Mara Hoffman wanted to be a maker at the age of 9. After she moved from upstate New York to Manhattan and attended Parsons School of Design, she then launched her eponymous label in 2000. She told BURU, “The fabrics were all hand-dyed batik and I did everything myself from start to finish. Some of my favorite memories are from when I was first getting started. I had to be industrious and make things out of nothing – I was forced to be more creative. That youthful tenacity and fearlessness is what ultimately gave me the drive to build my business.”
She made custom pieces for stylist friends. Patricia Field, stylist for Sex & the City bought some of her pieces at a consignment store and she sent assistants back for more.
Expressive, bold and inspired by Mara’s travels, her clothing line includes ready to wear, Swimwear, Kids, Bridal and activewear. It is an eco-friendly company, using organic and sustainable materials, like Tencel Modal. Her patterns are printed digitally, reducing water water waste. And packaging is all compostable.
“I feel constantly in conflict,” she says to Coveteur magazine. “No matter how much effort we put into every aspect of our process, we’re still manufacturing new, and we’re still creating more things when our earth is begging for no more things because there’s no more room. But the way I can sleep and continue to show up at my office and employ the incredible people we employ, is that there’s such a web of human beings who depend on this.” Plus, as a lifelong lover of fashion in the position that she’s in, she doesn’t take her job lightly. “I have a huge responsibility,” she says, “a responsibility to make people feel good, feel their greatest, feel beautiful.”
I really love the strides she has made in producing a fashion label with sustainable habits. And it isn’t at the cost of great fashion! Her bohemian designs are beautiful. She was even the first recipient of Unifi’s “Leading the Change” award in March 2019. Mara sells online and in boutiques like Saks Fifth Ave, Nordstrom and Anthropologie. She opened her first store late last year in downtown NYC.
She has to have coffee & green juice from Gregory’s near her studio. Mara lives with her husband and son in Brooklyn, with their dog Gypsy.
Photos courtesy of Anderson Hopkins, Haute Living and Vogue