Mara Hoffman summoned fiber and climate enthusiasts for a light but spirited conversation at her Lafayette Street store.
It was the first time the contemporary designer hosted an industry conversation at her incense-scented, plant-filled showcase, which opened last year, as previous gatherings took a more intimate turn. for artists’ discussions by the fireside. The Climate Neutral certified brand has been a dedicated and vocal advocate in the sustainability community for several years, when Hoffman decided to pivot his company’s mission.
Dana Davis, Vice President of Sustainability at Mara Hoffman, moderated the session billed as a “Climate Friendly” panel that included Chantelle Davis, a new designer and founder of the Boe Davis label; Liz Alessi, a Brand Coach and Sustainability Consultant; Stacie Chavez, President of Imperial Yarn; and Laura Sansone, designer of the New York Textile Lab.
For many panelists, the chat was an opportunity to reflect on their careers and progress on sustainability. “For the first time in my entire career in fashion, I can say that I feel good about my job,” said Alessi, describing how easy it is to float ideas of sustainability – including the use of materials such as seaweed leather – straight to the top now. that she is something of an external sustainability consultant and is no longer part of Coach’s procurement department. In her case, she speaks directly to Coach’s creative director, Stuart Vevers. (Although the seaweed material is yet to be announced in Coach bags, it’s a preview of things to come, especially as Vevers puts circularity more at the center of the American brand).
While Coach isn’t perfect, the Tapestry-owned brand has pledged to source 90% of its leather from gold and silver rated leather tanneries by 2025, as well as continue leather regeneration.
Chantelle Davis, who founded the Boe Davis label, is also driven by a similar motivation. “I wanted to stop being so disinterested in clothes,” she said. “Polyester blended into everything has never really been to our benefit.” It is attached to natural fibers and domestic manufacturing.
During the discussion, New York Textile Lab founder Laura Sansone intended to communicate the importance of bioregional ecosystems, or fiber shed systems occurring within a 300-mile radius, which present limitations. and unique growth abilities.
For her, fibers present a “logic of growth” that allows new ideas to seep through and create value in the end product for the end user. But consumers need to know the special story behind it all. An example? “Tick leather,” as she noted, sounds questionable, but is actually the result of minor imperfections in skins (or farm life) affected by ticks. “Doesn’t that make it nuanced and special?” Doesn’t that connect him to the earth? asked Sansone.
But being special comes with a price shock, for now, until the system supports new projects such as “C4”, a cotton sourcing initiative from Reformation, Fibershed and more, that Stacie Chavez, President of Imperial Yarn and Partner of Fibershed mentioned. as she talked about why climate-beneficial products pay more in industry livelihoods.
For more than five years, climate-beneficial wool has been verified in the United States by Fibershed and sourced from land stewards who enhance carbon reduction through farming practices that replenish soil health. Mara Hoffman, for her part, uses wool for her knitwear.
“Are we more expensive? We are, but we pay our breeders more,” Chavez said. “Our breeders earn a premium for maintaining these carbon production plants. We are doing good work. The greatest compliment I have ever received is [when] one of my breeders called me and said, “You know, wool is on our financial statements now.” It has an impact. We actually made money on our yarn this year.