“ECOfashion” Expert Marci Zaroff Talks About Her New Brand YES AND, Along With COVID-19’s Effect on Sustainability

“ECOfashion” Expert Marci Zaroff Talks About Her New Brand YES AND, Along With COVID-19’s Effect on Sustainability

For Zaroff, sustainability in fashion is more than just a buzz word backed by greenwashing; she is an internationally recognized ECOlifestyle expert with almost 30 years of experience behind her belt.

By Serena Velarde

 Following the launch of her new brand YES AND, Zaroff

discusses her claim to the creation of the term ECOfashion, the future of sustainable fashion, COVID-19’s effect on sustainability and more.

For better reader clarity, the interview is lightly edited.

FASHION MANIAC:

How did you come about coining the term ECOfashion in 1995?

ZAROFF:

I started my career in organic and natural food. While I was in the trenches back in the early nineties, I co-founded a school that is known today as the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. It was really the beginning of the organic and natural food movement. As a fashion consumer, I started to learn that you really could not support one part of the equation without the other. For example, if you are talking about cotton, it’s growing in agriculture right next to food crops. The worlds of food and fiber are very interconnected. The concept of bringing the two worlds of fashion and ecology together and showing that the two do not have to be mutually exclusive was a movement that I wanted to create and so I called it ECOFashion.

 

FASHION MANIAC:

You have been embarking on new D2C ECOfashion brand YES AND, could you tell me how you started this project?

ZAROFF:

YES AND actually is the perfect embodiment of ECOfashion. We lead with great design first and foremost; our clothes have to look good, feel good and do good in the world. It’s all about no compromise. I was able to really easily start YES AND by building off of now almost 30 years of being an innovator and a market leader across different categories of consumer products and popular culture. I founded my first brand in 1995, when I coined the term ECOFashion, and started a company called Under the Canopy. Then I started a company called MetaWear, which is a manufacturing platform that does all sustainable fashion manufacturing and birthed my brand YES AND.

 

FASHION MANIAC:

Who on your design team is ensuring that YES AND’s clothes are stylish and trendy?

ZAROFF:

We have a handful of different designers in Los Angeles and in Florida. My VP of product design and development, Michelle Jaffe, is a very talented designer and merchandiser in the apparel industry. Michelle and I are like soul sisters. She really understands the vision of the brand and has a lot of experience in the contemporary fashion world. Our point of view is about leading with modern design and having a purpose behind every single detail of our clothes; whether it’s a tie dye, a print, an embroidery or an applique.

 

FASHION MANIAC:

Do you foresee any artist collaborations in the future with YES AND?

ZAROFF:

Absolutely. YES AND is very much grounded in collaboration and co-creation. In fact, the tagline of my book “ECOrenaissance” is co-creating a stylish, sexy and sustainable world.

 

FASHION MANIAC:

Who are your target demographics for YES AND?

ZAROFF:

The millennial conscious, 25 to 45-year-old is probably our core. Although we see Gen X on fire about what we are doing. It is really more of a psychographic than a demographic; a mindset that our consumers want style and substance.

 

FASHION MANIAC:

You were a key figure in the development of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the First Fair Trade Textile Certification with Fair Trade USA. What do you see for the future of sustainability and fashion?

ZAROFF:

The internet has changed the game as people search online to see what materials are in their clothes, how they are being made and by whom. I think the fashion industry is headed to a re-set where transparency is going to be just as important as style, quality, and price. Because if you are not playing in that game of thinking about sustainability and not embedding that into your strategy and supply chain, you are going to be eventually out of the game.

 

FASHION MANIAC:

Do you think that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting sustainability and fashion?

ZAROFF:

Very much so. I think what’s happening is since people cannot go outside, they are going inside. It is very metaphoric, and people are starting to get activated by looking inside of themselves and questioning what really matters to them. Because of COVID-19, consumers today have seen a rebirth of humanity with an opening, an awakening and a transformation that we want to do well by doing good. We want to make better choices that are healthier and more sustainable. I think that companies across all categories and sectors, including fashion, are now rethinking their models so when they come out the other side of this pandemic, they are sure to stay relevant in this next chapter of humanity.

I think sustainability is no longer about staying ahead; it is about not being left behind.


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