Designer Marina Raphael has long been known to be one that has an eye for attention and detail, and her S22 collection affirms just that. Her eponymous line of luxury handbags has been featured under both, her own brand and Swarovski, whom she is a heiress of.
Her newest collection features a myriad of changes
In an exclusive interview with Amanqi, she shared her journey with her most recent S22 collection.
Scroll below to see her responses.
Amanqi: Marina Raphael, the brand, has been gaining much traction and love, both online and offline, over the past few seasons. What do you think has been the most important point in the brand’s growth?
Marina Raphael: Since the launch of Marina Raphael, nearly four years ago, it has been a wonderful creative journey with so many memorable milestones along the way. Seeing clients from all over the world order our bags via our website, marinaraphael.com, receiving amazing coverage from the international press in a variety of esteemed publications, as well as having many influential and stylish people wear our creations are some of the most humbling moments we have experienced to this day. However, the most crucial point in the brand’s growth was the year 2020, as we chose to adapt to our new reality during the pandemic, by shifting our focus towards our online sales, and curating a marketing strategy that targeted social media. The results were phenomenal and our growth was exponential as we saw a 420% increase in our online sales, solely in the year 2020!
A: What can we expect to see from the brand in the upcoming SS22 Season?
M: In this SS22 Collection we are introducing some distinct new silhouettes with a diverse range of materials to choose from such as rich napa, lustrous satin, natural raffia, and canvas, garnished with an array of Swarovski crystals found either in the form of discreet droplets in the Chandelier bag or adorning the handles of the all-time- favourite Micro Riviera. In light of the current situation and anticipation for a brighter tomorrow, we wanted to pay tribute to the sun and its rejuvenating ability, by opting for a lighter colour palette with fresh colour combinations experimenting with playful and innovative techniques, such as laser-cutting, and creating stylish yet practical pieces that are ideal for any travel destination during the summer season.
A: With the new vegan Doina bag having already launched, what was your inspiration behind picking a more sustainable route?
M: As a brand, sustainability has always been at the core of our vision. 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. Channelling a shared vision of a fashion industry that has a positive environmental impact, I joined forces with sustainability consultant Doina Ciobanu to create a capsule collection of 3 handbags that combine elegance, style and affordability, all in one staple accessory that fosters a sustainable mindset. Each bag is crafted around a unique type of vegan leather made of the residuals of the industrial process of apples, along with a cotton structure comprised of both organic and recycled cotton fibres while an intricately sculpted chain completes the look. All materials are sourced and made in compliance with the environmental and regulatory standards, that our core partner Swarovski sets. Following our brand ethos of supporting important causes, for every Doina bag purchased we pledge our commitment to our planet, by donating the proceeds to Wells for Zoe Organization, towards planting 100 indigenous trees in Malawi.
A: Can we see more vegan bags from the brand in the near future?
M: I personally believe that sustainable fashion is the future of fashion. Hence, I feel very confident that we will continue to experiment with innovative techniques and explore new vegan options that are even more sustainable. Hopefully, we can look forward to a proud successor of our Doina bag very soon, since it has shown incredible success not only in terms of sales but also in terms of the sustainable culture it represents.
A: The Evangelie bag was trending this holiday season. What went into its design process?
M: Undoubtedly the Evangelie bag has been the true star of the show! Designed alongside my dear friend and artistic director Evangelie Smyrniotaki, we came together during the pandemic to create the ultimate sparkly accessory that would convey a message of joy, hopefulness and love in hopes of giving everyone the chance to ‘’sparkle’’. Its iridescent silhouette is composed of one uninterrupted panel of crystalized mesh that contains over 5.000 meticulously placed Swarovski crystals. While the crystal version in pink and black handles exudes a never-ending contrast between ‘’classic spirit’’ and “edgy modernity’’, the Jet Black edition is an alluring descendant, worthy of everyone’s attention. The Evangelie in Crystal and Jet Black are available for purchase on my website.
A: How do you personally style the Evangelie bag?
M: Because this bag is so unique and a true objet d’artes on its own, I like to style it with a more sophisticated and minimal outfit so its sparkle can shine through and elevate my look. In the evening, I would probably opt for a little black dress with an interesting neckline, a pair of Aquazzura heels finished with my favorite Swarovski jewelry.
A: What is the most exciting collaboration coming from the brand this year?
M: I couldn’t be more excited for our collaboration with the creative director and influencer Alex Riviere through which we introduce the cosmopolitan companion of everyone’s dreams! With a mission to design a handbag that can do it all, we created the Alex bag for women on the go. Working alongside Alex was an absolute pleasure! The whole process felt really effortless as we were perfectly aligned regarding the aesthetic and message we wanted to convey with this collaboration. Following in the tracks of Alex’s own fashion agenda, this bag combines impeccable craftsmanship with contemporary design. A crossover between a classic briefcase and an essential flap bag, shaped using crocodile embossed leather in caramel and black; this design can be worn for every occasion. A bag that catches the eye with its compact silhouette, simple angular gold buckle closure, and its timeless aesthetic.