics looking for that information. I wanted it to be for the mass consumer and to be useful in everyday life. And so I turned the deal down.
That must have taken gumption! Where did you go from there?
Luckily in my circle of friends there are a couple of authors and they started introducing me to agents. I met with several and then suddenly I met with one lady that just got it. She said it was an important and timely book, she was amazing. We worked on it for a long time. I was so used to writing academically that I needed to work on the writing style for the book to make it fun and witty. I was ecstatic about it!
What would your top three tips be for somebody looking to create a greener and more sustainable closet in 2017?
It really depends on the person, but on a broader scale I would say:
- Wash your clothes less, they will last longer ant the impact of washing your clothes is massive. It waists so much water and energy, even opting to hang dry instead of tumble dry will help.
- Be conscious about what you are buying, try not to buy frivolously. When you are out shopping and thinking of bringing a new piece into your wardrobe think about if that piece could be paired with 5 styles already hanging in your closet.
- Buy second hand, if it exists in the world already then that is the most sustainable purchase you can make.
What are your three favourite sustainable brands?
What books are you reading at the moment?
Getting Real (£19) – This is about communication and how to be really authentic. A lot of the time we conform to the social norms, this book helps you communicate how you really feel – it talks about how to reclaim your authentic self.
Mind Set (£9) – This book is about how you can support yourself on succeeding or failing based on what’s going on in your mind.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
There is one thing that stands out to me, I can’t remember who told me, but the saying was ‘Nothing is ever as big a deal as you think it is’. This gave me the courage to do something or talk to someone new and put myself out there when I get nervous. The reality is that nothing is ever as big a deal as you think it is, it just isn’t. It’s an exercise on being flexible and it opened up the world for me.
For more tips on transitioning into a green wardrobe, “Wear No Evil” offers recommendations on which brands to shop based on what you’re looking for—from T-shirts to handbags and even beauty products—so that you can easily consume fashion more ethically. I highly recommend the read!