Taja Feistner may look like your typical model -with her sharp jaw, skyscraper legs and classic smooth off-duty looks – but her career has taught her more than just how to dress, it’s granted her a platform for her true love – the environment. An industry inside voice, Taja is studying Energy and Sustainable Policy at Penn State University and is already putting her lessons into action: in the midst of founding her own sustainable clothing line Eka Minetta and crafting artwork out of recycling. Aiming to open up the dialogue about environmentalism and global warming, she’s using her power for good – on social media and IRL. Our week’s muse, we caught up with Taja Feistner to find out how she got to where she is now, and what she’s going to do next…
What’s been a career highlight for you?
I’d have to say the most recent film series I did for Prada because I got the opportunity to really challenge myself with it being my first dialog acting piece.
Where did you picture yourself being when you grew up?
I had SO many ideas of what I wanted to be growing up. I imagined a lot of things and was quite convinced I’d be a pop star for a while although I have little to no musical talent. The closest dream before my discovery for modelling I was set on being a starving artist somewhere near Venice Beach in LA. It’s been quite the array of ideas.
What are the main ways you’ve changed your lifestyle as an environmentalist?
I think one of the key ways I’ve been changing most recently is working to implement “quality over quantity” with my purchases as well as thinking beyond just the product. Packaging is what seems to cause much of the detriment. We can’t stop consuming certain things but we can choose a company with good business practices and sustainable choices. Another one would be making small changes to frequent habits like buying a reusable water bottle or taking a refillable cup to the coffee shop. Adjusting daily rituals will have the greatest impact.
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry what would you change?
In my opinion the easiest thing to change would be the unsustainable decisions made by companies. This includes unfair business practices – maybe you’ve seen the documentary on Netflix called The True Cost? At the end of the day, the fashion industry is based around consumerism. Unfortunately, that sort of change dives much to deep into the problems of capitalism to ever be realized like how entire countries are held at a low quality of life so that things can be produced there cheaply for richer countries. What we can change is our individual decisions and putting our dollar toward companies with fair-trade practices or “slow fashion” production methods.
What is your definition of beauty?
I don’t think there is a definition considering its so subjective. I think it’s more of just the feeling you get when you see something and can’t help but pause for a moment and appreciate it.
Who’s your ultimate style icon?
Ummmm, I’m going back through a bit of a 90s phase at the moment so I think I’d have to say Winona Ryder. She always has the perfect balance of masculine and feminine style.
What film/TV character has inspired your style the most over the years?
I hadn’t really thought about this until now but in all honesty I have to say Fran Drescher as Fran Fine in the Nanny. I could never live up to her loud and decked out designer looks but she was definitely an influence in my style development.
Favourite emerging fashion brands to follow at the moment and why?
I have so much love for this newer NY brand called Linder, their aesthetics, quality, creativity… everything is phenomenal and they’ve got all around amazing people behind the brand. The designer sat and had a chat with every girl who casted for their show last season. That’s basically unheard of. Another NY one I’m loving is Lou Dallas. Her hand-dyed rich color palate and deconstructed construction has this whimsy grunge to it that I can’t stop drooling over.
What’s your personal relationship like with social media?
I think it’s still a bit of an awkward relationship. It’s this funny tool where you can use it to show people exactly who you are and the more certain you are of who that is often the better received you are. I guess I’m just in an experimental time of my life where I don’t want to be tied down to one aesthetic, one job, one style, or anything like that. It’s more of a diary for me where I try to be as open and honest about my life and experiences as I can. It’s evolving constantly.
What would you like to see more of on the Internet? What less of?
More honesty, less BS. It’s rather exhausting having to double and triple check information for accuracy.
What is the book that has shaped you the most?
I really love reading non-fiction as I’m a super curious person. When I read “Mainstream Vegan” by Victoria Moran it essentially changed my life forever. I think it was my first wake-up call that humanity is affecting the planet in an extremely negative way.
If you could only take 5 albums to a desert island, what would you take?
I think all 5 would have to be those “various artists compilation” albums because I’d go insane if I was stuck with only 5 artists to listen to.
In three words: how does it feel to be a woman in the creative industry right now?
Challenging, exhilarating, and rewarding
What’s next for you?
I’d love to do some more stuff with film and acting and spend some time exploring that side of me. I’m still working on my degree in Sustainability Policy at Penn State so balancing school and everything is quite the tightrope act. I’ve got a sustainable clothing line, called Eka Minetta, cooking on the back burner and another eco-company in development as well so to say the least my hands are full. Art has also been a huge part of my creative expression and exploration so I’m sure it will continue to be as well.
Follow Taja Feistner on Instagram here.
29 June 2018