While the issue of sustainability may now be front and center in the minds of many in the fashion industry, we profile two of the designers on the New York show schedule who have been longstanding champions of sustainable practices.
Parsons School of Design graduate Mara Hoffman founded her label back in 2000, but this show season marked her sixth outing since committing her brand to implement more sustainable, ethical and responsible business practices.
Hoffman’s autumn/winter 2018 collection, which she showcased in New York last week via a lookbook she shot herself, was made entirely from low-waste and recycled fabrics. The designer now uses Tencel instead of silk, and has replaced jersey with Refibra, a new material made from cotton scraps left over from woodcutting operations. She has also found an alternative to traditional denim, which is associated with high water consumption, and is using hemp and organic-cotton denim – hemp requires little water to harvest and is natural and pesticide-free.
In addition to her efforts to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, Mara Hoffman is also keen to educate her customers about the benefits of buying fewer pieces and wearing them for longer. And her new collection was made up of the sort of timeless pieces that could quite easily form the foundation of many women's wardrobes.
Another New York-based designer who has been championing sustainable fabrics for seasons is Maria Cornejo, and her Zero + Maria Cornejo label, which has been predominantly produced in the city’s Garment District since its inception, uses ecological and sustainable fabrics wherever possible.
Among the fabric innovations for autumn/winter 2018, which she unveiled as part of her new collection yesterday, was an upcycled and regenerated material made from waste sites, which appeared as the waterproofing on a belted coat, and eco-cashmere, which was used to craft her loose-fitting sweaters.