in her shoes podcast

Mara Hoffman Wants a Better Term for ‘Sustainable Fashion’

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Courtesy of Mara Hoffman

When Mara Hoffman created her eponymous brand in 2002, she didn’t know that “sustainable fashion” and “fast fashion” would one day become industry buzzwords people obsessed over. And more than a decade into her career, she realized that without employing sustainable practices, fashion could be toxic for the planet.

Hoffman was recently awarded the Environmental Sustainability Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and this week, she joins Cut editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples on the In Her Shoes podcast to talk about how she thinks about sustainability in fashion — though she admittedly doesn’t like the word “sustainability.” “We’re all fishing for something or trying to come up with a better word for it because the goal is not sustaining where we are. It’s really revolutionizing and transforming.”

Hoffman also shares her views on fast fashion, our constant “need for newness” and how, when it comes to shopping and clothes, perhaps we’ve “got the message wrong” and lost sight of what’s most important. “How do you take care of things in your life?” she asks. “How you take care of a shirt or an item probably resembles how you take care of a relationship or you take care of an emotion or an experience in your life. Do you throw it away? Do you get tired of it? Do you not work on it? Do you not try and mend it and repair it and know that it’s sacred and special?”

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The Cut

A weekly audio magazine exploring culture, style, sex, politics, and more.

Mara Hoffman Wants a Better Term for ‘Sustainable Fashion’