Marina Guergova is a force to reckoned with. Effortlessly cool and equipped with an enviable appetite for life, she’s the mastermind behind her brand, Marina London, creating luxury silk basics for the modern, on-the-go girl. With a desire to launch a label “that did one thing and did it well”, Marina has hit the fashion zeitgeist on the head with her collection of simply shaped silks in the most covetable of colour palettes (think rich copper, powder grey and classic navy).
“Silk wasn’t cool back when I started” says Marina “It had a very boring image of it either being thin silk chiffon or very shiny silk satin”. On paper, Marina’s stuff might be conceived as ‘boring’ - it’s void of frills, embellishments, zips and generally any unnecessary complications. However in reality, the pared-back aesthetic of the brand is what elevates it. You won’t find useless pockets or fiddly straps - just quality, functional clothing for women who care about timeless style.
“I love that women are always looking for practical solutions to their work wardrobe, whilst still wanting to look sharp and smart.” says Marina “When I know that a woman wears my designs who works as a lawyer for example, I get very excited about it”.
Graduating from Central Saint Martins and launching her label in 2011, Marina now clocks up over 22,000 followers on Instagram and sells online to her loyal silk-clad following. Tapping into a certain look du jour (pared-back, lux staples, loose shapes, fresh trainers and a hint of normcore) Marina knows what works sartorially.
She also knows her customer down to a tee: “She’s got to be effortless and positive. She doesn’t sulk around, she gets on with things.” says Marina “She’s a bit of a minimalist. Her house smells good and she loves to travel. She has a classic car and can speak French”.
Even though a classic car driving minimalist might seem a little far-fetched, we totally see where Marina’s coming from and we adore her imaginativeness. Her ‘getting on with things’ attitude is precisely what’s got her this far - designing and managing the brand aside, Marina also set up The Basics Store, a biannual pop-up shop stocking a range of young brands focusing on high quality essentials. Think coloured knits by Blake LDN, The Nude Label underwear and graphic jewellery by Glasshouse fave, Jessie Harris.
“I love putting my energy towards projects that get me to work with other talented designers and people.” says Marina “I’m in the process of organising our next one for summer. Hopefully for three months in West London this time, from May to July.”
Trying her hand at different things comes naturally to Marina, but so does her ethos of going against the grain. Most notably Marina recently announced that she wouldn’t be pursuing any further wholesale opportunities for the brand, pretty much ruling out being stocked anywhere apart from her (albeit it very successful) online shop and pop-up. It’s a testament to Marina’s confidence in her label and her understanding of the shifting nature of fashion and shopping. No longer does success equal being stocked in a major store, but instead it’s about developing a strong online presence and e-commerce - both of which Marina’s got spot on.
She’s also a self-confessed ‘aesthetics person’. “I get funny about things being in lines. Lining up things, colour co-ordinating.” Marina admits “I do let my personal tastes feed into my brand, maybe because anything else wouldn’t feel natural”.
We love that her social media feeds feature immaculately styled flat-lay shots (you won’t find any selfies here) of her beautiful silks contorted into shapes, tied with silk bows and playing matchy-matchy with the surroundings. The brand succeeds in making silk durable, sporty, playful and comfortable - a few adjectives you wouldn’t usually associate with the notoriously tricky fabric.
One thing we’ve noticed is that Marina oozes positivity - she designs her clothes to make people happy and she wants happy people wearing them. We can’t ever imagine her having an ‘off day’ and she’s also full of advice for leading a balanced, content life.
“Your happiness is more important than any success” says Marina “I think women can push themselves too hard nowadays, which I think is not healthy. Apparently women in Western society are unhappier now than they were in the 70’s!”
And what would she say to a woman planning on launching her own business? “I’d say - awesome, do it. The more women the better! But just brace yourselves and don’t put your careers before everything else. It will come back to bite you one day - look after your bodies and mind”. Sound advice indeed.
Outside of her silk empire, you’re most likely to find Marina in a hammock somewhere exotic (“I love to just read books in the sun, holidays are good for that”) or curled up in front of a Woody Allen film. She has her own typically Marina way of looking after body and mind - “I try to do a headstand every day at home - before bed is awesome” - and a warm water with lemon and Manuka honey gets her up and at ’em in the morning.
Finding a gap in the market and filling it in the most beautiful and stylish way is exactly what Marina has excelled in. Moving with the times and understanding what makes a modern fashion label tick are her forte - and doing so with such relentless energy and positivity is something that we think is rare. On that note, Marina gives us a final lightening bolt of wisdom courtesy of her all time favourite Winston Churchill quote: “The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. Marina, we think we need you on speed dial.
View more of Marina London here.
Cover image: Rufflr
Words: Lucy Vincent