Tanja Gacic is a Sydney based blogger, writer, stylist, photographer and creative director celebrating 25 years in the fashion industry this year. Tanja boasts a covetable career spanning from full-time modelling all over the globe, to playing out her love of photography, writing and fashion on the pages of her online lifestyle blog My Empirical Life and is also a Vogue Australia contributor. On a recent Ginger & Smart photoshoot this fashion powerhouse talked us through her passions and inspirations….
What are some of the highlights of your fashion career?
Working in 90s/00s in New York with some great photographers; going to the British Virgin Islands with friends to create a Best Of British Virgin Islands travel story on a magazine’s unlimited spend black Amex card (hellooo 5 private islands!); the over the top Tanja G catwalk strut of my runway heyday; living in amazing cities around the world; long lasting friendships in the industry with people I love; having wild, beautiful creative experiences of making something out of nothing and getting paid well for it. Shifting into blogging afforded me an opportunity to work with some amazing brands in a Creative Director position and go on unforgettable trips. I remember being a 5 year old dressed up in my mum’s clothes, dreaming about a life in fashion - I never thought that I would somehow carve a 25 year long career out of it!
Looking back, what advice would you give your younger self?
Despite what you fear, you do actually deserve good in your life and are not an imposter. Don’t worry so much about the hows and whens and just enjoy life and be present in the moment. You are curious and this will serve you well in the future: no knowledge you seek will ever be in vain. Please for god sakes stop thinking that a cigarette and milkshake is a definition of a good breakfast, don’t mould yourself to your romantic relationships and take your dad up on his offer to teach you how to meditate - you will love it.
What makes you thrive personally?
Like any typical human, I thrive on my close connections. When I have safe, caring, fun relationships based on growth with people I love, I feel at my best. I’ve identified that my values around personal relationships are high in integrity and transparency and I expect this in return - interacting with like-minded individuals is just easier because we are on the same page. Having a circle of people I can trust to have my best interests at heart is wholeheartedly the key to thriving. I think constructive criticism is one of the best gifts a true friend can give you. My relationship with my daughter is a constant source of joy and so important to me. I love growing by learning - I devour information in an almost obsessive way. One day it’s psychology, the next it’s ancient mysteries, then nutrition and medical journals and books. When I do all my self-care ritual s- meditating, journaling, exercising is when I’m my most centred. I get giddy when I have exciting projects on the go or I’m writing an article. And travel. Travel definitely makes me thrive. Especially solo travel - I feel like every time I go somewhere alone I get to know myself, my feelings and needs more.
Where does your creative inspiration come from?
Books, people, stories, travel, films, daydreams… the whole world is a kaleidoscope of inspiration.
How do you use your platform to share your passions or concerns?
My Empirical Life didn’t start as a fashion blog, it was first a blog on art and travel and then it became almost solely fashion. When that happened, even though I love fashion so much, I started to lose my creative drive and passion. I knew that I needed to start exposing more of myself and the things I care about. I felt a responsibility to take on more of an activist role and share it with my following because we have such a limited time to turn things around on this planet. I want to be able to tell my child that I did all I could.
How do you incorporate sustainable fashion into your world?
I love working with sustainable labels because they encapsulate everything that is smart, inventive and progressive about the world. I want to champion green achievements and motivate people to become more conscious. Buying quality items that care for the world and keeping them for a long time, like treasures, is so important to me. It’s all about having a well curated wardrobe collection rather than churning through clothes then discarding them. We need to change the way we look at dressing ourselves because there aren’t enough Earths to plunder - fashion is such a big polluter. I’m so proud of Ginger & Smart for taking such wonderful strides to shift practices whilst keeping the unique identity of the brand.
Favourite piece of Ginger & Smart Pre-Fall GILDED Collection?
Oh my! I can’t choose! The suiting is really awesome and I’m in love with the maxi dresses - chic 70s cocktail hour by a Slim Aaron pool is always en vogue.