INTERVIEW WITH AGB FOUNDER
This winter while going through archives I found this lovely interview by Nerida Lennon.
I decided to repost it on the newly redesigned website because I realized I don’t share enough info about myself, and for Nerida because she’s such a great role model as an activist and influencer.
An interview by Nerida Lennon
A GREEN BEAUTY FOCUSES ON CULTURE, HEALTH, FASHION AND BEAUTY THAT IS MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE.
Since 2009 - when I began working to raise the profile of environmental and social responsibility in the fashion industry - I have uncovered many independent magazines also dedicated to this mission. Recently there has been a resurgence of fresh independent magazines promoting a more environmentally and socially responsible lifestyle. One magazine named A Green Beauty (AGB) caught my attention because it was founded by a hair and makeup artist with 20 years experience working in the fashion industry.
What I most liked about AGB was the quality of photographic editorial which I attribute to Founder and Editor-in-Chief Mara Schiavetti and her extensive career as a hair and makeup artist working with top models, photographers and stylists to create high-fashion images for leading magazines (e.g. Harper's Bazaar) and brands (e.g. Armani, Hermes and Gucci). Intrigued to learn more about Mara and her journey in creating AGB I followed up with an interview which I've summarized for you below.
While Mara currently makes a concerted effort to live a more environmentally and socially responsible lifestyle in NYC - such as taking her compost to a farmers market collection service and repurposing old garments into new ones - I wanted to know where her awareness and commitment first began. Born in Melbourne, Australia Mara was influenced by her extensive family who immigrated from Italy during the 1950's and have always valued local, organic food and a do-it-yourself (DIY) lifestyle:
"We had chickens running around the back yard, an organic vegetable garden; some of our relatives even had mini vineyards. Growing up my dad made his own wine, beer, tomato sauce and Grappa."
By the age of 18 Mara was fascinated by holistic approaches to health and had committed to becoming a vegetarian. Around this time she also began hairdressing and created a line of organic shea butter and essential oil based hair and body products. The next big challenge for Mara was to substitute all her regular hair and makeup products with non-toxic equivalents and in 2009 she had successfully created what she calls a "green kit".
Mara began sharing her journey via AGB blog, which transformed into a print magazine during 2014. Her mission has always been to inspire readers to live a socially conscious lifestyle by providing reliable information on socially conscious brands and companies. "Conscious" is a word with many definitions, so I asked Mara what social and environmental responsibility means to her when considering the fashion and beauty industries:
"Ethics is at the top of my list. Making sure that the worker is supported and looked after with fair wages, or giving them the right tools and education to improve their skills."
Transparency of information regarding production of products is also important to Mara, as is the potential of zero-waste design, upcycled plastic, and organic, farm-to-fabric materials. In her journey in creating AGB, Mara has witnessed an increase in consumer awareness and believes that "shoppers are moving away from fast fashion and moving towards artisan made". But her main source of inspiration comes from sharing the stories of young designers, artists and creators who are taking the road less travelled to be more environmentally and socially responsible.
As you can see by the photograph below, the beauty editorial in AGB is also divine, owing to Mara's extensive experience in makeup and hair styling. While Mara was greening her kit, the market for more environmentally and socially responsible beauty and cosmetics was exploding. But it wasn't easy to identify the brands that were more environmentally and socially responsible says Mara:
"A lot of the [beauty] brands were...claiming 'green' values, only they still contained some dodgy ingredients. That's when AGB rolled up its sleeves and got busy promoting the 'good' brands."
After learning more about Mara's life and values I can see why AGB magazine demonstrates an awareness of both ethical and aesthetic sensibilities. No doubt these attributes are why the magazine is already being stocked by US food chain Whole Foods Market and sold in 600 stores across the US and online. I look forward to seeing more of Mara's work and A Green Beauty evolve.