By Cristina Boydell
Photography by George Garnier
FAJO’s London-based columnist, Cristina Boydell, meets Bulgarian-born, British-bred Marina Guergova — the designer behind well-known Marina London label. Here is what they chatted about.
Why did you decide to start your own label?
I felt it was an exciting opportunity to develop an idea that had been brewing in my head for a little while. No one really specializes in silks and brands it as a material. I have always loved silk and, in particular, sports luxe as a fashion trend. I wanted to start small, with a core idea that defined the brand, and see where it took me. I have also always loved the idea of branding and visual identity, so that helped a lot with the process of setting up the company.
I am originally Bulgarian, but grew up in the U.K. I studied in Kingston, where I finished my Foundation Course and went on to study at Central Saint Martins, where I completed a BA (Honours) Fashion Design & Marketing degree.
Who are your designer inspirations?
I am inspired by women that I grew up admiring, such as Charlotte Rampling and Diane Keaton. I watch a lot of movies and I’m a crazy Woody Allen fan! Also in love with Kim Basinger in Nine 1/2 Weeks — every outfit she wears in it is just perfection.
I am inspired by wonderful women like Caroline Issa, Jenna Lyons, Stella McCartney, my mother… The ’70s is my favourite style decade, so a lot of my silhouettes are quite loose and free on top. My key customer is a woman or girl who is effortless and confident with herself. She loves to travel, has a creative mind and a good sense of humour.
Who would you love to see wearing Marina London?
Caroline Issa wears our silks, so that means a lot to me as I admire her so much and would love to meet her one day. It would be a dream to see Charlotte Rampling wear one of the silks too. Otherwise, Leandra Medine and Margaret Zhang are just dreamy women who I have somewhat of a girl-crush on.
What has been the most interesting highlight of your career so far?
I think the biggest success is being part of an exciting creative movement in London, which has allowed me to surround myself with some wonderful creative people all around my age. Apart from that, the silks are now stocked in Jaeger’s flagship store on Regent Street, which is fantastic exposure for the brand, and I would recommend everyone to go and see the Designer Boutique on the first floor there.
What is your favourite Marina piece for autumn/winter 2013?
I think my favourite piece is the HOLLY shirt that comes with a bow tie. Also, the MAN REPELLER jumpsuit and HANNELI dress in new autumn/winter colours are so gorgeous.
Some of the autumn/winter 2013 pieces
What are the future plans for Marina London?
To grow the collection a little bit and have a few more options in terms of styles. I am developing some trucker caps for spring/summer 2014, made out of silk, which will be a perfect addition to the sports luxe philosophy of the brand. We are looking to be stocked in some of the bigger department stores and online shopping sites, namely Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Net-a-Porter.
In five years, I would like to see Marina London establish itself as a smart, contemporary brand, both internationally and at home. I would like the aesthetics of the brand to spread across more products and creative paths, be it stationery, shoes or just personalised silk T-shirt design that I am in the process of developing.
How would you describe London fashion/style/design?
London wears its heart on its sleeve. It is accepting of all styles and its creative hub is always bubbling. London is my kind of city — there is always so much going on. I do wish we had more sunny weather, because that is when the silks really shine and when people just look happier and more open.