There’s Something Special About This New Mara Hoffman Dress

HALIE LESAVAGE  October 17, 2023

It’s her first fully recyclable design, made through an innovative partnership with Circ


New York designer Mara Hoffman is debuting a dress today. But why is this newsworthy, you may ask? At first glance, it appears as if Hoffman has given us yet another covetable fashion item—floor-length with a gathered plunge-neckline bodice embellished by a fabric rosette, all done in a poppy shade of orange. It’s the kind of dress one wears to make an entrance, italics required, on a day to remember. But unlike other dresses made for a fall wedding or a gala, this one’s specialness runs through the actual threads and fine print on the tag. 

This gown is Hoffman’s first piece created in partnership with fashion technology company Circ, and it was designed using a lyocell fabric derived from 50 percent recycled textile waste. At the end of its life of black-tie dinners, nuptials, and other formal affairs, it can be sent back to Circ to be recycled into fabric for completely new garments.

The word special also applies to its extremely limited quantities: Only 35 dresses total were cut and sewn in Hoffman’s New York studio, and they’re sold in-person at her SoHo store only.

mara hoffman poses in her soho store with a fully circular dress


As the first-ever luxury garment made with Circ lyocell, this dress is meant to be cherished like a collector’s item. It’s the opposite of overproduced, and represents the definition of “conscious production.” Tags with a handwritten message from the designer call it “the dress that changes everything.”

“I think we’re so used to seeing so much. The scale at which we’re all experiencing material life—I don’t think we even realize how big it’s become,” Hoffman said of the capsule’s small quantity. Limiting its production run is, as she put it, “a reconsideration of how we are existing with our material objects. Making something in a really small, thoughtful capsule—it’s an invitation mostly for people to ask why and see what it is, and what it’s about.”


Were it not for the central placement in her store (and news coverage like this), the gown would be indistinguishable from previous Mara Hoffman dresses beloved of fashion insiders. “Mara is making sustainability look elegant and without any compromise in quality or performance or feel,” said Circ CEO Peter Majeranowski. “That’s the beauty of it.”

Through her partnership with Circ, Hoffman is leading with the design on the mannequin, but more granular insights are available for shoppers who want that. In addition to the handwritten notes on the tags, each of the new dresses has a digital care label made with the same recyclable fabric, featuring a QR code directing the owner to a full breakdown of its design process and footprint. (You can view all the details online.)

“What’s so special about this collaboration is that it’s taking from the space of art and design and marrying that to the space of innovation, to tech-solution-based thinking, and putting it all together to represent what a future model can look like,” Hoffman said.

the mara hoffman store including racks of clothing and the dress designed with cirq on a mannequin


This dress is also the start of a longer-term partnership. Hoffman intends to transition from virgin lyocell fabrics to Circ lyocell throughout her entire line over the next three years. In the process, she and Majeranowski hope their collaboration can serve as a proof of concept for other brands, luxury and otherwise.

“I think considering the creativity that comes out of so many design houses, it’s really an inspiring idea to think of how many different iterations and versions that this tech can apply itself to, and how much it can ultimately replace what’s already existing, where we can get ourselves out of the dependency of new natural resources,” Hoffman said. When we define a piece of clothing as “special,” it certainly can and should be limited—but in terms of designing sustainably, as Hoffman is proving, it doesn’t have to be exclusive.

The Mara Hoffman x Circ dress is available in sizes XXS–XL and retails for $1,195. It is available to shop now.

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