Sponsored by HYUNDAI
Unlikely bonds come out of the shared refusal to accept the world's current—enormous—waste problem. Hyundai Motor Company joined forces with sustainable fashion label Zero + Maria Cornejo last week for an event showcasing what can happen if two brands from incredibly wasteful industries joined forces to change things for the better. The result is a collection by Maria Cornejo that use Hyundai's car seat waste in the designs. I have never loved a leather look more.
"I am always looking for ways to help push the conversation surrounding sustainability forward," said Cornejo of her decision to partner with Hyundai for this purpose. "When Hyundai approached us, I not only saw it as an opportunity to work with another innovative brand but an incredible opportunity to create a dialogue around the issue of wastage in both of our industries." Both companies are intent on driving the conversation toward change in their industries, and are doing what they can to take preventative measures.
The issue of sustainability is a vital one, and Dean Evans, Hyundai's CMO, seems thrilled that consumers are interested in the cause. "Millennials want more than simply [to buy] products—they want to purchase from brands that have a clear message when it comes to sustainability," he says. "Re:Style is only the beginning... Hyundai will continue to announce more activities in the future supporting sustainability across a wide variety of categories."
The pieces were debuted on Friday, September 6, at New York's Public Kitchen, where an otherwise candlelit restaurant was taken over by a makeshift stage full of models rocking some of the most gorgeous upcycled clothing we've ever seen. In attendance were Sarah Jessica Parker who was wearing a printed jumpsuit from the collection, fashion legend Miss J Alexander, and actress and queer icon Rowan Blanchard.
Using the car seat waste, Cornejo says, "was a challenge, but a good one!" She tells us, "The weight of the car seat waste limited us in what we could pair it with, but we love a challenge, and I love getting creative with less." Her hard work paid off: Pieces use the leather as pockets sewn to the exterior of the garment, and belts sewn into some others made models feel strapped in, in the coolest way possible.
According to Cornejo, understanding the multiple lives of a textile is "inherent to how we approach design." She says, "Just because something was popular one season doesn't mean it can't be used again in a new way. To create a timeless garment in a quality, well-made fabric means it has legs far beyond the season it was created in. That's sustainable to me." She recalls a time when she had excess materials from the production of a shoe, so she used it to create pouches that were sold in-store.
Besides using textiles that have had a previous life, Cornejo responsibly sources the rest of the fabrics that she buys new. She tells me that she does this by "working with responsibly created fabrics first and working directly with our mills to innovate." If sustainable options aren't available, then she tries her best to figure out a way to make it so. These efforts have not gone unnoticed in the fashion industry, and Hyundai took note. "Zero + Maria Cornejo has emphasized sustainability since its very first day, and [Cornejo's] environmentally friendly actions are highly appraised by the public," says Evans.
Below, see each piece from the gorgeous collection.