Maria Cornejo was born in Chile and moved to England when she was a child. Her varied career spans London, Paris, Milan and Tokyo where she was part of the ground-breaking design partnership Richmond Cornejo; developed her own signature Maria Cornejo collection; and worked as a creative consultant for major retailers such as Joseph, Tehen and Jigsaw.
In 1996, Maria and her family moved to New York where, in 1998, she transformed a raw space in Nolita into a highly creative atelier and store known as Zero. From the beginning, Maria established an independent point of view and developed new ways of cutting based on the simplest geometric forms. The simplicity, ease and freedom in her clothing has become her calling card and established her as an innovative force in womenswear. Warm, approachable, modern and clean are all words that have been used to describe Maria Cornejo’s work for Zero + Maria Cornejo.
Continually developing her techniques from one season to the next, Maria strives, through her uncompromising and very personal approach, to create dynamic and intelligent clothing for all women. Her designs are about the wearer, allowing the clothing to showcase the individual rather than imposing a certain form, idea or style. A champion of women, in the fashion industry and beyond, her work is guided by the idea of creating well-made, wearable luxury for real women that flatters and truly connects with the wearer. It has been said of her work, “In Maria Cornejo’s hands, minimalism is not a bland word . . . her clothes have a sleek sophistication and always a sense of surprise.”
Having been a finalist for the Fashion Prize of the 2005 Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards, Maria Cornejo was honored as the winner of the award in 2006. Maria has proudly been a member of the CFDA since 2003 and an original member of the CFDA Sustainability Committee.
Maria currently lives with her husband, the photographer Mark Borthwick, and their two children in Brooklyn, New York. Her daughter, Bibi Cornejo Borthwick, followed in her father’s footsteps and is a photographer in her own right. Maria continues to design from her Bleecker Street atelier.