Here’s a new lease on leather. Re:Style, a new global initiative by Hyundai launches in collaboration with New York-based label Zero + Maria Cornejo. The upcycled capsule collection, which features repurposed car seat waste, debuts alongside the New York Fashion Week festivities, with a showing at Public Kitchen on Friday.
Most recently, Hyundai launched “Stylenite” in Los Angeles to showcase its cultural and environmental strides. In the past, the South Korean automotive manufacturer used its lifestyle platform to showcase its brand vision to consumers in a “fashion-forward way,” in the words of Dean Evans, chief marketing officer of Hyundai Motors America. Last year’s fashion collection was in collaboration between American celebrity stylist Ty Hunter and South Korean designer Younhee Park of the women’s wear label Greedilous.
This season, Hyundai reached out to designer Maria Cornejo, the woman behind the locally produced New York label — due to her sustainability focus, which includes a long-term commitment to local manufacturing and responsible design practices.
The result is a 15-piece capsule collection, which incorporates a limited amount of leftover Hyundai Transys car seat waste to repurpose alongside Cornejo’s choice of responsibly created textiles, including 100 percent organic cotton bearing the Cradle to Cradle denim certification.
Between fashion and automobiles, one does not question the overlap, especially during NYFW whereby sponsorship from automotive companies have long bolstered the programming.
Sustainability is starting to take the front seat in both industries, and not just in small collaborations or one-off products. For Hyundai, it aims to make an impact and lessen its eco-footprint, referencing the recent debut of the Hyundai Nexo — its first dedicated fuel cell electric vehicle that produces zero carbon emissions — and the collaboration with Cornejo as aligning to the greater “brand vision,” but Evans says it is still “just the beginning.”
Rerouting one’s supply chain to include zero-waste design, transparency in design and production as well as a greater emphasis on reuse, up-cycling or as Cornejo calls it: the ability to “get creative with less,” proves of growing importance to consumer and brand alike.
“I’m always inspired by the idea of getting creative with less and that was really the whole idea behind this collection,” said Cornejo who adds that designing with Hyundai’s leftover waste materials and the brand’s own leftover, archival fabrics allows the textiles “a new lease on life,” in the effect of patchwork detailing on leather jackets or unexpected pockets on jackets or dresses.
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