My Positive Life with Greta Eagan

As an eco-stylist, sustainable living consultant, spokesperson and now author of book Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe, Greta Eagan is somewhat of an expert in both fashion and ethics. Backed up by years of hands on experience in the fashion industry, and graduate work at the London College of Fashion, European School of Economics and the London School of Economics, her credentials speak for themselves.

Greta’s commitment to bridging the gap between mainstream and eco-fashion has seen her collaborate with Glamour, Kate Spade, The Outnet, Lucky.com, Eileen Fisher and more. We find out about her journey so far, the launch of her book and how she keeps her life positive. 

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Photo Credit: Sam Wong for A Boy Named Sue

One word that describes you?

Little Mighty! (sorry that’s two, but they are both needed)

In your own words, what do you do?

I am a writer, stylist and conscious living expert. I work to create content- both written and visual to help showcase and guide ethical style without sacrifice. I work with big brands as an eco ambassador, and smaller brands as a strategist and stylist. I also work with individuals on a one on one basis to help them organize and transform their personal wardrobes and style.

Who is your greatest influence in your career/life?

Wow. That is a big question. I honestly don’t think I can answer that question with just one person or reference. I think that a personal strength of mine is combing through all of the inlets of information (people, books, films, etc.) and then aggregating them into something that makes sense to me and hopefully those I share it with. That is why I can’t pinpoint one thing (or person), but am truly grateful for the variety of influence that is out there.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Loving what I do. I wake up excited to ‘show up’ in this thing called life and play my part. Some days are smoother than others, but I do feel very lucky that I get to be creative, passionate and genuinely interested in the work I devote so much of myself to.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The instability. I work for myself and I know that there are massive benefits to that arrangement (like having the freedom to attend a conference in Berlin and then stay on a couple of extra days to reach out to and meet local designers in the area), but I often work on a project by project basis that has me trained to sock money away when I am busy and frugally ride out the times when I am not. Aside from a lack of stability (which I am sure every self-employed person can relate to), I would say that the most challenging part of my job is getting mainstream brands, retailers, and media to engage with ethical fashion on an even playing field. I have had to turn down big brand opportunities because their backstory (production) didn’t match up with the ethos I stand for. Luckily, more brands are starting to incorporate cleaner, greener supply chains and materials, as well as link themselves to socially good causes, and that is opening things up for more collaboration. I would also like to see mainstream media cover eco fashion more robustly than just during Earth Week.  

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Photo Credit: Michael Chung

What is your greatest achievement?

So far my greatest achievement is writing my book, Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe. It still feels sort of unreal that I have WRITTEN a book! I’m really grateful I was given that opportunity and was able to call on so many amazing colleagues in the space to help contribute.

What was your Plan B?

When I was younger my parent’s called me Ready Gretty because I was always ready to go! I’m not exaggerating… my Dad would say, ‘I’m going to the gas station. Want to come?’ and I would fall over myself to put my shoes on quickly and get buckled into the front seat before he even put his coat on. I’ve maintained that ready-for-anything attitude, and I think that it keeps me open for whatever Plan B might be. So, while I don’t have a Plan B, you bet Ready Gretty will have her shoes on and be ready for it!

What is your most prized possession?

I’m not actually all that attached to physical things. I get real enjoyment out of cleaning out my closet and de-cluttering my home, so choosing to pass things on to a new owner brings me real joy. That said, I do love my books. I have reverted back to buying physical books (after a whirlwind affair with Kindle) so that I can build a library and lend them out. In that case, my bookshelf might be my most prized possession (nerd alert!).

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

Someone once told me that you don’t know what happens behind closed doors. I really think that has helped me to accept people being people. The way we interact in one situation and with certain people around is different than what we get in vulnerable one on one moments with each other, and once I knew that it helped me to understand and accept people more compassionately.

One thing I have learned for myself (and like to pass along) is that nothing is as big of a deal as you think it is. I used to stress so hard about what I was going to wear to such and such event or what I said in my impromptu speech that may not have been the best thing… but I have learned that it never really matters as much as you think. We are all human. None of us are perfect. Don’t stress. Show up and you’ll do fine.

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Photo Credit: Sam Wong for A Boy Named Sue

Please complete the sentence… I could not live without…

My meditation practice. It is the thing that keeps me centred and tuned into my intuition to make the right choices.

If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?  

My family. Boring answer, I know. I really love them and value their presence in my life.

Sustainability and consumption are two words you will hardly find in the same sentence – which brands do you think are good quality and are doing their bit for people and the planet?

There are quite a lot of brands that are now incorporating ethics into their DNA while upholding their style and quality standards. Some of my favourites include: Amour Vert, Chinti & Parker, Svilu, Allison Parris, Thu Thu, Partimi, Maiyet, Suzanne Rae, and Angela & Roi.

Do you support a charity or cause?

I do. I recently collaborated with the Venice Beach- based brand Muses & Rebels to make a ‘wear no evil’ bracelet (made from reclaimed brass) that for every sale, $1 is donated to Send Me A Penny, an organization that helps feed the homeless in Venice, CA.

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Photo Credit: Michael Chung

What are your positive fashion staples this season? 

The varsity bomber jacket, boyfriend style v-neck tees, platform (flatform) trainers, flip and flair mini skirt and wide leg silk trousers.

What is your personal luxury?

I feel you’ve discovered real luxury when you have things in your life (and in this context, wardrobe) that truly fit and reflect who you are. They become a sort of second skin that you feel so comfortable in it is effortless. That kind of self-knowing and ease is a personal luxury I am always striving for.

What is your most treasured luxury item?

I have a Balenciaga bag that I bought in London (shortly after I completed my graduate program at London College of Fashion). I got it at a sample sale, but it was still the most expensive piece of fashion I had ever bought. I still have that bag, and get compliments on it all the time. The shape and quality have withstood the tests of time, and the colour has gotten better with time- like a fine wine.

What steps do you take to make your life more positive?

I try to remember one of what I feel is life’s great truths: try to make others happy, and you will find happiness. Sometimes I get wrapped up in comparing myself to others, which breeds jealousy and selfishness, and doesn’t serve me or anyone else. When I shift my thinking to how I can make the lives or experiences of those around me better, we all win.

Greta’s book, Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe is available on Amazon here

Emily Noszkay