At a Resort preview in June, Mara Hoffman offered a glimpse into the next phase of her brand. The clothes were noticeably softer-looking than the vibrant prints and body-con dresses she’s known for, but the changes were deeper than that, too; Hoffman was busy making her collection more sustainable, from the fabrics to her sales strategy. Spring ’17 marked the first big push in that direction, with clothes that, as Hoffman put it, “you can wear and wear and wear.” The rise of disposable fashion was one reason Hoffman felt the need to shift her business, but she doesn’t want the clothes to scream sustainable or eco-conscious. “We still want to lead with an emotional response,” she said. “That has to be the first thing. You aren’t going to buy something out of a sense of duty, or because it’s sustainable. You have to really be in love with it.”For Hoffman, that started with the actual feel of the clothes. “Softness is so important to me,” she said. “I wear so much vintage, so I’m used to things that have really been worn.” A white shirtdress came in a lovely organic cotton jacquard from Japan, and Hoffman enlisted an all-women weaving group in India to create the dreamy powder blue–striped fabric for a slip dress and cropped trousers. Those textures had a warm, human touch that was missing in her signature prints, which often felt a bit flat. Hoffman admitted she hasn’t worn much print lately, and designing for herself is central to her new ethos; surely other like-minded women are craving washed-out colors and natural textures. “The root of the collection is still there,” she said. “It’s still about celebrating joy and happiness and color, but it’s just reinterpreted and a little more refined.”There were moments of vibrancy, too, consistent with what’s happening on the runways this season. Hoffman’s longtime devotees will zero in on the lemon yellow midi dress and rainbow-striped linen pieces; they packed the same punch as her digital prints, but with a softer, subtler feel.