10 mINUTes wItH mARiNa RApHaeL

Meet the founder behind a bag brand championing craftmanship

Words by Koibird Fashion Team

Who or what inspires your designs?

My primary sources of inspiration are my travels and my surroundings, so each season I like to gather all the photos I took from my trips and create a mood board before I start designing.

When I think of individuals who always inspire me, I cannot forget to mention my beloved grandmother, Marina, whom I have been admiring for her impeccable style and hard work, ever since I can remember and I consider her to be one of my biggest role models.

The ‘Riviera’ is undoubtedly one of your most iconic bags; What is it about this style that keeps it a constant style season?

The Riviera bag is our signature and my all-time favourite design. For me, this is a bag that never goes out of style and fits in with every trend or season, making it the definition of a statement piece. The structural, architectural shape is the perfect canvas each season for new fabrications and prints. I love seeing it come alive in completely different ways each season. Even the Micro Riviera, which is our smallest size, is made in the most compact way to carry all your everyday essentials.

What does Sustainability mean to you?

As a brand, sustainability has always been at the core of our vision. For me sustainability really comes down to caring behaviour and longevity…From the start we have worked towards implementing innovative techniques that lead to a near-0-waste policy, such as upcycling, recycling materials and consciously tanning small quantities of leather, while constantly finding new creative ways to evolve and reduce our carbon footprint.

“fOR mE SUSTaiNABILiTy REaLLy cOmeS DOwN To CaRinG BeHaViOUR anD LOngEViTy.”

Craft and care are cementing pillars of your brand, how important is it to you to support local artisans?

In my opinion the most important aspect of a Marina Raphael handbag is the craftsmanship that goes into creating it. This is what sets us apart and that can only be achieved by the unwavering dedication of local Italian artisans. We partner with small communities of men and women, who infuse their knowledge and give life to our state of the art accessories. Our active support of family businesses and local economies not only benefits our society, but reduces the amount of fuel and energy consuming techniques required for every product. It also then minimizes our environmental impact.

Describe the Marina Raphael woman in three words

The Marina Raphael woman is defined by confidence, elegance and fearlessness

If you were to take your Marina Raphael bag out for dinner - which restaurant would you pick and why?

I would definitely choose Isabel’s, as it is one of the most distinctive restaurants in London. The atmosphere is always so warm, elegant and sophisticated yet vibrant and unique at the same time. Our Chandelier bag, adorned in an array of Swarovski crystal droplets would be the perfect date in that setting.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

A piece of advice that I remind myself of on a daily basis is simple but powerful. It was to stay driven, passionate and true to your brand’s core values. Reminding myself constantly of who the Marina Raphael woman is helps us stay on course and build a consistent brand to remember. Being persistent and hardworking is the key to accomplishing all your goals and future aspirations!

“DUe tO a LOng peRIOD Of isOLaTiON..iT LeD Me tO Re-EXaMinE tHe mEANiNg OF fASHiOn AnD MaDe ME ReALIsE My NEw-fOUnD tENDeNcy Of CaRRyINg LeSS.”

When it comes to your own choice in bags, do you prefer micro or maxi?

Personally, I prefer micro bags. Due to a long period of isolation and social restrictions caused by the pandemic, it led me to re-examine the meaning of fashion in these unforeseen times. This made me realise my new-found tendency of carrying less; a habit I also noticed in most of our clients too which raised a high demand for all-day mini bags. That is why for SS22 we opted for smaller and more compact silhouettes, combining practicality with aesthetics, that are versatile enough to be worn from day to night and able to carry all essentials.

How should one style their Marina Raphael bag?

The sky's the limit! As a fashion designer, my biggest goal is to design for all these incredible individuals around the globe and inspire them to wear my creations and make them truly their own. I encourage everyone to wear their Marina Raphael bag in a way that showcases their personality through their own unique style…That is why I love seeing people being creative and coming up with versatile ways to wear my designs such as a crossbody, over the shoulder or even as a belt bag and backpack.

What would we find inside your Marina Raphael bag?

Now that most meetings and appointments are done via zoom, I no longer need to carry many things in my day-to-day bag. I usually opt for the Micro Riviera in Raffia, and carry my wallet, my phone, and a scented hand-sanitizer. I also don’t forget my phone charger because I never fail to run out of battery by noon!

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