Now that Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim is over, we’re left to sort out all of the trends and runway rubble that determines the 2015 swimwear season. Despite being a hectic time in the industry, there are a few take-aways that we are dying to discuss, like for example how Mara Hoffman Swimwear was again, the talk of the town. Not only was the designer’s runway show absolutely stuffed to the brim with fashionistas, celebs, and style-enthusiasts, but the collection itself was amazing as always. So, we wanted to delve a bit deeper into who the designer behind these tribal chic, aztec-bohemian looks. When you think of the designer Mara Hoffman, what comes to mind first?
Feel good colors. Mara Hoffman is known as a designer who uses the brightest colors and pattern work that just oozes happiness and warmth. Stephanie Kennedy, a buyer at Revolve.com notes that it’s simply “feel good fashion”. As a fashion forward woman, why wouldn’t you want to wear a kaleidoscope of warm colors that will gain positive attention and bring out a level of positivity that you may not find with other brands.
It’s no surprise that Mara Hoffman grew up in New York, one of the mecca’s in design and cutting-edge fashion. Hoffman attended Parsons School of Design, one of the most prestigious design schools in the country. Hoffman started making hand-dyed pieces and selling them to consignment stores and shops to pay the bills over a decade ago. It was then that Hoffman got her big break when she was discovered by a “Sex and the City” costume designer who eventually placed a $5,000 order. After that twist of fate, Hoffman knew she had something, so she began selling pieces store-to-store, at times modelling the pieces herself.
Hoffman launched her collection, then called Circle, during New York Fashion Week in 2000, staging a drum circle instead of a runway show. It was this definitive break from the norm that garnered the attention of critics and other designers, who realized Mara Hoffman was a force to be reckoned with. She’s far from ordinary and colors outside of the fashion lines often.
After orders began streaming in from the 2000 show, Hoffman knew she needed to make adjustments to her hand-made designs. Hoffman said in an interview with LA Times, “”I realized there had to be an evolution if I was going to grow. I couldn’t keep hand-dyeing batiks and picking the wax bits out with my fingernails.”
So, she decided to switch gears and developed a brand new focus in spring 2006 that focused on a new design concept: prints. “I stretched silk across a wood frame and hand-painted big green waves,” she recalled of her first print. This concept was soon imitated by many designers and retailers. Fast forward from hand-painted prints to computer designed geometric prints, Hoffman soon discovered this was her brand.
It wasn’t until 2008 that Mara Hoffman ventured into the swimwear scene. It was there that she became one of the biggest designers in the game, revolutionizing ethnic print swimwear, which soon became her signature. Switching to the swimsuit scene was a huge boost for Hoffman. She said about the move, “Ready-to-wear is a hard, super-saturated business with a lot of talented people making clothes. Swim gave me an opportunity to say something that not a lot of people were saying yet.”
Hoffman has a very whimsical take on her swimwear collections, with printed flutter tops and maxi dresses and cover ups, she became a quick trend setter in the swim industry. Celebrities like Jessica Simpson, Vanessa Hudgens, and even the infamous Kardashian family have been seen rocking a piece or two from Mara Hoffman’s swimsuit collection. The swimwear is so versatile, Hudgens even transformed the underwire top into a festival piece at Coachella Music Festival this past April.
Hoffman went on to describe how her two lines, ready-to-wear and swim became mutually exclusive with each other. “Swim helped define me and helped me create an identity for my ready-to-wear,” says Hoffman. “It was like, OK, I know this girl, I understand her now that I know what she’s wearing to the beach. The two collections hold hands. They are always talking to each other and inspiring each other.”
Sounds like a designer who is in tune with her audience. Check out our favorites from the Mara Hoffman 2015 swimwear collection, and all the behind-the-scenes action from Swim Week in Miami.