Musings Q&A series interviews people who lead by example, waking us up to our own potential to make the world a more balanced place.

At an early age, Marci Zaroff took up a clean-eating, clean-living lifestyle—so maybe it’s not surprising that the first thing she did after graduating from UC Berkley’s Hass School of Business was to co-found The Institute of Integrative Health. When she recognized that the clothing industry was responsible for some of the worst transgressions against our planet, Zaroff turned her attention to the cause. She coined the term “ECOfashion” in 1996 and went on to become an internationally-acclaimed ecostyle entrepreneur, speaker, and social activist.

Amongst her many ventures is MetaWear, the first sustainable style GOTS-certified and Cradle to Cradle-certified turnkey manufacturer of organic clothing in America. She also played an integral role in establishing Fair Trade Textile Certification with Fair Trade USA. Here, ECOfashion’s true champion shares what she’s learned.

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“Who Made Your Clothes” via MetaWear

How did you first become interested in ECOFashion?

I’d been called “best dressed” in high school and was a fashionista with a passion for positive world change, but I realized there was a missing link in the wellness equation when it came to fiber, fashion, and textiles. I had an epiphany: you couldn’t really support one part of a conscious lifestyle without the other. I coined and trademarked the term ECOfashion with the mission to revolutionize the fashion industry through inspiration, education, innovation, and collaboration.

How has the fashion world shifted towards better standards, like certified organic materials, ethical production, and the use of renewable energy sources?

As the world’s largest polluter—second to coal—the fashion industry represents 10% of the planet’s carbon impact, 20% of fresh water pollution, over 5% of the earth’s landfills, and over 3 trillion gallons per year of fresh water usage. The internet has changed the game, as consumers can now pull the curtain back and ask: “Who made my clothes? Where are they being made? How are they being made? What’s in them?” ECOfashion is the future of fashion.

What inspires you to do the work you do?

As the world’s largest polluter—second to coal—the fashion industry represents 10% of the planet’s carbon impact, 20% of fresh water pollution, over 5% of the earth’s landfills, and over 3 trillion gallons per year of fresh water usage. The internet has changed the game, as consumers can now pull the curtain back and ask: “Who made my clothes? Where are they being made? How are they being made? What’s in them?” ECOfashion is the future of fashion.

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Beyond the Label Campaign via MetaWear

You’ve been fighting for the safety of our planet for decades.  Anything you’ve gleaned along the way you’d like to share with our readers?

The ultimate model is no compromise.We can have both value and values, and be both cool and conscious. By waking up and listening to your gut, you can experience a true state of harmony and wellness, while living the Golden Rule, as most of us are taught in both our early years and spiritual/religious endeavors. We must promote the convergence of government policy, consumer activism and business innovation as a key to moving us forward in this rebirth of popular culture and movement for positive change.