Mara Hoffman founded her label in 2000 after graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York City. Fifteen years later, the brand committed itself to implementing more sustainable and responsible practices while remaining committed to presenting colorful collections inspired by and in celebration of women.
In an effort to foster mindful consumption habits,
the brand maintains an open conversation about its approach and encourages consumers to reevaluate the relationship society has with clothing.
The company continues to focus on sustainable materials, processes, and production in order to improve and extend each garment’s life, and is a vocal and active advocate in seeking racial and social justice for the sake of a more equitable society.
The aim is to design and manufacture our clothes with greater care, reduce our impact on the planet, generate awareness of the industry’s responsibility in climate justice, and ask our customers to join us in taking action while holding us accountable.
To produce a responsibly made product, we choose each material with intention and care. When sourcing for our designs, we prioritize natural, recycled, and organic fibers and do not use any fur, leather, mulesed sheep wool or feathers.
100% of our swimwear is produced using recycled nylon or recycled polyester.
Our solid swimwear is produced using ECONYL®, a 100% regenerated nylon fiber made from pre and post-consumer waste, like fishing nets, industrial plastic waste and fabric scraps. Using ECONYL® instead of sourcing new nylon allows us to recycle waste materials and give them a new life. Since 2017, our use of ECONYL® fabric has diverted over 17,767 lbs of waste from landfills, including 4,442 lbs of fishing nets.
Our textured swimwear is produced using REPREVE®, a polyester fiber made of 100% recycled plastic, comprised mostly of post-consumer plastic bottles. Compared to using conventional fibers, styles made using REPREVE® offset the use of new petroleum, emitting fewer greenhouse gases while conserving water and energy throughout the process.
We first introduced styles made using hemp with our Spring 2018 Ready to Wear collection. Considered to be one of the most environmentally friendly fabrics, hemp is naturally resistant to pests, requires relatively little water, and grows quickly. Hemp is a “sister plant,” meaning it replenishes the soil for the crops around it and is ideal for crop rotation. Hemp feels like a new linen, softening with each wash and wear.
We choose to use certified organic cotton fabric, which is grown without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers and requires less irrigation as it relies mainly on rainwater. We source only Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton fabric, widely recognized as the gold standard of sustainable processing for clothing and textiles.
Often found throughout our Ready to Wear collections, linen is a sustainable fiber made from the flax plant. A gentle crop that helps deter weeds from the plants around it, flax is typically grown without the use of herbicides or pesticides, and compared to cotton or polyester, requires less water and energy to produce. Linen transitions easily from season to season, keeps the body cool and gets softer with each wash and wear.
TENCEL™ Lyocell is a lyocell rayon fiber, created by converting dissolved wood pulp into versatile fiber using a low-toxicity solvent. During this process, 99.5% of chemicals are reused in a closed-loop system. TENCEL™ Lyocell is durable without feeling heavy – it has a gentle feel that moves well with the body.
Tencel™ with Refibra™
TENCEL™ with REFIBRA™ is a recycled fabric made from sustainably sourced wood pulp and pre-consumer cotton waste, promoting a circular clothing economy. In other words, waste from one process is reused in another to mitigate waste overall. TENCEL™ with REFIBRA™ is a flexible fabric that moves easily throughout each season, and it was first introduced to our fabric list with our Spring 2018 Ready to Wear collection.
TENCEL™ Modal is a brand of soft rayon made from Beechwood trees, grown mainly in Austria. As Beechwood trees grow, they naturally breed, eliminating the need for artificial irrigation and planting, thus resulting in a self-sustainable forest. The TENCEL™ Modal production process also recycles 95% of the production materials back into its manufacturing system.
TENCEL™ Luxe is a shiny filament yarn produced within Lenzing’s closed-loop lyocell production process (see above). Composed of natural materials derived from renewable sources, TENCEL™ Luxe is a newly innovated silk alternative that drapes naturally and keeps the body cool.
Our hang tags are made from 80% recycled paper and printed with soy-based inks. Even the hang tag strings, along with all garment sew-in labels, are made of 100% organic cotton.
The metal trims used in our designs are composed of partially recycled materials. When using buttons, we work to source styles made from the Corozo nut, a seed from the Tagua Palm, native to South America. The nuts are harvested only when they ripen and fall from the trees, producing 30-50 lbs of nuts annually and living for approximately one hundred years. We are also sourcing buttons partially made from recycled paper and recycled polyester.
Dyes and Chemicals
We ask that all of our factories use high quality dyes by brands such as Hunstman. When onboarding a new supplier, we look for partnerships that are Oeko-Tex® 100 Standard, meaning that raw materials will undergo testing to ensure that no harmful chemicals are used. We test our materials against a Restricted Substances List (RSL) based on the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals’ list. Our list is ever changing as we continue to learn more about the role and impact of certain chemicals.
In an effort to move away from traditional poly bags, which are challenging to recycle, take over landfills and take hundreds of years to breakdown, we launched glassine bags by Vela in February 2020. These bags are paper, fully recyclable, and are air, water and grease resistant.
Recycled Paper Mailer
In 2019, we transitioned all of our smaller shipments for web orders over to 100% recycled paper mailers. These mailers use at least 50% post-consumer recycled material and reduce out reliance on hard-to-recycle polymailers. For larger shipments, we use cardboard boxes, also containing recycled material.
Compostable Poly Bags
In 2016, we began shipping all swimwear in compostable plastic poly bags, sourced through TIPA. Trade regulations require that every item be packed in a bag, but choosing to use compostable bags instead of conventional plastic minimizes the negative impacts associated with using standard plastic. Our poly bags will decompose in a landfill much faster than standard plastic, and can be added to a home or industrial compost, where they’ll decompose within a matter of months.
We are so proud to partner with the below organizations—each one pushes us closer towards achieving our sustainability goals.
Blue Business Council
The Blue Business Council is a network of companies working to protect the vital coasts, oceans, bays, rivers, and streams that power our economy. As members, we pledge to support policies and practices that protect and preserve our planet’s water resources.
Canopy is an environmental organization that works with the forest industry’s biggest customers and their suppliers to develop business solutions that protect the world’s last frontier forests. We support ancient and endangered forests during fabric selection by committing to the CanopyStyle campaign.
Located on Governors Island just south of Manhattan, Earth Matter is a non-profit seeking to improve organic waste processing. Their team composts organic waste, turning food scraps into nutrient rich soil, and provides education and support to local communities. In 2019, we partnered with Earth Matter to compost the polybags used on all of our swimwear in an effort to divert solid waste from landfills. Our team also volunteers every summer with Earth Matter to build composts, farm the community garden and increase our knowledge around natural systems.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works with business, government and academia to build a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design. As members, we work with EMF to push forward the principals of the circular economy.
Fabscrap is a nonprofit in New York working to help divert textile waste from landfills. The organization picks up fabric scraps directly from offices, including ours, so that they may be sorted and reused or recycled appropriately. Since 2017, we have sent 3552 pounds of textile waste to Fabscrap.
Fashion Positive is a nonprofit initiative that empowers brands and manufacturers to challenge the traditional fashion business model in order to consider more environmentally and socially responsible factors such as toxicity and waste reduction, use of renewable energy, water conservation, and social fairness. As a member of the Fashion Positive PLUS Member Collaborative, we are committed to accelerating the development of Cradle To Cradle Certified™ materials that are free of harmful substances and primed for the circular economy.
Global Fashion Agenda
The GFA is an organization committed to mobilizing the international fashion industry to transform the way it produces and consumes fashion. We are signatories of their 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment to implement a garment collection and reuse/recycling program in order to move towards a closed-loop business model.
Nest is an artisan-focused nonprofit working to increase global workforce inclusivity, improve women’s wellbeing beyond factories, and preserve cultural traditions around the world. Serving on the Nest advisory board, Mara is personally committed to providing ongoing strategic council to both artisan and industry partners, as well as creating greater awareness of handwork’s crucial contribution to the fashion industry.
Organic Cotton Accelerator
The OCA is a multi-stakeholder initiative that identifies and funds new areas of development to increase organic cotton production. We joined the OCA Call for Collective Action and are committed to supporting this initiative to better ensure the continued growth, visibility, and sustainability of the organic cotton sector.
Queen of Raw
Queen of Raw is an online marketplace that brings innovative and sustainable textiles to the global sourcing supply chain by selling unused fabrics and buying high-end raw materials. We partner with the platform to resell leftover production and sample fabric yardage to help give it new life.
Responsible Packaging Movement
The Responsible Packaging Movement was launched in 2020 as a collective of brands working towards the reduction, and eventual elimination, of virgin plastic and non-FSC forest fibers within their packaging. Through this movement, brands can share best practices, learn what others have been successful with and work together to make industry-wide change.
Our goals include:
Eliminate the use of virgin plastic in our packaging by 2022.
Eliminate the use of any plastic packaging by 2023.
Prioritize paper packaging with high recycled content and remove any fiber sourced from ancient or endangered forests by 2025 within our primary, secondary and tertiary packaging.
Textile Exchange is a global non-profit working closely with members to drive industry change in preferred fibers, integrity and standards, and responsible supply chains. TE’s goal is to work with brands, suppliers, farmers and more to minimize the harmful impacts of the global textile industry while maximizing the positive effects. As members, we’re working to track and analyze our preferred fiber use, contributing to fiber-specific working groups and connecting with other brands and suppliers to move the industry forward.
The Renewal Workshop
The Renewal Workshop takes unwanted apparel and textiles and turns them into Renewed garments, upcycled materials, or recycling feedstock. To date, The Renewal Workshop has cumulatively diverted more than 78,000 total pounds of textile waste from landfills. Instead of discarding damaged Mara Hoffman garments, we send them to The Renewal Workshop to be inspected, cleaned, repaired and returned to us for resale. This partnership helps us increase the longevity of our garments. Since August 2018, we’ve sent 239 pounds of damaged Mara Hoffman garments to The Renewal Workshop for repair.