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Sustainability Specialist

A seasoned professional in sustainable fashion and conscious consumerism, Marina currently serves as Director of Strategic Partnerships at Earth Partner. She specializes in connecting brands with the socially and environmentally conscious consumer base, facilitating activations that drive the industry towards much-needed change. 

Contributor: Adam Katz Sinding

Tell us about the projects are you currently working on?

I’m super excited to be taking on the role of Sustainability Editor at a new magazine. On top of that, I’ve been working diligently to help raise awareness around The Fashion Act. This is a groundbreaking piece of legislation that holds companies accountable and levels the playing field for those already trying to do the right thing. If passed, it will establish New York as the global leader in thoughtful accountability for the fashion industry.

I also have an exciting project in the works alongside the Sean Connery Foundation, advocating for the protection of our oceans with a particular focus on coral reefs.

Was there a particular experience that helped shape your interest in a more sustainable fashion industry?

When I first began working in the fashion industry, I attended a lot of events. It was expected that you’d always show up wearing something new; never repeating the same outfit. I had borrowed a red suit from a brand, and I was going to attend an event they were hosting later in the week. They got in touch with me, asking if I would pick out something new to wear. I already had the red suit and liked how it looked, so I didn't pick a new outfit and told the brand I would re-wear it.  I didn’t think much of it until I showed up at the event.

Shortly after arriving, three separate people came up to me and called me out for wearing the same thing I’d already worn a week ago. I didn't know these people.  They were total strangers that individually came up to me, just to tell me that I had repeated an outfit. 

At the beginning, it struck me as bizarre, but I then felt embarrassed - as if I had done something wrong. Why did this matter so much to them? And what was wrong re-wearing something that was already in my closet?

It led me to deeply question the industry’s values and reassess how they aligned with my own, which ended up inspiring a huge turning point in my career. The red suit then became my uniform for the next two months, under my #OneDressToImpress campaign.

What opportunities (or challenges) have you observed in current discussions about sustainability? Have they changed over time? 

The beginning of my career in sustainability was challenging in several ways. As somebody who was part of the fashion industry, with a family deeply involved in it as well, I was going against the current to stand up for what I believed in. There wasn’t much support behind me, and it didn’t feel like there were many other people out there pushing for the same goal aimed at blending fashion and sustainability in meaningful ways.

Luckily, a lot has changed since then. Conscious practices in the fashion industry are becoming more and more mainstream, which is fantastic progress. However, on the flip side of that, I worry about sustainability being just another trend. This may pose a challenge because, by nature, trends come and go. To see the change we so greatly need, we need sustainable solutions that are embraced for the long term. I hope that will be the case – that this “trend” of sustainability is an opportunity to actualize these goals and truly transform our mindsets within the industry and as consumers.

The best way to ensure this? Keep conscious values at the forefront of our conversations, in and outside of fashion.

What sustainability initiatives do you anticipate transitioning from European fashion culture to the U.S.?

France is leading the way in Europe with its anti-waste laws. They are the first country to ban retailers from discarding or incinerating unsold stock, which is a huge problem across the board from fast fashion to luxury brands.

In December, the rest of the European Parliament and EU member states reached an agreement on similar legislation that’s set to go into effect within the next couple of years. This is part of a larger movement against throw-away culture that is so exciting to see. It supports a goal to make products longer lasting and easier to reuse, repair, and recycle; [thereby] reducing the consumption of resources such as energy and water. 

You see this reflected in the US as well, with The Fashion Act that is gaining momentum in New York.

That's great news! That said, do you believe the industry is evolving? 

Absolutely. Since I began working in “sustainable fashion” seven years ago,  you’d never see those two words in one sentence. They were completely different worlds. Now the phrase is used left and right, with big brands dedicating entire departments to sustainable development. This is fantastic to see and I hope it marks a true cultural shift toward more conscious values. 

We see more and more political action around these issues picking up pace, which is a great signal that true transformation is taking place.

With that in mind, the future looks bright. 

Connect with Marina on Instagram



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