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LIFESTYLES | BOOKTALK

GREEN GODDESS

Eco-lifestyle pioneer Marci Zaroff welcomes a new age of environmental innovation and awareness. BY ERICA MOODY| PORTRAIT BY TONY POWELL

Marci Zaroff’s new book features tips for eco-conscious lifestyles

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ong before organic food had entered the mainstream, before sustainable clothing was more than unflattering sack dresses, before eco-friendly beauty products were even on the table, Marci Zaroff was championing environmentalism as a lifestyle choice. Zaroff, founder of MetaWear Organics, Farm to Home and Under the Canopy (the first direct-to-consumer sustainable lifestyle brand), producer of THREAD/ Driving Fashion Forward and co-founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Good Catch Foods and BeyondBrands is recognized for coining the term “ECOfashion” more than two decades ago. The former Aspen Institute fellow can now add author to her list of accomplishments. “ECOrenaissance: A Lifestyle Guide

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for Cocreating a Stylish, Sexy, and Sustainable World” (Simon & Schuster) is informative, entertaining and uplifting, much like Zaroff herself. When we met in downtown Washington, after her board meeting with the Organic Trade Association, Zaroff explained that the organic industry is not only good for the earth and good for the body, it’s also good for business. “The beauty of the organic movement is that it is a total bipartisan movement,” she says. “People think it’s a liberal movement but it’s not. The organic industry has been growing for almost 20 years at double digit rates where there’s more demand than there is supply, where 83 percent of Americans are now buying organically at least occasion-

ally, where jobs are being created in over 60 percent of organic businesses annually. Farmers in America who are growing organically are making on average 35 percent more money. It’s a win-win on every level.” Zaroff ’s book delves into this; it’s divided into five easy sections she calls the “Five Cs of the ECOrenaissance Movement”: Creativity, Connection, Collaboration, Community and Consciousness. Each section includes true-life examples, lifestyle tips and interviews with eco-lifestyle entrepreneurs and advocates such as fashion designer Mara Hoffman and Beautycounter founder Gregg Renfrew. “Looking and feeling fabulous shouldn’t come at the expense of living in harmony with the environment,” Zaroff explains after arriving to be interviewed in a Rent the Runway ensemble, one example of living the “re-commerce” approach she champions. “Remake, renew, reuse, repur pose, recycle, rent, swap. These are all ways any consumer can participate in the sustainable fashion industry very easily,” she says. “Global Fashion Exchange is a great resource for people to check out.” Zaroff also recommends the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” app for beauty products. The fashion industry contributes anywhere from eight to ten percent of the world’s carbon impact, she explains, and this is why we need a “fashion revolution.” The conversation is beginning to pick up steam, Zaroff enthuses, contributing to the worldwide “ECOrenaissance” she’s so excited about. The latest United Nations climate conference she attended included fashion as a topic, where it hadn’t been before to any large extent. “We can’t solve today’s problems with the same consciousness that created them,” Zaroff says, quoting one of her favorite sayings by Albert Einstein.

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