How I Wear Eco Fashion: Johanna Bjork, Editor and Maverick Eye


Johanna Bjork has long been a supporter of the eco fashion scene in NYC; she’s one of the first girls I regularly saw at the green shows and her combination of a great eye for detail (she’s a graphic designer, which has certainly honed her aesthetic) and life-loving attitude makes her an astute (and fun!) person to hang with at all the green events in Manhattan and Brooklyn. After observing eco fashion for awhile, she jumped in and founded her own site – she’s Editor-in-Chief of Goodlifer.com and, due to her fabulous fashion acumen, is also a blogger at the Swedish site, ConcreteFlower.se

“I’ve been a vintage enthusiast ever since I can remember,” says Johanna. “I like stores that are chaotic, where you have to dig around to find the good stuff. If I’m in a department store, I just kind of get confused by all the order—there’s no challenge to it. I love the more obscure, junkier thrift stores—pretty much the only places you can make real scores these days,” she says.

Johanna’s favorite vintage stores in NYC are:
Beacon’s Closet
Buffalo Exchange
Guvnor’s in Brooklyn
-this really great little one in the East Village that I don’t actually know the name of

Johanna has some non-green faves too, (don’t we all?), including Marshall’s, “where I can really perfect the art of digging through racks,” and H&M, “which I guess I am just used to since I grew up in Sweden,” she says. Last time I stopped by H&M there was quite a bit of organic cotton going on, so maybe the apparel giant will be less of a guilty pleasure for her going forward. “I also recently discovered the brilliance of clothing swaps,” says Johanna, “so I’ll be doing a lot more of that!”

Making it last is important to this busy New Yorker: “When it comes to dressing sustainably I think the most important thing is to buy pieces that you know you’ll wear 5, 10, 20 years from now and stay away from the really trendy stuff that you won’t want to even look at in six months. Most of what’s in my closet is over five years old, and I rarely get rid of something unless it’s worn out or doesn’t fit me anymore. I tend to favor simple colors and cuts that I know fit me well and won’t go out of style, occasionally throwing a pop of color or craziness into the mix.”

Of the outfit above, Johanna says, “I love shirt dresses, they fit my body really well and they’ll never go out of style. This one is from H&M. The shoes are from Pjux, a really great sustainable shoe company from Denmark. The fur coat is vintage, I bought it at a Salvation Army in Sweden over 10 years ago. I still love it. I would never buy anything new made from fur, but I think vintage is OK. The belt is also really old, rescued from my sister’s closet, she wore it when she was in 5th grade or something like that.”


Of the second outfit she put together for this column, Johanna says, “Another thing I really love is hats, people should really wear more hats. This one is over 10 years old, from H&M. The high-waisted denim flares are Earnest Sewn, bought at a thrift shop in the East Village. I wish they were a little longer, but they’re perfect with flip flops. These are Havaianas, from The Standard Spa in Miami. The tank is from Marshalls and the necklace is from this great little jewelry shop in Williamsburg called Brooklyn Charm, you pick the length of chain and the charms you want on there and make your own necklace! Mine has a little skull and a monocle. The faux leather fringe bag is from a Swedish chain store called Lindex. I really love it and get compliments on it wherever I go. I got it just this winter, but I have a feeling it’ll stay in my closet for a very long time.”

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.