Q & A with Rachel Sarnoff of EcoStiletto: Environista Talks Smart and Sexy Secrets to Sustainable Style
Rachel Sarnoff, the founder of EcoStiletto, is the connoisseur of cool when it comes to eco-fashion and style. As a small-screen environista, she has guested on eco-lifestyle Extra, Hollywood Green, Good Day L.A., and The Fashion Team segments.
Sarnoff spent 10 years as a magazine reporter and editor and holds an MA in journalism from USC, and has edited or contributed to numerous publications including Self and Women's Wear Daily, among others. A mother of three, Rachel reduces, reuses, and recycles with her family in Los Angeles.
MindBodyGreen: Favorite green designers?
MBG: What advice would you give someone who wants to start dressing greener but doesn't know where to start?
RS: A great place to start is the vintage store. For me, buying new is challenging because I'm always trying to make sure that the fabrics and manufacturing are sustainable. But vintage shopping is a free pass! Because you're reusing and recycling, you're reducing your impact, so even if you opt for 1970s polyester (as if), you're still buying green.
MBG: What new designers are out there doing great things that we probably don't know about yet—but that we should know about?
RS: Casey Larkin's Mr. Larkin line is always surprising. She just showed at the Green Shows in New York, and people went crazy for her stuff. Last year's collection included this amazing material made from—are you sitting down?—milk. And she always considers the environmental impact of her designs.
Elizabeth Olsen makes a line of vegan shoes called olsen Haus that are drop-dead gorgeous. We gave away two pairs of her stilettos in our monthly shoe giveaway earlier this year, and everyone was drooling over them. She really proves that you don't have to use leather to make amazing, gorgeous, luxurious accessories.
MBG: Any predictions for green fashion in 2010?
RS: I really think vegan is a HUGE trend. A lot of environistas are looking to take it to the next level, and veganism is it.
MBG: What does mind/body/green wellness mean to you?
RS: For me, this whole thing has been about consciousness. I feel better when I act sustainably. Being conscious of my purchasing decisions has made me not only less guilty about buying, it's saved me money, too!
MBG: How has having a child influenced your beliefs about the importance of being green?
RS: I have three children, and each has broadened my understanding. With my son, I started eating organic. With my daughter, I stopped using toxic cleaning products. But it wasn't until I was pregnant with my third that I kind of put all the pieces together and started looking at sustainability in a unified way.
MBG: Who are some of your favorite green celebrities?
RS: There are so many! I really think celebrities are starting understand how to use their influence for good. Leonardo DiCaprio and Adrian Grenier, especially, are really on the front lines—it's awesome. Each month in my EcoCelebrity profile, I find out something really amazing about the person I'm talking to. A good example is Alicia Silverstone, whom most people associate with Clueless. I interviewed her this month, and she was just so smart and committed—I'm just incredibly impressed with everything she's doing. Oh and P.S.? We're giving away one of the new hemp makeup bags that she designed for EcoTools each week through December, as part of our new membership program.
MBG: Do you have a favorite eco-resort or green getaway?
RS: My backyard?
MBG: What's in your fridge?
RS: Organic fingerling potatoes from the Saturday farmer's market and not much else. (It's Friday.)
MBG: Do you have any favorite books?
RS: A life-changer was Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It's about how she and her family only ate food that they raised—or that was raised by someone they knew—for a year. And I have to give a shout-out to my friend Anna Getty, who just gave me a preview copy of her book I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas. It's such an inspiring book—it shows you how to create a traditional holiday for very little money, which just happens to be sustainable, too!
MBG: Guilty indulgence?
RS: Ani Phyo's raw food chocolate cake. I made it for the first time for a video I did with her. She swears you can eat it every day and not get fat. I'm putting that theory to the test!
MBG: If it was your Last Supper, what would your last meal be? Where would the meal be? Who would you like to be there (past/present/future)?
RS: My husband. My kids. My dad. Side-by-side hammocks on the beach in Tahiti. Salty chocolate ice cream made by my friend Kevin Appel and nothing else. Death by chocolate surrounded by your family in paradise. What could be better?
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