BLKLN: As a founding member of the CFDA Sustainability Committee I know that ecologically responsible practices are very important to you and your brand. Tell me how this started and how you have implemented this into your company.
MC: We try with everything. To be honest I am not the post child, but we are trying where ever possible. We started a few season ago, its always been in the company ethos to try to be as sustainable as possible, for fall it was was recycled cashmere, botanical cotton and now the eco-drape. We work with a women's co-op in Bolivia who does all the hand knitting and its alpaca and is naturally dyed. The shoes are vegetable dyed. Where ever possible we are trying to make the right decisions.
BLKLN: Why do you think it has taken the fashion industry so long to get on board with these practices?
MC: It is hard to do a fashionable and interesting collection and be eco. It's very hard. For a lot of companies it s easier to turn a blind eye and pretend its not happening. You have to take responsibility.
BLKLN: What are some steps designers could take to make their companies more sustainable?
MC: We make about 70% of the collection in New York with the least amount of transporting. Goods and fabrics com e in from Europe or Tokyo but once they are there they are manufactured in New York. We try to keep the process to a minimum. Thus avoiding waste. There are special projects we do to recycle fabric. We use as little packing as possible. It's hard in fashion because a lot of fashion is reliant on bells and whistles. For me its never been about that. Its about the way things are cut and the fabric. I think just try to keep things to a minimum.
BLKLN: How does New York differ from Paris or Milan when discussing sustainability?
MC: I think the Kering group is doing a big push. In Milan there are companies doing a push. People are making a conscious effort where ever possible and that's a good start. The more and more people will do it it will become easier for us to buy fabrics that are eco.
BLKLN: What are some things we can all do to live a more eco-conscious and fashionable lifestyle?
MC: Not dry clean so much. Buy more wisely, things that are not disposable. Its better to buy things that you will love and cherish forever, not just because its on sale, and that is what I love about the collection. I always say the pieces will make really great heirlooms. Its better to invest things that you will keep forever then things you will just throw away.
The Spring/Summer 2017 Zero + Maria Cornejo trunk show will be at Stanley Korshak November 4th & 5th and in Austin at ByGeorge November 9th & 10th.
For more information please visit www.zeromariacornejo.com , www.stanleykorshak.com or www.bygeorgeaustin.com.
Runway images courtesy of Yannis Vlamos for Vogue.