WWD – The story of how Rooney Mara added “fashion designer” to her résumé is not unlike that of many who spot a hole in the market and aim to fill it: she couldn’t find what she wanted to wear in stores, and, believing others might feel the same, set out to create it herself.
A longtime vegan, Mara was struggling to find clothing that was both animal-free and at a quality level above fast-fashion.
“I’ve always loved Stella [McCartney] and I’ve worn Stella for stuff, but other than Stella there really aren’t many,” Mara says over the phone from Los Angeles. “In the last few years there have been a few other places that have popped up like Susi Studio, who makes a lot of vegan shoes, and Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather. I know a lot of them because I don’t wear or buy leather anymore, so I had to search around. But it wasn’t really exactly what I was looking for, which was how this thing sprang about. I had a need and I felt like there was a sort of gap in the market.”
Born from that was Hiraeth, a line of vegan and ethically made clothing, footwear and accessories, priced between $160 and $1,500, that Mara founded with close friends Chrys Wong and Sara Schloat. Launched this past February, the line has expanded into Barneys this August, with plans for further growth on the horizon.
“I’ve known Sara since I was little; we grew up in the same town and went to school together and have always loved fashion together,” Mara says. “We had been talking about doing something like this for awhile.” She and Wong, a former wardrobe consultant for Barneys, met around seven years ago.
“That’s how this conversation started; if we’re searching for that wardrobe we might as well make that wardrobe, and maybe sharing that wardrobe for people,” Wong says.