WEAR NO EVIL
How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe
AGB: Hi Greta, you told me that you’re an academic, turned stylist and now, author. How did you find yourself on this path?
GE: Life has a funny way of unfolding, although looking back it all seems to make perfect sense. I did my graduate studies in London (first at the London College of Fashion, and then at the European School of Economics). I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, so I hid out in university figuring I could continue to learn and explore what I wanted to do for my career. Luckily, by the time I was in graduate school, I was getting closer. At LCF I studied fashion marketing and promotion, and in a history of fashion course I learned about the industrialization and democratization of fashion. The sheer amounts of waste that came out of both were alarming to me and hard to digest. By the time I went to ESE I knew I wanted to focus on fashion and sustainability. ESE is a business-centered school with a fashion influence, so combining the two felt natural even though there was no curriculum to support my studies specifically. I devoted eight months straight to research around this thing called ‘eco fashion’ and turned in my thoughts and findings in an eighty-page dissertation.
During the time I was conducting my research, there were no courses or lecturers who knew how to speak about sustainability in fashion beyond looking at the corporate social responsibility or triple bottom line of existing companies in case studies. I had to push further and was lucky enough to connect with leaders in the space at brands like Nike, Threadless, Nau and Natalia Allen (to name a few). The individuals I connected with and interviewed for my dissertation became friends and mentors. Upon graduation, their advice to me was to start something consumer facing. I had thought I would become a sustainability director for a major brand, but the advice I received encouraged me to do just the opposite and facilitate change through the power of purchase from consumers. So, I started a sustainable fashion awareness project.
The project was called Fashion Me Green. I created a strategy to visit cities around the world and using eco fashion brands from the local area give an eco-fashion makeover to a style influencer. The makeover would be presented online in a digital editorial spread showcasing five or so different outfits, the style of the influencer, and a variety of brands that had style standards that matched their high ethical standards. The whole idea was to show that you do not have to sacrifice style to be sustainable. My style influencers were people that were known for their style fashion PR people. They would learn about the brands as I moved them from one look to the next during our photo shoot, and at the end they would always exclaim, ‘I can’t believe this is eco! I would gladly wear this and want it for my own closet.’
I always knew that I had succeeded in what I set out to do when I heard these affirmations. Running Fashion Me Green opened a lot of doors for me. It lead to other styling gigs, and allowed me to establish a voice as an eco fashion authority- living, breathing and visually displaying fashion that was ethical and fierce! I built a nice (and loyal- thank you FMG readers!) following. I wanted to take what I was practicing every day in my own life and on these shoots, and make it accessible to the masses. Using my dissertation as the backbone, I wrote a book proposal, secured an awesome literary agent who could see the value and importance of a book on this topic being published, and set out to bring my knowledge and how-to into an approachable resource.
With Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe as turned me into an author- which still blows my mind a little. From a young age I knew I wanted to write a book. I wanted to write a book for all the reasons I love books. They have the possibility of expanding our minds, moving us in profound ways, informing our intelligence, comforting us like a friend, and guiding us to be our best selves. I feel incredibly honored that I’ve had the support, encouragement and success in writing a book. And, as you can see, everything I did led me perfectly to the place of being able to do so. That’s life for you.
AGB: I see you as the Carrie Bradshaw of the eco world, only way cooler. Your book is packed full of great information on how to build your wardrobe sustainably, but also a beginners guide for any confused eco warrior, is there going to be series? Whats the plan?
GE: Aw- thank you! I wanted Wear No Evil to have both a timeless quality, which you find in the methodology of how to navigate style and sustainability, and I also wanted to share brands and resources that are available to us right now. My hope is that this formula of creating a system that withstands time and trends can also be transferred to other areas. So, yes there may be a series in the works, but for now it is yet to unfold.