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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

People. Planet. Prosperity. Passion. Purpose. Words Marci Zaroff lives by.

Marci Zaroff grew up in South Florida, and was born an entrepreneur. She was the kid with the lemonade stand and had business cards by the time she turned 11. 

Zaroff gravitated towards art and fashion and was awarded “best dressed” in high school. At 16, she met a friend who introduced her to the AVEDA brand. They both learned about the philosophies of plant wisdom, indigenous cultures and ancient healing traditions. Those were the early days. “I have been living an eco-lifestyle for over three decades, and yet I am still learning something new every day,” Zaroff stated.

Zaroff pioneered the market for “ECOfashion” and is an internationally recognized ECOlifestyle entrepreneur, educator and expert who keynotes globally on organic/sustainable textiles, strategic creative vision, social innovation, green business/design and the rise of the millennial generation. Zaroff believes millennials are behind the rapidly growing sustainable and ethical fashion movement. 

“I coined and trademarked the term, “eco-fashion” in 1995, and people thought I was crazy. The sentiment was that these are two dichotomous worlds — people into fashion were not into the environment, sustainability and social justice, and people into being more conscious were not into fashion. And I was like, ‘Well, I’m that person. I’m both.’ So, how do I roll up my sleeves and style the world of change while changing the world of style — to bridge the tree hugger and the fashionista?” Zaroff said.

Zaroff had an “aha” moment when she realized that the fashion world was primarily excluded from sustainability conversations. Her company, YesAnd is her vision — bringing together both style and sustainability.

Zaroff is also the founder and CEO of MetaWear Organic, the engine of her company, offering design and product development, sourcing, production, inspections, quality control, sustainability and certification oversight, and marketing and communication strategy. Their  turnkey, customized private-label manufacturing platform makes sustainability “easy” for their countless brand and retail partners — from basics like T-shirts to full contemporary fashion collections.

And if this isn’t enough, Zaroff is also the founder of Under the Canopy, a sustainable fashion and home brand, she has producee of two documentaries, “THREAD” and “Driving Fashion Forward,” with Amber Valletta, exposing the human and environmental impacts of the fashion industry, and  is the co-founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Good Catch Foods and BeyondBrands. 

Zaroff has appeared in major television and print media, including Newsweek, The New York Times, USA TODAY, InStyle, Lucky, Bloomberg, ELLE, Vanity Fair, CNN, E! Entertainment Television, the Discovery Channel and others.

Zaroff has been active in the world of ethical fashion and sustainable supply chain for the last 30 years. She says that she started her career in the food industry in the 1990s. She co-founded the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest holistic nutrition school that has certified over 150,000 people as health coaches. Afterward, Zaroff segued into clean beauty with the founder of AVEDA.

In her first book, “ECOrenaissance, Co-Creating a Stylish, Sexy and Sustainable World,” the premise is that we can change the world through the lens of design. “If we appeal to people at a visceral and aesthetic level — through style, color, fit, high quality, value and everything consumers want — and then layer in the how, what and where, the question shifts from, “Why would I buy sustainable fashion?” to “Why wouldn’t I?” she stated.

Zaroff provides inspiring tips describing how to live and shop in harmony with nature without sacrificing style or luxury. She elaborates on how to benefit from the current renaissance — a global rebirth of sustainable economics, progressive ethics and green culture — through the wisdom of eco-entrepreneurs, green fashion designers, organic food purveyors and innovative leaders of this new movement.

“Gone are the days of boxy hemp shirts and gritty granola — cutting-edge innovation has made ecology as stylish and sexy as red carpet fashion, and everyday people are leading the charge with the choices they make.” 

Zaroff embraces sustainable living as both a celebration of style and a necessary strategy for maintaining everyday comforts despite increasingly limited resources. From global warming to drought, genetically modified foods to harmful chemicals in our beauty products, commerce has ignored the health of our planet and our bodies for too long. But now, a new age is dawning — one that is uplifting and accessible. 

As a proponent of regenerative agriculture, Zaroff says that she is a “soil junkie and organic advocate.” “A third of the world’s textiles are made from cotton; it’s one of the most important crops in agriculture, and 60% of the crop actually goes back into the food stream as feed for dairy or cottonseed oil in mainstream breads, snacks and other products. From agriculture to popular culture, food and fiber are inextricably interconnected.”

Zaroff also points out that, “Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed industries in the world, using GMO seeds and toxic chemical cocktails. Conventional cotton agriculture has destroyed and depleted soil all over the world. We call it ‘the pesticide treadmill.’ The cotton agriculture system is broken socially and environmentally. And, of course, the more we destroy the soil, the less resilient the crops are to climate change. Regenerating our planet’s soil can be our greatest single solution to climate change,” Zaroff says.

People, planet, prosperity, passion and purpose are her fundamental principles. “In today’s world, where the Internet has changed the game and transparency is paramount, businesses need to incorporate environmental and social accountability into their products and services to stay relevant,” she said.

Zaroff feels that the time is now. She says that we are in the middle of a renaissance or rebirth of humanity. Through the lens of design, she believes that we can change the world. “We are all part of a collaborative ecosystem held up by five pillars that I call the 5Cs: Creativity, Connection, Collaboration, Community and Consciousness.”

Zaroff is a doer, a visionary and a creator. Her mission is to be the change that she wishes to see in the world. “If we can commit to living the change, we can collectively design a healthier and better reality for all of humanity.”

For more information on Marci Zaroff, visit www.marcizaroff.com Or follow her on Instagram @marcizaroff. 

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