SFFAMA: Tell us about yourself and what you do.

JLV: I am an eco-fashion designer, a writer, a sustainability and business consultant, a stylist, an artist and a social entrepreneur.What I do: Founder, Editor-in-Chief of The Green Stylist (www.thegreenstylist.com), a website that empowers consumers to vote with their dollars to push sustainable fashion and beauty mainstream. We write about the very best sustainable fashion and beauty products in the market and offer deals through our website and Facebook page.

SFFAMA: Why is eco-fashion important?

JLV: This is SUCH an important question - thanks for asking! The fashion and textile industry operates in a global economy and touches the far corners of our planet. It is a giant manufacturing industry that does not support local trade, social and environmental justice, not because it doesn’t want to, but because there is little transparency and accountability along the supply chain from cotton crop to our cotton t-shirts. Governments offer little help to regulate the system because it is just so complicated to understand and track.

The shoes you are wearing right now, for example, could have been made from cotton grown in India - with the use of pesticides and herbicides that pollute water streams and drinking water - the cotton could be transported to a Chinese factory to be dyed and made into cloth, the rubber soles could be from another continent entirely, and everything could be put together in China in a factory where workers are not paid a livable wage. Then, the shoes are packaged with non-recycled cardboard boxes and plastic film for protection and shipped to Western Countries for consumption. At the end of the whole process, the shoes are discarded when we’ve grown tired of them in a few years, seasons and sometimes in a few short months.