A One-On-One With Designer Maria Cornejo On Her New Spring Collection

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Fashion designer Maria Cornejo

Designer, Maria Cornejo made a special appearance at TenOverSix Miami for an intimate trunk show to tease at the new Spring ’19 Collection, and shop the latest holiday looks. Cornejo sat down with Haute Living to discuss her journey in fashion, the inspiration behind the brand, and the importance of sustainability in fashion.

HL: How did you start out and how did you get to where you are today?

MC: I started 20 years ago with an atelier. I wanted to get back to figuring out how to have my own way of planning after being in the fashion business so I opened an art space with my husband that was supposed to be a gallery and also an atelier. I wanted to make everything there–made in the back and put in the front. The first time I put anything out, Barneys and Colette came and they wanted to buy the collection so that was pretty amazing.

HL: What was the toughest part about launching your own fashion label?

MC: You always want to do better so it’s a constant battle. I am my own worst critic!

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Maria Cornejo speaking with guest

HL: How would you describe the DNA of the brand?

MC: The DNA is me—it’s for women, and I like things that are comfortable. I wanted to still look fashionable even though I had children and wanted it to be size inclusive. Everything you can just throw on and it’s easy to peel off as well.

HL: Who is your target audience?

MC: Independent thinking women of all ages. We have clients from ages 25 to 85.

HL: I understand almost everything is locally produced. Why is this important to you?

MC: When I worked for big companies I saw the amount of waste that was produced overseas and also I like the idea that it’s a luxury product that is made in New York. The fabrics come from all over the world and I don’t want to send anywhere else—I wanted to control how things are made and see how things develop. I’m very much part of the process every day. I’m very hands-on.

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Karina Vilar and Soledad Picon

HL: Explain to us the company’s ethos of responsible design.

MC: It’s about being sustainable whether it’s producing locally, using sustainable fabrics, or being humanly sustainable. It’s trying to make the right decision at every level, it’s a more holistic approach. It’s a female-owned company so it’s having a work vs. life balance and to include that in everything. ­­­­

HL: Greatest success thus far?

MC: Most recently, I received an award for sustainability (at Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars 2018) from Mark Ruffalo and that was really exciting. He’s a dear friend and it was great because he gave an amazing speech and it was really fun.

HL: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

MC: Hopefully somewhere in Miami! I’m reconnecting to my Latin American roots. Also, Miami is very art and design influenced and it’s a lifestyle that’s very me and the clothes that you wear here every day are for all types of women.

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Maria Cornejo and Kristen Cole

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All photos courtesy of World Red Eye

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