Mara Hoffman: Where Fashion Meets Feminism
With International Women’s Day right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to highlight the work of New York designer, #sheboss and women’s empowerment supporter, Mara Hoffman. Growing up in a woman-dominated household (Hoffman has nine close female cousins) it’s no wonder her privately owned, eponymous label employs mostly women (28 with one man). Or that her recent AW17 New York Fashion Week show opened with the four organizers of the Women’s March on Washington: Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, and Bob Bland, speaking to women’s strength, unity, and LOVE. The intention was, shares Hoffman,
“To stand in solidarity with women worldwide and convey that the industry can live at a cross section of fashion, politics and activism in the name of social justice and human rights.”
Hoffman strongly believes in mindful and conscious practices, which are at the crux of the company’s everyday ethos. And for those that haven’t been watching, since 2015, Hoffman has put sustainability center stage to make changes from manufacturing to design in order to reduce impact, generate awareness, and rally her customers to make responsible decisions.
Those ready for spring, will find the SS17 collection incorporating organic cotton, organic linen, Lenzing produced rayon, Tencel, or Modal (known for elevated processing practices), digital printing to reduce water and energy wastage and to incorporate fabric made by artisans in India.
Adding activism to her list, Hoffman worked with social advocacy group Art Not War, to bring together a mix of 25 feminists, activists, and artists dedicated to defending, promoting, and organizing in the name of justice, equality, love, and community for the spring campaign.
Amber Mahoney shot portraits of each individual over the course of a five day shoot in New York, using film and natural light to capture the participants in an authentic air suited to both their inherently powerful presences and Hoffman’s Spring 2017 collection.
Representing diverse ages, backgrounds, and aesthetics, each individual is doing inspiring work in the social justice or art space spanning across issues such as domestic violence, human trafficking, reproductive rights, civil rights, queer rights, self care, and policy change.
We started this project with Art Not War back in August and since then the importance of giving these women even more of a spotlight just got louder and louder for me. I really came to understand just how important it is for us, as creatives, to join together and lend ourselves to those doing the on-the-ground work in the name of women. This group of people are contributing and putting themselves on the line for my rights and the rights of others, and this project was my way to thank them for their courage and their hope, especially in the times we are facing right now.
Adds Laura Dawn of ART NOT WAR,
ART NOT WAR was honored to work with Mara Hoffman. This is the first time we’ve ever worked with any for profit group as we’re devoted to social justice issues, but it was an easy decision to partner with Mara on this. Her devotion to women’s rights, to equitable pay, to making sure her sourcing is sound–these are all tenets of conscious capitalism that we support. We want more women-led industry paving new pathways with new bottom lines and Mara Hoffman is an industry leader on this. Also, as ART NOT WAR is also a small company led by diverse women, we just straight up love her clothes. We hope this rare partnership helps us all dig into deep conversations about how women might reinvent how businesses are run.