About Hoffman California Fabrics & the annual Hoffman Challenge
In 1924, Rube Hoffman, a New York textile jobber, founded Hoffman California Fabrics soon after relocating to Los Angeles. He began by selling wool flannels to California department stores and clothing manufacturers. He quickly expanded his operation by purchasing greige goods (undyed fabric) on which to imprint his own original designs. Transitioning from a jobber to a converter, Rube played an important role in the growth of California's textile industry.
His sons, Philip and Walter, both champion surfers, joined the company in the 1950s and combined their passion for traveling to their favorite surfing spots with discovering unusual printing processes and different types of fabrics. Soon, Hoffman California Fabrics abounded with original designs of surfing scenes, beach life and the underwater world.
Philip and Walter with their cousin, Carole
The 1970s found Hoffman California Fabrics enjoying great success both in textile manufacturing and the apparel industries. The company was in position to catch the new wave of interest in quilting. This was around the time that the Whitney Museum held a groundbreaking quilt exhibition that helped elevate quilt-making to an art form. This coincided with the American Bicentennial and the popular TV program, "Roots," that piqued the country's interest in history. Anything homemade and connected to personal family ancestry was greatly sought after, and quilt-making led the way thanks to its storytelling tradition. The quilt world exploded, and Hoffman Fabrics answered demand by making quilting fabrics.
Today, three generations of Hoffmans are actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the company, which has its headquarters in Mission Viejo. More than 50 employees are involved with filling orders and shipping fabric to retail fabric stores, craft shops, quilt stores, apparel makers, wholesale distributors, and manufacturers throughout the world. Our team of professional artists in the Design Department creates nearly 800 designs of colorful screenprints and luscious Bali batiks each year. The fabrics are sold by independent sales reps that call on customers throughout the U.S.
Known internationally as Hoffman California-International Fabrics, the company enjoys a special place in the global fabric industry for its superior fabric and innovative design. The company partners with wholesale distributors in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Japan. These distributors sell Hoffman fabrics to apparel makers, manufacturers, fabric and craft stores and independent quilt shops around the globe.
This year, Hoffman California Fabrics celebrates its 90th anniversary and continues in its leadership position as the finest producer of screenprints and Bali batiks. Whether you're buying fabric to produce a product for resale or purchasing stock for your fabric store, count on Hoffman California Fabrics to deliver the finest fabrics and the best customer service.
The Annual Hoffman Challenge
Each year, Hoffman selects one print to be the featured fabric in the "Hoffman Challenge", an international contest that challenges entrants to incorporate the chosen fabric into an original quilt, garment, or doll. When the contest began in 1987, there were only ninety-five entries in two categories. However, Hoffman has received so many submissions each year that today the contest includes four categories. Last year, more than 800 people entered what is now one of the most prestigious quilt challenges in the country.
Once the judges have selected the winners and Hoffman Fabrics has awarded the prizes, the top 150 quilts, thirty garments, and thirty dolls are divided into five traveling exhibits. Then, they spend the next year traveling throughout the country, being displayed at quilt shops, national exhibits, and quilt shows. Being included in one of the Hoffman Challenge traveling exhibits is a singular honor.
Melissa Ratzlaff is the Challenge curator. You can reach Melissa by emailing her at email@example.com, by phoning her at (970) 690-6715 or mailing correspondence to her at 1281 E. Magnolia, Unit D, PMB #130, Fort Collins, CO 80524.