When we learned earlier this summer that Mara Hoffman was launching an activewear line, our first thought was, “what took so long?” After years of coveting her colourful swimwear and breezy ready-to-wear collection, it only seemed right that the bohemian designer tackle the ever-growing fitness space next. The truth is, Hoffman has thought about doing for some time—she just wanted to do it right. And it only takes a quick perusal of the beautifully patterned sports bras and leggings, cosy knit ponchos, and bright matching sets to know that they were well worth the wait.
For Hoffman, this newest venture isn’t just an extension of the collection that she has grown for 15 years—it’s an extension of her own life, in which wellness is king, inside and out. A quick introduction to the designer herself confirms that she is every bit the chill, free spirit that her designs embody. But how does she maintain that unflappable personality in an industry that moves at a breakneck pace? We wanted to find out.
Keep reading as Hoffman reveals how she stays calm in the face of chaos, her fashion week immunity essentials, and the amazingly fun way she stays active.
Why did you decide to go beyond your swimsuit and ready-to-wear lines and get into activewear?
Hoffman: It’s a category I’ve always really wanted to do. And it felt like a natural extension for us, as opposed to something that would just feel forced or not really fit the whole ethos of the brand. Because our swim business is such a prominent part of our brand, these girls that are buying swim are thinking about their bodies. Many of them are clearly participating in physical activity to some degree. I think it made sense to me, too: I was a dancer growing up and practiced yoga—I still practice yoga. For so many years, I have always existed in the physical space myself, so it was a natural place for me to create.
Why is being active really important to you personally?
Hoffman: It keeps me feeling sane. Right now I have a sprained ankle from surfing in March, and it’s totally bumming me out. It hasn’t healed, and I’m starting to get a little bit crazy. I don’t know—[staying active] keeps the self-love up in a way and translates into something way more emotional and mental.
Do you find it affects your work when you are more active?
Hoffman: Yes, definitely. It affects my whole life, how I look at myself, and how I feel about myself. When you feel good about yourself, everything you are putting out in the world is better than when you aren’t.
What are your favorite ways to stay active?
Hoffman: I like to dance a lot. I have a 4-year-old, and we have impromptu dance parties at the house just to release steam and work it out. And I feel like instilling that in him and doing it together [is important]—that you can always dance and turn down the lights, and pump up the music. We kind of lose our minds as a family, which is rad. I also walk a lot and just go to yoga whenever I can.
How long have you practiced yoga?
Hoffman: Probably 15 years—a long time.
Are there any fit women you look up to and who you feel most represent your new line?
Hoffman: Definitely. Our campaign video starred Juliette Lewis, and she’s definitely such a great representation of physicality to me. It’s that combination of physicality as well as spirit, and how she lives through her body so much. Whether she is performing in her band and kind of losing her mind, or devoting herself to her workout routines, she represents that energy to me for sure. We seek out girls like this, and I think by expanding into activewear, we have connected to a lot of these women. Because of social media, too—you can just connect to people so much more easily and see what people are up to. Like the Chin Twins, the identical twin mamas, who I have known forever and are friends of mine. They are beautiful and are doing beautiful, positive stuff out there. And Sjana is super beautiful—her feed is @sjanaelise, and I’ve photographed her before. It’s cool, and people reach out. I think that there is a certain girl we already speak to through our ready-to-wear and swim, and we are just kind of expanding our reach and giving them more opportunities to wear Mara Hoffman.