Marina Guergova is the creative brain behind Marina London, the silk-focused contemporary brand. As one of the newest designers to join the BENGT roster, we sent our Guest Blogger Mariella Agapiou to her studio to find out more…
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE ON A CAREER IN FASHION?
Quite late on, 17/18 when I started to do more arty things. My tutors were saying, “You should probably do something in art.” And then eventually we did a fashion project at school and my teacher was pushing me to do a fashion course because I got quite interested in fashion, doing a lot of research. He liked the project I did, the illustrations. I think it’s mainly the illustration side that really set it off.
WHAT KIND OF ILLUSTRATIONS DID YOU DO?
I think, off the top of my head, designs, but I love styling the female body and elongating it and creating a different perspective I suppose, as I did a lot of life drawing. But it was fun to get the body, start working it in new ways and extending the legs. It’s mainly the drawing aspect and then the fact that you could make up your own clothes, that was cool too.
WHAT WAS CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS LIKE FOR YOU?
It was quite a shock at first. You meet friends, you get to know people and you understand how different everybody is, how different everybody works. Some people are very extravagant, others are a bit more quite. Its just interesting to see how people develop throughout, I loved it. Every year was quite different, my final year I really enjoyed it.
WHAT DID YOU DO FOR YOU GRADUATE COLLECTION?
I don’t know where I developed this, but yellow and white seem to be a combination I love wearing and using. And so my collection was based around yellow and white, a bit of grey and navy. It was a mix of both feminine shapes and draping, silks – I used a lot of silks. But at the same time I used viscose jersey, which is quite stretchy and I dyed it different colours. And then I did a lot of panelling work, with a lot of seems going on, creating almost a puzzle, embellishing it quite heavily and they were bodycon type dresses, as well as the draping. But I fell in love with the draping side more.
WHEN DID YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH SILK?
During that time. Even when I was looking for designers, I loved all the pieces that were more silk, more billowy, compared to tight. I think I relate it a lot to summer, freedom, and effortlessness. It’s a free fabric for me; I love the way it hangs.
WHEN IT COMES TO OTHER DESIGNERS, WHO INSPIRES YOU PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY?
I have always loved Stella McCartney. Obviously Phoebe Philo, and then I love Alexander Wang, Isabel Marant, because she has fun with it, she’s a bit more free-spirited. I have always had a love for something sporty in an outfit. Even if something is feminine, to have a masculine side too, which is what Stella McCartney does – I think that’s why I love her so much.
YOUR COLLECTIONS ARE FULL OF CLEAN, SPORTY SHAPES. WHEN DID YOU BECOME INSPIRED BY SPORT LUXE?
I have always been quite sporty. I think maybe when I released I could wear trainers with dresses. I started to like dresses, but not girly dresses. It must have been something subconscious. Things coming into fashion that I really related to, things that were so me. I felt that I could express myself through a particular trend. I would look at something Stella McCartney would design and I would think, ‘wow, I want to be that woman some day.’ It’s very aspirational. I think when you start to aspire to a certain woman that’s quite grown up, you start to understand what you might end up being like.
WHO IS THE MARINA LONDON GIRL?
She’s effortless, not too fussed about spending too long on what she looks like, throwing a few things on. A good sense of humour, doesn’t take herself too seriously, loves her work though. But at the same time, has fun.
DO YOU TAKE INSPIRATION FROM YOUR BULGARIAN BACKGROUND?
I think I do, but I can’t pin-point it. When I first started designing fashion, I loved looking a Bulgarian national clothing, folk clothing. But I think that everyone that comes from a different culture always loves to go back to explore it in some way, and exploit it as well. I went back to folklore for this, but I didn’t design a physical collection based on it. Bulgaria used to be communist, so maybe in terms of uniform. I like uniform as a metaphor – liking a particular style and wearing it for most of your life.
YOUR JUMPSUIT IS NAMED ‘THE MANREPELLER,” ARE BLOGGERS A BIG INFLUENCE TO YOU?
Not necessarily just bloggers, but street-style. Tumblr is magic. I get inspired by streetstyle a lot. I like to look at what girls are wearing, and think what looks good, why I like it and try to develop my own twist to it.
WHAT ARE YOUR SS13 FAVOURITE PIECES?
Cut-out tee: Yasmin Kianfar
Neoprene skirt: Alexander Wang
Linen jumper: Shirin Guild
Heels: Alexander Wang
Neon nail polish: American Apparel
WHAT IS YOUR MUST HAVE BEAUTY PRODUCT?
Since the age of 17 I can’t stop wearing this nude lip colour and for quite a few years I have been using this Chanel one. If it’s not in my bag, I have a proper freak-out.
WHAT DOES FASHION MEAN TO YOU?
I love fashion because it’s very practical. I do love the fact clothes are there to be worn, but that you can have fun with it too. I have always been set on how I think about fashion; I have never been very out-there, or crazy. Its expressive, you can be who you want to be. You can show what mood your in, in ways you can’t really do just wearing black the whole time.
WHAT OTHER BENGT DESIGNERS DO YOU ADMIRE?
Moxham, I do love Moxham. And I think Charlie May has some really cool stuff. Kirsty Ward too.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE BUDDING FASHION DESIGNERS?
Find a nice group of people who you get on with because it is so important who you surround yourself with. And make sure you enjoy what you do, and not stress out about it, have fun with it. Get a good group of people around you – that’s the most important thing. It’s my favourite bit about having my own brand, that there are other people doing the same and we just want to help each other the whole time. It’s the best feeling.