As the forthcoming issue of E Magazine will undoubtedly dissect and debate, the very idea of eco-luxury or eco-fashion has long made many in the environmental movement uncomfortable. (Disclaimer: yes I know the new issue of E is on the newsstands, but it isnt posted yet online, and who has time to read things on actual paper these days?)
However, at the same time, there have long been those who have argued that it is the very act of taking green to the fabulous that will be the most successful catalyst for change. Those folks do have some good points:
A. Many people have been wandering around barefoot and in Birkenstocks (or Birkenstock-looking things) for millennia, asking others to avoid clubbing to death every other living thing, or piling their crap into mountains on the edge of town, threatening to engulf civilization in an avalanche of Sarah-Sylvia-Stout-Waste yet we still have ginormous SUVs, millions of people without clean water and an extinction crisis.
B. When wealthy people, who have cash to burn on things like, say, $100,000 outfits, buy green stuff, it will lower the cost of producing more eco-friendly stuff for everyone else.
C. Many believe that fashion has tremendous power to change the world, for better of for worse, in that it excites, it motivates, it titillates, and it generally gets people off their apathetic asses. Think Zapatista bandanas, blue and white headscarfs of a certain pattern, fascist dress uniforms or bell bottoms, day-glo and long hair.
The first thing I asked her is what's up with the flip-page format of the web-only magazine, since it doesn't seem to be indexed by Google yet (making it tough for searchers to find), and which personally I found hard to use on my laptop. I'm of the belief that websites shouldn't try to be like print (or feature films, for that matter), because they are a different medium. But Anna had some interesting thoughts.
"There are two reasons for the flip pages," she said. " I found that on the web a number of sites have great content, but the traditional format of websites I find very limiting. I think something had to be bigger to get attention from women, to get them to switch their lifestyle choices. I wanted to give more the feel of a magazine, to change how they view their media and get their entertainment. Plus, the images are so beautiful they lend themselves better to full view."
It's no question that many of the images in Coco Eco are striking. It's also true Anna has some real talent collaborating with her, from Beauty Editor Emma Pezzack of Futurenatural to up-and-coming models, artists and writers, a number of whom are emerging from LA's sunny green scene.
The 71-page maiden issue is no lightweight. In addition to glam green fashion spreads and relevant ads, it includes an accessible article on the Smart car, a profile of Planet Green's Darren Moore, an intro to Dr. Hauschka and natural skin care and more.
Anna shrugs off the suggestion that she consider a print edition. "People told me I could do recycled paper, but you know how much energy it takes to recycle and transport magazines?" she asked. "I am responsible with what I do with magazines when I'm done, but I can't be responsible for what everyone else does. We really wanted to keep this green, and this is a solution-based format."
She indicated that her team is currently looking into a variety of other possible digital platforms, and she hopes to make the content more searchable, and as user friendly as possible in the coming months (she plans to publish bimonthly). So it's likely Coco Eco will be taking shape and growing up organically, as most good projects do.
Anna says her main goal is to take the green lifestyle to the mainstream something we're very interested in here at TDG. She added, "Fashion is not curing cancer, so let's be real about that. It's fun, but we feel good when we look good. A lot of content is very aspirational: we aspire to beauty and to greatness. Fashion is a powerful medium for communication."
That's good news, because in many ways the planet needs all hands on deck.