Color Me Mara

Best known for her technicolor swimwear and separates, fashion designer Mara Hoffman also has killer style. Her New York-based studio and office is just as cool as she is, from its rubber tree (a family heirloom), to its wall of original fabric print designs. Meet Mara, tour her office, and take a load off: you're going to want to stay a while.

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The designer in her New York City Office.
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Even if you don't know her name, we're willing to bet you've seen fashion designer Mara Hoffman's work. Her signature geometric prints adorn everything from swimwear to coats, and even furniture: see her past collaboration with Anthropologie. "My whole life I've been a maker," she says, "I've always expressed myself by making things." "By the time I was eight, I recognized the power of making someone feel beautiful through what they're wearing."

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The gateway to print heaven.

That need to create has translated into a mini-empire of fashion and swimwear, the fulcrum of which is Hoffman's studio in New York City's Flatiron district. And what a studio it is! Full of rugs, textiles, crystals, and plants, it's a perfect representation of Hoffman's aesthetic, as well as her interests. "I'm really inspired by indigenous people," she says, "and art, folk art, rugs, textiles from around the world—I'm so inspired by travel. When it was time to design our space, we never thought, Is it going to be sleek and modern, or is it going to be found and repurposed materials?" she explains. "It was obvious that this was what it would look like. Everything I do is a pretty good representation of who I am creatively."

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Prints on prints on prints, from past seasons.

Between prototypes of prints and samples of Hoffman's upcoming fall/winter '16 collection (in the interest of preserving the anticipation, we won't reveal the inspiration, but it's beautiful) are some purely personal touches. A rubber tree in the showroom belonged to Hoffman's grandmother, and in her office is a framed drawing by singer and artist Devendra Banhart, which was a personal gift after she sent him some clothing. But of all the sweet items and knickknacks, her favorite is a cardboard sign from her mother that says, "Mara my darling, trust your heart, I love you, Mom."

Mara's treasured sign from her mother, which hangs directly above her desk.

"That sign has really traveled with me," she explains. "About fourteen years ago, I was moving out of my apartment and in with a boyfriend, and my mom came to help me pack. She had to leave when I was away, so she left that sign on top of a box for me," she recalls. "It's so her, and I've been so blessed to have people in my life who have just rooted for me, and believed in me. My mom is like, 'Fuck yes, I believe in you through and through.' It's helped me really sink into my gut, and listen to myself and learn to trust myself." Something we could all probably use in our lives.

An oasis of plants and textiles.

For more on Mara, head to Mara's fall/winter 2016 presentation will take place on Saturday, February 13th. Watch our Snap story that day @WeAreSweet to see her new collection.

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