Laura Egan started her career in fashion just four years ago, working as a designer in Paris and London with luxury and high street brands. It was an existence that, certainly for Ryan, conjures images of champagne parties, jet-setting and lives as well-curated as outfits. 

Joining him on The Ryan Tubridy Show, however, Egan set the record straight about the reality of working in fashion. 

"I think this is part of the problem, Ryan. This is what people think the fashion industry is", she says. "Even though I was away from the real damage the fashion industry was doing, I was still a part of it. I was still a part of the cycle of waste and of damage that the industry is producing. 

"It's not glamorous, the hours are insanely long, you're not part of the glamorous side at all. Between Paris and London I worked in a few brands and I saw first hand the damage the industry was doing. I'm guilty of some of it, as well, being a designer." 

The fashion industry is responsible for a vast amount of damage, she says, but the kind that grated on her the most was the enormous amount of textile waste it produced every day of every year. 

"I might be in a fitting with a model and I might be putting my design on her, had a pattern cut and made and I would be marking it with a Sharpie and cutting into the hem. That one garment is now in the bin. There's thousands of these and thousands of brands doing the same thing."

After a while in the industry, she decided to make some personal changes as the guilt was setting in. At the end of last year, Egan stopped buying new clothes, shopping instead in charity and second hand shops. 

However, the outbreak of Covid-19 and subsequent pandemic led to the loss of her job in London, a misfortune that Egan turned into a chance for change. 

"I was lucky enough to take it as a step to reevaluate what I was doing and take it as a chance to make some sort of change."

Egan wanted to convert more people to the joy and thrill of shopping second hand, but knew that many were put off by the idea of hours spent browsing clothes racks in charity shops. So she came up with an idea.

"Why not give people a platform where they don't need to go to charity shops, they don't need to leave their house?"

And so began Minti, her online second hand clothes shop where she sells everything from Ganni tops and Zara dresses, to Marc Jacobs mini skirts and Asos staples. Proving especially popular, though, is her upcycling service.  

"A lot of people wanted this because they have those clothes in the wardrobe that they don't wear or they're thinking, I would wear it if it were a dress", she says. 

She'll take someone's clothes, work on a design with them and turns them into a unique and chic piece of clothing, all while trying to stick to a "zero waste" process. 

Despite only being open a few months, Egan has already racked up thousands of followers in Instagram, and she's not done yet. The designer hopes to start workshops and classes later in the year, teaching others how to upcycle and rework old clothes. 

To learn more about upcycling and sustainability, listen back to Laura's chat with Ryan at the link above.