Entrepreneur Daniella Zakon developed an online marketplace for eco-friendly, locally sourced garments. Entrepreneur Daniella Zakon developed an online marketplace for eco-friendly, locally sourced garments. Entrepreneur Daniella Zakon developed an online marketplace for eco-friendly, locally sourced garments. (Photo: Erez Kaganovitz/Courtesy)

Now there's a one-stop marketplace for eco-friendly fashion

Marrakesh website gathers artisans and retailers from around the world focused on sustainability, ethics and natural materials.

From Texas to Israel to Marrakesh. It's not the most direct route to success, but for Daniella Zakon, it was the one that made the most sense.

Zakon, 27, is the founder of Marrakesh, an e-commerce site that's a one-stop shop for eco-friendly fashion. Her site pulls together retailers and artisans from all over the world that are committed to environmental consciousness, fair trade, cultural preservation, natural materials, zero waste and more.

It's similar to Etsy, Zakon says, but with a strict focus on sustainable and ethical goods. Retailers and customers alike can benefit from Marrakesh's focus on what Zakon calls "slow fashion," which means workers were not exploited, underpaid or mistreated.

For Zakon, who earned a master's degree from Tel Aviv University in Israel, landing on a career as an e-commerce entrepreneur was a bit of a departure from where she started. Before moving to Israel, the Texas native graduated with a bachelor's degree in marine biology and spent almost two years as an ecologist monitoring coral reefs in Thailand. So she's always had a passion for flora and fauna, but it wasn't until she started researching the effects of the textile industry on the environment that she realized she had a real winner on her hands.

Now, the site brings together five shops: Mdirektorbags, makers of 100% Merino wool purses; May 15, a handmade jewelry seller; Woodie, a sunglasses shop using natural materials; Wakuu, an African-inspired apparel shop; and the Madison Collection, a line of super-durable bathrobes. All of the shops are either headquartered in Israel or run by Israelis in the U.S. Zakon's hoping to add more shops soon.

These colorful bowties and suits are handmade by a group of women in Kibera. These colorful bowties and suits are handmade by a group of women in Kibera. (Photo: Marrakesh)

Buy a handmade bowtie from a workshop in Kibera, or a pair of sunnies sourced from 100% Canadian maple. Proceeds go right back into the hands of the workers and their surrounding economy.

"It is our dream to continue this mission for global equity through textiles and fashion," wrote Marrakesh's founders, Zakon and partner Richard Rubinstein. "With our global platform, we are empowering slow fashion makers everywhere, and by bringing all of the customers and brands who care to the same place, our initiatives become amplified. We are all united by the fabric on our back, and together we can make a difference."

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