Most young designers will face it – the harsh reality of making clothes. Not enough money, no staff, and the pressure of vying for customers in the midst of intense competition. Not everyone thrives. And not everyone decides that a global economic downturn is just the right time to cork a new label. But Bulgarian-born, London-based Marina Guergova clearly isn't cut from the same cloth as other young talents. She started her label in 2010 during a recession believing there was no better time. She decided to focus purely on silk, tweaking each season slightly with new colours and simple shapes. She hasn't tried to show on schedule and chose instead to quietly grow a following of women who want to look like they haven't spent hours agonising over their outfits. Her no frills, no fuss approach is working. We speak to the woman behind Marina London to find out more…

"It's really weird but my mum used to dress me for a long time. I have no idea what I wore during my childhood. Fashion was quite literally never a part of my life. Both my parents are Bulgarian, I was born there and I came over to England when I was nine and have been here ever since. I came with my granny and my mum and my one year old sister. We lived in London for two years and then my mum wanted to go back to Bulgaria so they moved. I stayed for boarding school. I started getting into art and really loved drawing the human body and I was encouraged by my teacher to try out fashion. 

I studied at Central Saint Martins and after graduating I went to work as an art director for a Bulgarian magazine for six months. Then I came back to the UK and did an internship at Emilia Wickstead. It was during that time that I was wondering what to do next. So I started designing and came up with a very small capsule collection.

There were just six pieces made out of silk – no colour – and I put that online and made a little web shop. In 2010 if you were a designer and you did a web shop you were a bit nuts because it wasn't the time to start a brand right after the recession. But I decided because everyone was going bust and too scared to sell their own things it was the best time to start. It was really difficult but it grew very organically season on season.

At the time the minimal look was creeping in, and you could see that was where fashion was heading. But for me, it was more about sourcing a really great quality silk and because the silk is beautiful, the shape and the fit should be minimal.

I found that during a recession you want to strip down and create pieces that are durable and last and are practical and I'm such a practical person, I love practical fashion. I just find it really satisfying when women wear my things for practical reasons like going to work, wearing it in the office. I actually get extremely excited by a lawyer that makes an order. I'm not expecting to be the next Christopher Kane, I don't even aspire to be that, I just want to create pieces that are quietly serving a purpose and get a good loyal following.

There is such a movement happening at the moment towards buying less but better, I can really feel it in London and it's really nice that it’s happening and to be part of it is also extremely exciting because you realise that people will spend a little bit more money and they're not bothered about whether it’s a big brand, not bothered about the name anymore, it's more about is it made well,what does it feel like. You know people are so open minded which is really exciting."


Film by Javier Sola