We were drawn to Marina's sense of simplistic style, her less is more approach and her determination to do one thing well. We talk to the quintessential silk entrepreneur about reinventing the stigma around only wearing silk in the form of ball gowns, the challenges faced as a small business and the power of an organic social media following. Meet Marina Guergova, founder of Marina London - our new silk brand.
How did Marina London come into tuition?
In 2009 I had been thinking about starting my own business for a little while, so after sketching designs to see what the brand to look like and thinking about what I’d be good at - I decided to tackle silk. I wanted to be a specialist in the field and to design pieces that I would want to wear day in, day out for work or play. Silk had a very boring image back then, so I wanted to inject a bit of fun with the elegance. To use only the best quality silk, but to make it bit more affordable, so that more people would understand that it’s not a scary fabric. It’s so versatile.
2. What are some of the challenges and successes you have experienced as a business since launching four years ago?
The learning curve is very very steep and the you learn a lot on the job - trail and error. Small brands constantly face obstacles and in today’s fast paced fashion conveyor belt, there is very small room for error. Finding the right factory, getting production to work like clockwork - it’s pretty tough when you have to rely on so many other people and that is when things get difficult.
The success is seeing that your product sells. When people come back time after time, when you meet new people that get your vision. For me success is making my customers happy, that’s the best part of it all. If you have given something to someone and they care for it and tell their friends about it, then let me tell you - out of all the best feelings of running your own business, that’s the biggest.
3. Who or what has been your main inspiration throughout the history of Marina London?
It’s always been Charlotte Rampling. More than anything it’s her image and energy - if there was an ultimate MARINA woman, she would be it.
4. With an instagram following of over 21k, what is your secret to social media success?
I don’t know if there is a secret, it’s still quite a modest following in the grand scheme of things. I think that people are drawn to seeing the world in a new way on social media and I follow people that are good at doing that to me. I see social media for the positive things that I get from it. It’s weird but for example, they want to share a nice picture of their boyfriend holding flowers or when they rearrange their furniture at home a bit to make it look super neat. I love that. It’s totally annoying for people that are not into OCD straight lines and an ambiguous need for white spaces. I guess it’s part of my DNA to be weirdly obsessed lines, spaces, colours, shapes, surfaces, lighting and other strangely irrelevant things. Maybe the success is to have a healthy relationship with it and to only do it if you love it - if not, get someone else to do it because they would love it.
5. Here at The Acey, we’re all about supporting clothing brands that are sustainable and ethical. What are the eco-friendly advantages of working with one fabric as you do?
The main advantage is knowing your supplier very well. I have worked with the same silk mill for three and a half years. Another advantage is that because I only use one supplier, when the silk is shipped, it goes all at once and I am not shipping other fabrics from lots of other parts in the world. It’s efficient, which is always important when you think about fuel emissions.
6. All your garments are made from 100% silk – what was it that first drew you to working with this fabric?
When I graduated from Saint Martins, half of my collection was made from silk and in particular a sandwashed Crepe de Chine, which has the most incredible baby-soft feel to it. I felt that silk was very underrepresented. I wanted to make it cool and current. That was my mission - to change people’s perspective of silk and create basics that could be worn by hard working women, at work - but equally give it street cred by having fun with it and doing things like the ALPHABET tees, where you can get any letter of the alphabet on a one-size-fits-all silk tee.
7. What are your Acey wardrobe essentials?
I am absolutely in love with all of the the PP leather skirts, the Matt & Nat backpack and the Tada & Toy silver star hoop earrings.
8. Our ethos is ‘style with purpose’, an attribute that we believe all of our Acey women embody in their work and lifestyle. What does this phrase means to you?
To me it means women wearing clothes to work as well as for pleasure - to show who they are as individuals and not just to look stylish for no apparent reason. It’s about caring where you shop from, because you also care about the work that you do. It means that these women have a voice or a story and to them style is an essential part to the foundation of who they are.
Shop Marina's exquisite collection of silks: here
Join Marina on Instagram: @marinalondon
Join THE-ACEY on Instagram: @the_acey
Meet more ACEY Women: here
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