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ReStyle w Maria Cornejo

Re:Style with Maria Cornejo


4 minute read

Hyundai presents our 2019 Re:Style fashion event in collaboration with Zero + Maria Cornejo. We believe that a sustainable future does not stop at our products, but consists of the choices that we make, the food we eat and the clothes we wear. We spoke to the lead creative director, Maria Cornejo, and talked about what lies ahead for sustainable fashion.

Marias sketch of her collection

Maria’s sketch of her collection.

Hi Maria, can you introduce yourself?

Hi, I’m Maria Cornejo and I am the founder and Creative Director of Zero + Maria Cornejo.

What inspired you to be a fashion designer?

My grandmother, who taught me how to sew and knit. Growing up in Chile in the 60s, my Mother used to have her clothing made by a seamstress so it’s always been in my DNA.

Be original.
Get creative with less.
Make it timeless.
Make it sustainable

What is your design philosophy?

2019 Re:Style Collection

Upcycled materials used in 2019 Re:Style Collection by Hyundai Transys.

How much inspiration do you draw from your culture and from international influences?

A lot! I can’t help but be influenced by the places I’ve lived. My sense of humor and originality is British, the more refined side of me is French, any bright colors are my Latin side, the way I see shapes is from Japan and my approach to making clothing seem effortless is very American.

Why do you think fashion needs to be sustainable? And what do you think the fashion industry can do to be more sustainable?

We have a responsibility to ourselves and to the planet to make a difference in any way we can. It's all about cause and effect. Every decision we make now impacts our environment so it’s important for all of us to take responsibility for that. Every small bit counts.

Checking regenerated fibers

How can we reshape customers' perception on adopting more sustainable fashion?

First, you have to make a desirable product that always considers sustainability as part of the design process. Then, you have to engage the consumer and make them a part of the conversation. By creating something with a heart and sharing where that garment was made or how it was created means that the product becomes meaningful and educational for the consumer. It’s about making everyone a part of the solution and empowering everyone to do their part. Every little bit matters and it amounts to a lot.

Introducing Maria Cornejo

Maria Cornejo is a champion of women in the fashion industry and a believer in locally produced and responsible designs. Born in Chile, her varied career spans London, Paris, Milan and Tokyo where she was part of the ground-breaking design partnership Richmond Cornejo: and worked as a creative consultant for retailers such as Joseph, Then and Jigsaw.

Maria is known for her simplicity, ease, and freedom in her approach and has developed ways of cutting fabrics based on the simplest geometric forms. Her work is guided by the idea of creating wearable luxury for real women.

Maria conejo
Maria conejo behind

A winner of the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Design Awards in 2006, she is also a proud member of the CFDA since 2003, and a founding member of the CFDA’s Sustainability Committee. She was honored with the Fashion Group International’s Sustainability Award at their Night of the Stars Gala for her long-term commitment to sustainable fashion in the American Fashion industry.

…minimalism is not a bland word…her clothes have a sleek sophistication and always a sense of surprise.

Rethink recycle upcycle

Re-think, re-cycle, up-cycle.

What do you think is next for sustainable fashion?

Innovation, but also sharing information. Collaborating is how we will all move forward.

Are they any new technology, textiles, processes that you are interested in?

Yes, there are so many new and exciting textiles being created from more sustainable resources such as bananas or oranges. On top of that, the mills are truly engaged in pushing this evolution forward. I’m excited about the innovation happening in the industry such as lab-grown leathers as well.

Beauty in details of marias

Beauty in the details of Maria’s collection.

What is your hope for the Hyundai Re:Style event?

To give greater exposure to the things that can be done to up-cycle and how collaborations like this bring the message to a larger audience. It’s an exchange of ideas that is key to collaboration right now.

What would you like the women who wear your clothing to feel?

Empowered and the best version of themselves.

Hyundai Transys upcycled materials used in the 2019 Re:Style Collection.

Upcycled materials used in 2019 Re:Style Collection by Hyundai Transys.

By collaborating with Hyundai, we prove that our ethos of sustainability and waste reduction is applicable in other sectors. We hope it inspires others to carefully consider how they use fabrics in manufacturing.

2019 Re:Style collection debuted as a star-studded event at the 2020 S/S New York Fashion Week hosted at the PUBLIC Kitchen in New York with the attendance of over 300 notable and distinguished insiders from the fashion industry, influencers, and celebrities. The 15-piece capsule collection was not only stylish, but it strongly emphasized on upcycling as a way to value ethical consumption by transforming waste into a product with an extended life, as well as engage with others who support environmental initiatives and place a spotlight on ecological issues.

With the shared global vision from both brands, these leftover leathers and textiles from automotive seats, as well as upcycled fabrics and 100% organic cotton Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold Dylan denim from Zero+Maria Cornejo were transformed into 15 new and innovative pieces from this collaborative project.

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