Check Mara Hoffman More Sustainability in Fashion

Mara Hoffman did not decide to create a brand. As an artist who started designing clothes in a New York studio, Hoffman simply loved to create. And what she created was an innovative and festive way of dressing through color, shape and sustainable principles. “I don’t even know if it was so conscious that I created a brand. Even the language of the brand only entered our lexicon after 10 years, [in] 2010,” Hoffman, who founded his eponymous Label in 2000 after graduating from the Parsons School of Design, told POPSUGAR. “Before that, I was a designer in my studio. It started with the manufacture of unique handmade pieces in my apartment after leaving school. I dyed by hand, went shopping: it was probably more an artistic experience than a clothing brand.”

But after a while, the former dancer turned her home Studio projects into a thriving clothing line, sold in richness retailers like Neiman Marcus and Net-A-Porter, as well as in the designer’s storefront in SoHo, New York. And she quickly built a celebrity fan base, including stars like Priyanka Chopra, Chrissy Teigen, Katy Perry and Beanie Feldstein.

Although the designer is no stranger to the changes and challenges of the fashion industry, Hoffman explained that her interest in creating sustainable clothing was at the forefront almost a decade after the creation of the brand. She attributes her sustainable style journey to changing times, changing conversations and increased awareness. “For the first 12 years of this experience, this language was not there. In the early 2000s, the word sustainability did not exist in these fashion walls. It wasn’t a conversation, it wasn’t on our Radar, it wasn’t our pain point. We were really still so much in the space of selfish design. Create what you love is there is no such responsibility,” she explained.

But in 2015, Hoffman decided to do what she calls “the big Transformation”.””This followed a few years, essentially a stronger awareness. [Sustainable] language crept into the fashion space very gently and easily, but it was definitely not a popular conversation,” she said. “I think I would try to push it back a little until it got so loud and buzzed so much that on an inner and spiritual level I was forced to change.”

Eight years after, the Hoffman brand is not only a household name, but the designer is proud to have made an impactful change by using sustainable materials, processes and production to extend the life cycle of a garment — ultimately to improve the environment around us. And she hopes that other designers will follow suit and continue to make sustainability a priority, especially given the impact of climate change on our daily lives. “I don’t know if people will lose interest in this [sustainability] issue when they see cities washed away or burned down,” she said. “It’s starting to get into people’s homes and backyards, and their life experience is changing. I can’t imagine that you won’t feel a deeper correlation with the experience. He’s speeding up right now. We thought he would be deported, and that’s the experience of the next generation, but that’s our experience.”

Read more about Hoffman’s journey with her eponymous line and what she thinks is the future of sustainable Fashion below.

How sustainability affects your design process

POPSUGAR: After adapting this sustainable vision of Fashion and Design, how did it affect your design process? Do you start with the materials you want to use or with the concept?

Mara Hoffman: Part of our design approach in our systems is a really narrowed fabric library. Every Season is really about being more creative with the same things. There are definitely tons of innovations that have happened in the last eight years, and there are incredible opportunities, but we really try to know everything and be really confident in everything we do. There is a much smaller selection. From this design point, we know again that we have six materials that we are working with, and this is where you start.

The design process is probably different from that of many rooms or many design houses. You have to be really creative with less, and I’m thinking about that too, maybe it’s not just what feels good. I want everything to be an answer to something. That doesn’t mean [a shirt] has to solve the climate crisis, but it doesn’t have to be just a frivolous addition.

It has to make sense, and it has to have a purpose within the range. I am very attached to the environmental and scientific parts of how we can do better as a material manufacturer, but there is also an emotional thing that happens at a lower level. I feel like my strong point about why I’m here is to help people feel better through an exchange of beauty and higher levels of emotion.

When building a basic wardrobe, you can wear over and over again

PS: one way people are trying to be a little more sustainable is to recycle, reuse and wear again. Do you have a design that you fall back on over and over again, or something in your current collection that you would just wear consistently all the time and that will always be versatile?

MH: Personally, I am a Uniformdresser. I’m wearing the same outfit I was in yesterday. I wear the same things all the time and I wear the same aesthetic all the time. It makes so much sense to me.

For the line, we have what we call our basic collection, and these are the styles that we execute again and again every Season. Ultimately, it’s about paying more attention to this part of the brand, because it’s really about giving people that basic wardrobe and helping to keep that idea of how we wear clothes, how often we wear clothes, and what it means to wear the same clothes

For me, This is the Top Adele. It’s made of hemp, it’s a white button at the bottom, and everyone in the office has this top. This is my favorite white button. You start to live there. Now we have our jeans: the Georgina jeans and the Monte pants. I want to make it easy for you to dress up and feel good about yourself — and have those uniform essentials that you are simply known for.

How she practices sustainability in her personal life

PS: In addition to practicing sustainability in your collections, how do you apply this mentality to your daily life?

MH: I have the richness of a whole clothing brand, so I don’t have to go out and buy clothes. I’m a big fan of Vintage, so when I go for other things, I love Vintage. [As for] my lifestyle, I’m a big fan of Metro North. I live in deep Harmony with nature, that’s really important. In addition, I believe that planetary balance restores a relationship with nature.

I am not saying this without acknowledging the immense privilege I have of being close to nature, because I understand that it is not only granted to each person. Unfortunately, being able to hang out with trees is something that comes with a certain degree of privilege. It should be our birthright as human beings to be connected. If we had built our systems and our society in a more equitable way and not the way we did, our planet would also be in a very different situation.

Beyond sustainable Fashion that goes beyond a trend

PS: do you think this is something that will last, and go beyond just one… I datest to say the word trend, but do you think this movement towards sustainability is itself sustainable?

MH: I don’t see any other way out. It must be. I’m having a hard time answering this because I’ve been focusing on the same thing for so long. I don’t know if people will lose interest in this topic [sustainability] by seeing cities washed away or burned down. It’s starting to get into people’s homes and backyards and their life experience is changing. I can’t imagine that you won’t feel a deeper correlation with the experience. He’s speeding up right now. We thought he would be deported, and that’s the experience of the next generation, but that’s our experience.

Let’s take the trend of consciousness. Let’s take the trend of awareness, care and Transformation. You can continue to see this from us. It would be really cool to see this from other people, and I hope this is a trend that remains.

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