By  on June 6, 2018

Three years ago, Mara Hoffman hit a wall. Her then 15-year-old business was in expansion mode, driven by the print-heavy, beach-y, bohemian contemporary that put her on the map yet with which she felt less and less in tune. “I had really grown out of it,” Hoffman recalled last week in her Fifth Avenue studio overlooking Madison Square Park. “It’s a really hard thing to do when you’re a brand, when people know you for this thing, but you’re not that thing anymore, but you’re making money from that thing. Buyers are counting on you for that thing, and the idea of changing people’s mind in an industry like this is kind of a challenging one.”

At the same time, Hoffman, partly pushed by considering the world that her young son would inherit, felt her personal ethics were increasingly at odds with the more, more, more nature of a conventional fashion business in terms of manufacturing, production and pollution. “I felt it would be impossible to change because we had really built this moving machine with all these parts based on systems that were tried and true,” she said. “They were working, and I didn’t have any idea as far as what it would mean to make my company less harmful, like what that even really entailed.”

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