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NY Designer Honored for Environmentally Friendly Garments

New York Fashion Designer Mara Hoffman is known for creating bohemian, chic styles. But beyond just crafting fun, vibrant pieces in recent years, she’s focused her attention on sustainability. How the fabrics are dyed, the supply chain, and how she sources the fabric.

Hoffman told us that a few years ago, “I just really hit a wall with everything I was doing and felt that I no longer wanted to be contributing to an industry that was ultimately so harmful and that we needed to find a way to become different from becoming kinder and finding a new way of doing business.”

She decided to create her new bathing suit collection with fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. The material is called Repreve. It’s made by the company Unifi.

“Those bottles come to our facility in Reidsville, North Carolina, where the bottles are cleaned, and the labels are taken off, the caps are taken off, and it’s made into polyester flake. This flake is made into the polyester chip, and the chip is then heated, extruded, and spun into fiber.  The fiber then goes through a texturizing process. Then the thread that’s created goes to a mill where the mill room knits or weaves the thread into something like a sock, for example,” said Helen Sahi, Uifi’s VP of Corporate Sustainability.

The fabric is used by more than 50 brands. Hoffman says a lot of our thinking about fashion needs to change, saying, “We need to shift our buying habits to spending more on something that’s made better and wearing that thing over as opposed to the idea that her clothing is disposable.”

Another way Hoffman is promoting sustainability is with her motto wear more wash less.  “The idea around the washing is that we don’t need to be using this much water to tend to our clothes we can get more wear out of them we’ve been trying to just wash and wash everything, but we don’t need to we also preserve the quality and the integrity of the fabric by washing it less,” Hoffman said. During fashion week, we always hear about designers’ inspiration. For Hoffman, the motivation is simply a better future.

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