by Amanda Harvey
Last month we introduced you to Marci Zaroff, an environmental pioneer and creator of the term ECOfashion. We discussed her background in business and how she founded her own eco-conscious fashion company after she realized this was something the world desperately needed.
“Under the Canopy will be celebrating its 20th birthday next year, and it’s like a journey of a thousand miles,” said Zaroff. “This year has been a breakout year and a tipping point for the whole sustainable fashion and beauty movement.”
Under the Canopy recently formed a partnership with Bed Bath & Beyond to sell their organic cotton bed sheets and linens in stores and online. The innovative minds at Under the Canopy are also in the process of getting their organic cotton sheets, towels and robes launched into resorts and hotels, along with creating eco-friendly toiletries which will be featured in Wyndham hotels across the globe. Along with that, they’re rolling out new styles for their clothing line. Also on the horizon is a chemical-free fragrance collection that will launch in 2016.
So, what’s with the name Under the Canopy? “The canopy is the top layer of the rainforest, and there is more life living under the canopy than anywhere on the planet. We depend on that life and oxygen for survival,” explained Zaroff.
Marci is an environmental steward who wants to share with the world why organic cotton is the key for the textile industry to move forward. “About 90 percent of the cotton around the world is genetically modified, and we are really risking the integrity and survival of the species, which is horrific,” stated Zaroff. She explains the phenomenon known as the “pesticide treadmill,” where farmers believe they are bettering the crop but ultimately end up destroying the ecosystem along with the vitality of the plants. “This depletes soil and sucks the life out of it,” she continued.
The 2013 Rana Plaza accident in Bangladesh was a catalyst for change in the textile industry, said Marci. A six-story factory collapsed after cracks in the foundation of the building were discovered. Other employees were evacuated, but the garment workers were forced to continue working. More than 3,000 people were in the building when it collapsed, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths. This boils down to the problem of overworked textile employees and the fact that many people do not know where their clothing comes from or the conditions under which it is made. “My personal mission is to revolutionize the fashion industry through inspiration and education, innovation and collaboration, and help shift the paradigm,” said Zaroff.
When she first envisioned the concept of ECOfashion, Marci received tremendous resistance. But now, with the rise of conscious consumers and sustainable practices gaining momentum, Zaroff is seeing her efforts pay off. “I feel very proud that I stuck to my gut,” she said. “I really believe that this was an essential industry shift and we couldn’t go on the way it was. I feel very proud that I was a part of this movement.”
“Deep down, everybody wants to be a part of good. Everybody wants to make a difference in this world,” said Zaroff. “You have to make it easy for people because life is overwhelming, and I think if you hold their hand, people start to realize that we are all in this together.” She said of her two millennial children: “I see myself passing my greatest passion to the next generation because it really is their future.” Marci’s example and the path she has paved in the textile industry is game changing and a true call to action: We’re all living under the canopy together, and we must work in tandem to achieve the common goal, which is the continued existence of a healthy planet.
To learn more about Under the Canopy, visit underthecanopy.com
To read part one of Marci’s story, go to greenlivingaz.com/marci