Mara Hoffman, the contemporary sportswear designer, is getting into the retail game.
After 21 years in business, Hoffman has decided to open her own retail store at 183 Lafayette Street in New York’s SoHo, adjacent to her showroom on Centre Street.
The shop will open with the pre-spring 2022 collection. Hoffman’s brand is known for focusing on sustainable materials, processes and production.
The store, which has been envisioned by Hoffman herself, is centered around her affinity for plants, realized through an ongoing collaboration with landscape designer Kari Elwell-Katzander of Mingo Designs. Other design features in the 1,600-square-foot space are a custom fabricated wooden frame mirror draped in palm fibers created by botanical sculptor Lutfi Janania of Rosalia. Lighting fixtures were sourced by the Noguchi Museum.
“We love the neighborhood, our headquarters are around the corner and we knew we wanted our store to be an extension of our home base,” said Hoffman.
The designer approached the store design as if she were furnishing a home. The result is more emotional and sensory than sleek and polished, and she’s looking to create a welcoming space.
The store will serve as a place to fulfill her brand philosophy including Full Circle, a circular marketplace initiative, as well as provide a platform for creatives and makers. In partnership with Studio Archive Project, owner Lisha Bai will be selecting a rotating series of works from the archives of established artists to be on display and available for purchase. The first artist is New York-based Elisa Soliven, a ceramicist and sculptor, who reimagines traditional vessel forms in clay and embedded ceramic. Hoffman also plans to lend the space to arts and social justice groups, a practice that took place pre-pandemic at the showroom.
All of Hoffman’s collections, including extended size styles, will be carried in the store. Future store exclusives include robes crafted from leftover fabrics from previous collections.
Asked if she’s planning more stores in the future, Hoffman said: “Currently we are existing in the present but always open to future opportunities.”
Hoffman said she expects the store to account for 10 percent of the company’s total business.
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