In 1990, I co-founded "The Institute for Integrative Nutrition"—now the world's leading "health coach" certification program. I then opened the first AVEDA concept salon with the founder of AVEDA and discovered that there was a missing link in the wellness equation when it came to fiber, fashion, and textiles. In 1995, I coined and trademarked the term “ECOfashion," and founded "Under the Canopy"—one of the world's first sustainable fashion and home brands. After launching UTC as a mail-order lifestyle catalog, I then wrote the business plan for Whole Foods Market to connect the dots from food to fiber with a 2000 sq-foot Under the Canopy store-in-store. Over the decade to follow, I spearheaded first time organic/sustainable textile initiatives with countless major retailers, including Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Macy's, to just name a few. In 2016, I co-created a consulting agency with my husband called BeyondBrands where we've launched a wide array of organic/natural food and beverage brands including leading plant-based seafood brand, Good Catch, and regenerative organic chocolate brand GoodSam. On a parallel path, I produced a documentary film series with Amber Valletta called "Driving Fashion Forward," and wrote my first book— “ecoRenaissance: A Lifestyle Guide for Cocreating a Stylish, Sexy, and Sustainable World,''—published by Simon & Schuster in 2018. In 2019, I Founded ecofashionCORP, a "Greenhouse of Brands"—including MetaWear, the engine of our company and “Intel inside” of sustainable fashion—with its turnkey "source to story" white label apparel and home textile manufacturing platform. With an office in India and team on the ground, we also co-created the first organic, regenerative and biodynamic cotton farm project partnership in the world. EFC also has three of our own in-house lifestyle brands including Farm to Home and Seed to Style on QVC—affordable, size-inclusive and organic bed, bath and apparel. And, our newest baby is called YesAnd—YES style, quality, fit, color, price...AND certified organic, ethically-made, circular, low-impact dyed and fair trade. Today's modern consumer is demanding transparency, authenticity and accountability, and YesAnd is paving the way on fiber and material innovation (stay tuned for banana), resale (check out "YesAnd Repeat",) as well as blockchain/QR-code traceability from farm to finished fashion. And we are just getting started!
Sustainability and clean beauty start with products (and services) that are ethically-made and free of harmful toxins that deplete, destroy, pollute and poison. We have to move away from a linear mindset/economy into a Cradle-to-Cradle circular mindset/economy—where what we take from the earth, we give back to the earth. We need to support social, environmental and climate justice, in support of native wisdom: "we don't inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." It's “game on” now with climate change, so it's not even about sustaining anymore, but instead about regenerating, especially when it comes to soil health, circularity and our planet's vital ecosystems. We have a symbiotic relationship with our earth, and need to remember to "love our mother" and treat her with kindness and respect.
While ONDA is of course focused on clean beauty, we embrace an all-around healthy, clean, and holistic way of living. In addition to purchasing sustainable goods, whether they be clothing, food, or personal care products, how else can we do both our bodies and our planet more good?
Definitely certified organic and/or regenerative. These concepts are not marketing propositions, but instead, true methodologies around building soil health, and ultimately, humanity’s existence, since we depend on our planet’s ecosystems to survive and thrive. “Organic” is governed by the USDA (United States Dept of Agriculture) and whether you are talking about food, beauty, or fiber, all of these sectors follow the same certified organic protocols that the agricultural crop is free of pesticides, GMO seeds, insecticides, harmful chemicals, and in the case of fashion, no chlorine bleach, no formaldehyde, no acetone, and no heavy metals. I was on the team of people that developed GOTS (the Global Organic Textile Standard)—the platinum certification for finished organic textiles. Of course, all of our EFC textiles (YesAnd, Seed to Style, Farm to Home, MetaWear) are made with certified organic fiber (and other preferred fibers such as Tencel Lyocell, aka ECOlyptus), and are certified to GOTS. Products (especially fashion) are powerful vehicles for transformation.
We asked our July ONDA Insider, Sophia Li, this question and would love to hear your take as well: what would you say to someone who asks: "I'm just one person, what difference can I make?"