Zero + Maria Cornejo
by made loKal
Zero + Maria Cornejo opened in 1998 as a purely retail concept when, prompted by a desire to re-connect with the core of her ideas about design, cutting and garment construction, Chilean-born designer Maria Cornejo transformed a raw space in New York’s Nolita into a very personal store and atelier named Zero.
The name was an expression of a pure vision: a number that neither adds nor subtracts; it is, rather, a point of departure. Timelessness, ease, and a modern take on luxury are the essence of Zero + Maria Cornejo and the women who love the clothes. The garments are unexpectedly simple yet based on sophisticated cuts and angles using volume and circular shapes as a starting point; garments are often draped and cut from one piece of fabric, use as few seams as possible to fit and flatter as many women as possible and utilize luxurious new fabrics and original prints.
At the heart of each garment is a commitment to make desirable fashion for real women that lasts beyond a single season and become cherished items in a woman’s wardrobe. This personal approach has gained Zero + Maria Cornejo a loyal following and high praise from fashion insiders and clients like Tilda Swinton, Cindy Sherman and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Since the beginning, and as a result of the company’s commitment to the local economy, the Zero + Maria Cornejo collection has been largely produced (70%) in the heart of New York City’s Garment District with the exception of a few categories, including shoes and handbags, which are made by small, independently owned factories in Italy. Dedicated to fostering a company ethos that is just as committed to its social impact as its environmental, Zero uses ecological and sustainable fabrics wherever possible. And as a company owned and run by women, the team continuously looks to develop special collaborations with women artisans around the world.
Maria’s long-term business partner, Marysia Woroniecka, joined Maria in 2005, formally establishing a new partnership in January of 2006. In 2009, Zero + Maria Cornejo moved to the home of its new flagship store/showroom/atelier at 33 Bleecker Street, New York and, in 2010, opened a first store outside of the New York area in Los Angeles, California on Melrose Place. Providing an environment that is warm, welcoming and emblematic of the Zero aesthetic, the two retail stores allow the company to truly connect and be inspired by their clients.
In addition to Zero + Maria Cornejo’s directly operated stores, the collection is also available at more than 80 of the best stores worldwide, including Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Ikram Chicago, Hanwha Galleria Seoul, Harvey Nichols Hong Kong and Net-a-Porter.com. Zero + Maria Cornejo’s growing product categories include women’s ready to wear, swimwear and accessories including handbags and shoes.