Beyond recycling cans and newspapers, mobilization towards ending global warming has evolved through the decades. This week, Xander talked to the CEO and founder of EcoFashion Corp, Marci Zaroff, to learn more about "fast fashion" and its adverse environmental effects. "The fashion industry is one of the greatest polluters of air and water in the world." Zaroff states.
Zaroff's experience in the industry spans over 25 years and she trademarked the term "EcoFashion" in 1995. Her career progressed from the food industry into beauty and finally landed in the world of fashion. "I actually started my career on the food side, which is how most consumers actually start their journey into sustainability or health and wellness," says Zaroff.
With her business degree, she started The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Later, she partnered with the founder of Aveda, where she began to unravel the evolution of human needs from food to shelter and clothing and its impacts on the planet. "We connected the dots from food to beauty, and then it became very apparent that you can't really support one part of the equation without looking at the whole lifestyle." She was determined to bring her learnings into fashion and, as she describes, "bridge the treehugger and the fashionista."
Marci believes that the gradual degradation of quality in clothing combined with increased seasonal trends is responsible for the epidemic of fast fashion, trendy, cheap clothing with little longevity. "Fashion, that's gone from two to four seasons a year to more than 52 seasons a year making fashion disposable," Zaroff says. In addition to filling landfills, the mass creation of cheap clothing requires more chemicals, energy, and water. Zaroff's mission is to end this compromise on quality and return to what she calls "timeless collections."
Through Eco-Fashion Corp, she's able to offer greenhouse brands such as MetaWear, Yes And Apparel, and affordable QVC brands, Farm To Home and Seed To Style. "A big part of my work is breaking the stigma that sustainable fashion has to cost a lot more." Instead, she says, "There are so many ways we can use fashion as a positive vehicle for transformation; look good, feel good and do good for the world at the same time."
Zaroff explains how it's not a fleeting trend but a necessity that retailers should adopt. "Look how many big retailers and companies fell by the wayside during COVID because they weren't relevant anymore," Zaroff says. She feels that Millennials and younger generations are more aware of environmental factors and dangers of clothing production through factory work and exploitation.
"The internet has changed the game because you can ask the question; Who made my clothes? What's in them? Where are they being made? How are they being made?" As a result, she says, "Business as usual in the fashion industry is not ok." and "organic is good business, it's not just about being better for the planet, it's better for people, better for farmers."
She believes the two main paths to better practices are improving the fibers and materials used and increasing its circulatory life or the "life of the garment" to decrease fashion production. "If you include agriculture and transportation, 8-10% of the world's carbon is coming out of the fashion industry."
Zaroff continues to innovate ways to transition into sustainable fashion easily for consumers and businesses by piloting new blockchain technology and expanding her brand while helping other campaigns and businesses like 4 Ocean. "1 +1 = 11, she says, "we're stronger together than we are apart, and that's why we need to join forces to really affect positive change in the world."
Follow Marci and her orgs:
Follow Marci on Twitter @marcizaroff
Get a copy of ECOrenaissance
Follow Marci on Instagram @marcizaroff
Follow YES AND on Instagram @yesand
Visit the YES AND website
Follow Seed to Style on Instagram @seedtostyle
Visit the Seed to Style website
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