By: Audrey Stanton
Mara Hoffman is a New York City-based women’s clothing company founded in 2000. After 15 years in business, the brand realized they needed to make a change and moved towards more sustainable techniques. Since then the company has made it their top priority to provide complete transparency of their continuous improvement process. Along with sustainability, Mara Hoffman herself feels strongly about self-expression through color as well as the female empowerment. The brand invites an open conversation about how they create each piece of apparel, swimwear, and accessory.
Mara Hoffman chooses each material for their garments carefully. Without the use of animal by-products or toxic chemicals, the brand thoughtfully produces sustainably-minded items. From beginning fibers to final branding, the company makes conscious decisions about which materials they use.
- Fabrics – Mara Hoffman swimwear is made with 100% recycled nylon and polyester from ECONYL® and REPREVE® patented processes. Other clothing items contain natural fibers like hemp, linen, alpaca and organic cotton. The brand sources Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton and ethically produced alpaca from Peru. Lastly, the company incorporates Lenzing cellulosic fibers like TENCELTM Lyocell and Modal which are sustainably made and extremely soft!
- Dyes – Mara Hoffman team members ask all factories to use high-quality dyes and Oeko-Tex® 100 Standard. This type of certification means that raw materials are thoroughly tested to make sure there are no harmful chemicals used. The company also tests their materials against a ‘Restricted Substance List (RSL)’ from ‘Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals’. New harmful chemicals are constantly being discovered and therefore the list is constantly updated too.
- Packaging – Mara Hoffman also considers the impact of what they pack their clothes in when shipping to customers. Since 2016, the brand has used compostable plastic poly bags to keep their swimwear safe before it reaches customers. The company’s hang tags are made from 80% recycled paper and soy-based inks. In addition, their hang tag strings, along with all garment sew-in labels, consist of 100% organic cotton.
Mara Hoffman manufactures most of its Ready to Wear apparel in the USA within the garment district of New York City. However, the brand also works closely with factories in Peru, India, and China. Part of the factory selection process includes considering how close the facility is the raw materials being used. The company prioritizes lowering their carbon footprint and investing in communities which empower women. The team conducts in-person visits to factories routinely in order to make sure each one is maintaining high production standards. Mara Hoffman is passionate about partnering with suppliers which commit to providing a fair living wage, as well as a healthy and safe working conditions. Their transparent approach to business means that the brand has a full list of ‘Operating Guidelines’ outlined on its website.
Mara Hoffman enjoys talking about their efforts towards sustainability, though they also want to discuss how customers can participate. Clothing’s environmental impact doesn’t end when a garment reaches a customer’s door. The brand strongly believes in the mantra ‘Wear More, Wash Less’ because it matters how consumers care for clothing. On their site, the company explains best practices for eco-friendly washing, wearing, and disposal of garments. For example, Mara Hoffman has put in place a garment take-back program for pieces which are no longer being worn. It’s important to keep clothing out of landfills and admirable that the company is creating ways to do just that.