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The Schmooze

Desert Chic And Sustainability At Mara Hoffman

Designer: Mara Hoffman
Date: Thursday, February 8, 2018
Location: Remote (literally)
Jewish? Sicilian and Jewish.

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about sustainability in the fashion industry, but few brands have absorbed the message as fully as Mara Hoffman. Her fall winter 2018 collection was made entirely out of low-waste and recycled fabrics.

In lieu of a show or presentation, Hoffman’s collection was presented in the form of a lookbook. Shot in the desert, the sparse vegetation and crumbled dust provided a muted background for bold colorblocking to really shine. There were flowing prairie dresses in virginal whites and loose layering in the form of soft suiting and long puffer coats. It was a small collection, showcasing a mere 27 looks, echoing Hoffman’s minimalist philosophy.

But is it truly minimalist?

Let’s be real here: Presenting a new fashion collection and calling it “sustainable” is pretty ironic. Hoffman isn’t some bold warrior on the front lines of creating sustainability — she, along with all other brands, are part of the problem, masking her consumerism in fruitless virtue signaling. Can any fashion be truly minimalist, and truly sustainable? After all, retail survives on consumerism alone, which is why presenting new collections every season is so vital to the lifeblood of apparel companies.

Hypocrisy aside, the Hoffman collection is beautiful, its imagery hopeful and even whimsical. Perhaps it’s not hypocrisy so much as a wish — that this collection is the physical embodiment of her vision for the future, that mainstream fashion will be rid of its excesses and become a sustainable, ethical industry.

Michelle Honig is the style writer at the Forward. Contact her at honig@forward.com. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

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