New York-based clothing designer and activist Mara Hoffman collaborated with 25 female artists and activists belonging to the advocacy group Art Not War for a fashion photoshoot showcasing strength and beauty to comment on sexual violence and human trafficking.
Hoffman hopes to “bring social justice into the fashion space,” as well as honor and encourage female activism, environmental preservation, and beauty in diversity. The photoshoot was launched on Hoffman’s website on International Women’s Day to honor the occasion.
A veteran in the realms of fashion and activism, Hoffman decided to use her passion for civil rights to inspire her latest collection for Spring 2017. The designer often tailors her work to advocate for social movements and their female leaders, including the co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington, who served as Hoffman’s model for her amazing presentation at New York Fashion Week 2017.
Additionally, as a fervent supporter of gender equality, Hoffman also served as an official speaker on the Gender Gap Panel at the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women conference in March 2017.
Now, Hoffman has enlisted her activist friends from Art Not War as her models for her Spring 2017 line along with the assistance of photographer and social activist, Amber Mahoney.
The diverse Art Not War models featured in the project include refugee advocate and model Nykhor Paul, social activist and writer Michaela Angela Davis, columnist and CNN commentator Sally Kohn, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance Ai-jen Poo, founder of online magazine MuslimGirl.com Amani Al-Khatahtbeh and NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue.
Strategically selected for their diverse backgrounds, sizes, shapes, and ethnicities, the women emphasize the point behind Hoffman’s project aside from exhibiting her designs: promoting civic and global causes whether they be eradicating human trafficking or preventing and stopping domestic violence.
“I hope this will spark conversations [and get people] talking openly about women’s rights, human rights, and LGBTQ rights,” Hoffman explained in an interview with Vogue on her new collection. “It’s so important to follow in the footsteps of those doing it right and to educate ourselves, so that we can figure out how to contribute in a way that’s meaningful and impactful.”
As a successful designer with access to both the high-end industry and varied levels of consumer, Hoffman looks to use her platform to bring attention of the “greater issues” to the media and in turn, the public.
“I think people are reacting to this administration and what it’s like to be a woman in this political and social climate right now,” Hoffman told Forbes. “There’s a sense of heightened awareness with everything that’s going on and what is at risk, and I think that pushes people to take the next step and take a stand with what they believe in. Basic human rights are being jeopardized, and I think a lot of people saw that and wanted to use their platform to speak to it, recognize it, and push others to do the same.”
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