Meet Tegan Glass, the Biomedical Researcher Who Created a Streetwear Brand Based on Unity

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Teagan Glass, owner of streetwear brand efta., moved to Summit County, Colorado from Santa Fe, New Mexico when he was 11 years old. After graduating with a degree in biochemistry from CU Boulder, Glass moved to Denver with his father in 2018. While in the midst of figuring out what he wanted to do with his life, efta. was definitely a passion. However, at that point in time, it was also not a full-time commitment. When Glass later received the opportunity to fund efta. he dove into the creative scene with other Denver locals.

I linked up with Taylor Sandona of the streetwear brand, Community, and owner of NOVL. I was able to tap into Denver’s creative community through the boutique’s pop-up events. Ever since then, it’s been all gas no brakes — and here we are,” explained Glass.

Teagan Glass graphic

303 Magazine: How did you develop your interest in fashion design?

Teagan Glass: My love for fashion and style 100% stems from my brother, who’s seven years older. I remember being a little kid, sitting criss-cross-applesauce in front of the TV while he played endless ski and skate tapes. The whole time I thought, and probably blurted out loud, “THAT LOOKS SOOO SICK!!” I wasn’t even necessarily referring to the trick Tanner Hall or Chad Muska were doing. Rather, how they looked while they did it.

Moving to Summit County in the 2000s as a kid who was super into skiing was like moving to LA in the ’90s if you were super into skating. The scene was bubbling and style was an integral part of it. Riding up the five chair at Breckenridge, I watched people like Adam Delorme and Bobby Brown throw tricks I couldn’t even dream of. More importantly — at least to me — I paid attention to what they wore. Saga and Jiberish were, and probably always will be, the staples of any park-rat who wanted to look fresh on and off the mountain.

It was these brands that made me appreciate the style and aesthetic of a clothing brand. How a certain fit, pattern, logo placement or fabric factored into the vibe you got when seeing or wearing a piece always intrigued me. From there, I eventually started to formulate my own ideas.

303: Tell us about your local streetwear brand, efta.

TG: Efta. is for freethinkers, artists, creatives, skiers and skaters. Furthermore, anyone who relentlessly pursues their passions and wants to look fresh as fuck while they do it. The brand is literally just me. I do the graphic design, photography, website design, social media, behind-the-scenes logistics, etc. Efta. is my creative alter ego and my outlet for pure expression.

303: Can you tell us a little about the aesthetic? 

TG: If it’s not clean, you won’t find it in the efta. line up. I want every design to be like that drop in a song that you wanna listen to over and over again — when you see it, it just hits.

Teagan Glass mural

303: When was efta. established? Why did you decide to create your own brand? 

TG: If you wanna get technical, efta. started in 2017 in my tiny studio apartment in Boulder. I had a heat press and some blank Hanes tees. However, it wasn’t until the end of 2018 that I did my first official press of efta. This included custom labels and everything (shout out IndyInk — especially Lauren, you’re the best).

Efta. was born purely out of my love for things that look good. I took a graphic design class my sophomore year of high school and quickly became infatuated with making super clean, simple graphics and logos. Once the class was over, I immediately torrented a copy of Adobe Illustrator, and always messed around with it as a hobby. Then, my junior year at CU, I would stay up for hours sitting on my floor. I cut out heat-transfer graphics for the selfish reason that I wanted to see something I made on a shirt. As my ideas and the style for the brand developed, I realized I was truly able to express myself through my designs.

303: You participated in the RAW Artists runway show in February. What was your biggest takeaway from that experience?

TG: That was hands down the most surreal experience of my life. It was the first time efta. had ever been presented to any sort of audience other than my homies and Instagram. Moreover, it was also my first pop-up event selling efta. Let alone, having hundreds of people see my clothes on any sort of runway. Months of planning and prep went into that event and I somehow spaced on having an assistant. I ended up running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to man my booth, prep models in the green room and sip a whiskey ginger all at the same time.

When it was finally time for the runway show and the Zhu song I chose dropped, I ushered my models onto the stage. Suddenly, it felt like I was somewhere between a movie and a dream. The carefully choreographed two minutes I played and replayed in my head for months was seamlessly unfolding. I will forever be grateful to my models on that night — Savannah, Carly, Kid Astronaut and Vio the Violinist. My main takeaway from RAW: “I might be able to really do this shit.”

303: Tell us about your recent release, Unity Capsule 

TG: I moved into a new place in Capitol Hill three blocks from the State Capitol in May. Seventeen days later the world was left reeling after the unspeakably horrific murder of George Floyd (Rest In Power). After weeks of protesting, frustration and disbelief I had to channel my negative energy the best way I knew how — designing for my brand. The designs of this collection are very clear and explicit because I wanted to draw a line in the sand as far as the identity and position of efta. This brand does not judge or disregard people because of the color of their skin, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. If you can’t get behind that, then efta. isn’t for you.

Teagan Glass blue sweatshirt

303: How have your collaborations with local artists inspired your own design process? 

TG: The connections I make with fellow artists is my favorite thing about building my brand. I know how special efta. and my creative process is to me. Moreover, being able to witness other artists’ creative world is super dope and inspiring. I wouldn’t say my collaborations have altered my design process. Rather, they have reassured me the value of staying true to myself and producing authentic work. Take N3ptune for example. I have never in my life met someone who is more genuinely and unapologetically themselves, and it’s fucking beautiful. From N3p to Kid Astronaut, I love these artists because they present the best, most authentic version of themselves. It inspires me to do the same.

303: Where/how do you draw inspiration? 

TG: As you might imagine, as someone who does biomedical research by day and streetwear design by night, I have pretty eclectic interests. Outside of the Unity Capsule, the other efta. designs are more enigmatic in terms of the concept or inspiration. I’m inspired by everything from skiing to skate culture, nature to ancient philosophy, hip-hop to EDM and more. I channel any and everything I’m organically interested in or curious about. I take note of how it makes me feel and try to translate the vibe into my designs.

303: What is something you want the Denver community to know about you they might not already? 

TG: When people come up to my booth at pop-ups, the question inevitably comes up, “So what does ‘efta.’ stand for?” I’d just grin and say, “F da police.” The vast majority of the time, this is met with a laugh or smile and an “ohhhh” or “that’s dope.” The rest of the time, the person’s facial expression looks like I just called their child ugly. If those people are offended in any way, it is what it is. Efta. is a calling to everyone out there that’s on the same wavelength as I am – creativity, authenticity, vibes and connections over everything. Whoever you are, whatever you’re into, if you’re above the bullshit efta. is for you.

Teagan Glass black beanie

All photography by Teagan Glass.