Bomber Jackets for Freedom: Fashion & Politics

“Not everyone can go to Europe or the Caribbean for a holiday. With Marijuawaiian I made a place for people to go on line to experience the island feel through my clothes.” – Abigail Hofeldt

Throughout my interview with Abigail, I realized she is a fashion representative of current times. We talked about bomber jackets to shield our hearts as a representation in militant times, marijuana prints that make us smile, virtual islands on the internet, clean air, water and her relationship to fashion maverick Iris Apfel.

The current political climate is pretty rough. Bullying and a general lack of respect are permeating our cultural and fundamental right. Abigail’s voice and the clothes she makes resonate with our community longing for a brighter future and the clothes she creates is for a world she wants to see right now. It’s interesting she made a jacket for Iris Apfel who was the interior designer for the white house during the 50’s to the 90’s – during some highly charged political times, the subject matter of this conversation.

KH – What direction do you think fashion going forward is right now?

AH – Everything has changed since the last election. Fashion is subconsciously related to political times. In times of war people tend to be less wasteful so there is a minimalist use of fabrics. Either they suit up for battle or the opposite dressing extremely glam to distract themselves. Military looks appear, such as camouflage, bomber jackets and different leather techniques. You can see it now. Some current fashion includes lots of black and neutral color palettes, pink, splashes of yellow and punk patriotic styles which are definitely part of the reaction on the street.

KH – Tell me about your clothing and process.

AH – I am designing one-of-a-kind bomber jackets, donut bathing suits and my Marijuawaiian prints. I create custom clothing for clients and I am creating a website. It is like an island to escape virtually from one world to another world that exists as a boutique. It’s a place with clean air and water, where we go to be conscious of the environment, to share with others, a place to daydream. Somewhere to chill – away from what’s going on in the media. I know it sounds weird.  Some great designers started as struggling artists and the challenges they had led them to create a unique vision and execute it.

KH – No it’s not weird at all. A lot of the young creative minds feel that way and it’s timely. It’s compelling events that push us to reevaluate our path and I can only imagine just coming out of design school, now must make young people want to question everything about representing art in these times. I mean, when I was young, I didn’t think about the idea of no clean water to drink, a shortage of jobs, unaffordable housing. These are very real things being experienced. It’s hard to have joy.

AH – Yeah no humor… I feel what’s happening now is a destruction of happiness and love, so I created marijuana infused products – marijuana Hawaiian prints. Why not? It’s a way to get away from the strategies of big companies, a lifestyle brand, with my own spin on chic.

KH – Silhouettes have changed and always do throughout history. Some say it’s going too far? It seems too far is not a thing anymore- wearing strong highlighters and false eyelashes during the day previous reserved for photo shoots. What is too far? Butt jobs. We don’t know the side effects. The psycho cybernetics studies available on the subject have concluded that some coaching is needed after body altering procedures so dysmorphic body disorders are not developed.

AH – There are some good body sculpting techniques that are not invasive, so you don’t have to always go to surgery, which could be cool for people to obtain their body ideals. It’s just good to feel good about yourself. Other than that there is no silhouette, clothes have become shapeless or body hugging and basic with lots of makeup.

KH – It’s cool we have so many people coming by whatever name, transgender, gender fluidity that is nothing to do with a trend but a consciousness, the antithesis of the conservatism dominating the government. Surgery, as the tool to make a life more comfortable to my way of thinking, would be liberating I think.

AH – Some people have strong urges to see themselves in a different way. If it makes you happy then cool, it doesn’t matter if it’s based on insecurity.

KH – Do you follow trends to accommodate the changing silhouette or do you do what you do for you?

AH: I do what I do, I do pay attention to the runways and trends but they are sculpted by my ideas not directed by them. I love to see how wearing an outfit makes you feel. Feeling like yourself, myself, it’s about feeling good in what you wear. People are coming into their own identities.

I grew up in NYC so I always feel I am in paradise in Miami. I love both cities for different reasons and both cities and the people have influenced my designs for different reasons.

KH – I see you designed a jacket for Iris Apfel. She is so amazing, a true maverick. Tell me about how that happened. After talking to you about political times, it’s cool to think she has lived through so many administrations– even designing for the Kennedy’s. So much upheaval and change during those iconic times during the 60’s, 70’s to now. Can you tell me a bit about you in relationship to Iris?

AH –Firstly, I love the colors of those times, beige, taupe, dark oranges, olive, turquoise & mustard yellow.  I was very inspired by that when I designed for her.

So my mother is into wine and food and loves hosting dinner parties with blind wine tastings (Abby’s mother started Wine Spectator with her college friend, which started as a newsletter, the original blog). She has a best friend, a wine expert named Harriet. And Harriet was always telling me that I needed to meet her cousin Iris. Eventually we made it happen.

I was designing a jacket for Miami Beach Fashion Week and Harriet had given me an autographed book about Iris from the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition, which had always stuck with me. Subconsciously I think she was on my mind while I was designing the jacket.

I picked her up in a vintage Rolls Royce. We had dinner, and she said let’s go Dutch! I presented her with my jacket from the Abigail Hofeldt Couture line.

KH – How did she receive your present?

AH: She loved it and said, “Viva the new American Couture.”

KH – Wow, Abby that’s an amazing compliment – so inspiring.  She is style royalty. So you gave her a bomber jacket?

AH- No it’s more a mod style slim fitting A – line jacket that can double as a dress. She has a picture of her wearing it on her Instagram.

She is fascinating. She has a huge collection of antique clothing, furniture and accessories she designed or collected from her travels. There are fabrics from all over the world as she had a business creating woven textiles. Things that don’t exist anymore. People loved her textiles.

KH: So Abby, back to you and Marijuawaiian. What’s next? The bomber jackets are so unique. Will you be selling those?

AH: Right now I’m taking custom orders and producing my swimwear line, which is available on my website.

The Marijuawaiian lifestyle draws me in, it’s so different yet familiar. It’s a fine line, being ahead of the times requires pushing forward, or someone else does it and we are left behind. It takes bravery to be yourself and like you said earlier, it’s a good time to own who we are.  The expression, “He who hesitates is lost,” comes to mind. Life is so fast.

Contradicting my past statement about missing out, on another level there really are no lost opportunities as we continue to grow, and integrate all we learn into our experience. However, there are moments in life when we have to jump right in and the magic will carry us!


By: Karina Hayes, Faith & Science Culture for the Heart

Abigail’s work is on display and is for sale at Pepe Mar’s Studio

8373 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33138

For custom clothing text her on 917 226 5445

Photo of Iris: @ehnicholson (Erin Nicholson)

Photos of Marijuawaiian: Christian Hernandez


Insta: @abbyherself and @marijuawaiian

FB page: Abigail Hofeldt

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