Marina Raphael Luxury Handbags
There’s no better accessory than a handbag! They’re practical, expressive, and are often the finishing touch to a beautiful outfit. Marina Raphael, the CEO and designer of the eponymous luxury handbag brand, knows this well.
Marina designs thrilling, unique bags that are as stunning as they are practical. As a sixth-generation member of the Swarovski family, she gains inspiration from her family heritage. Evident in the crystal embellishments featured on some of her designs. Read on to learn more about Marina Raphael and the luxury brand she created.
When was your brand born? Which features make your bags different and unique?
Marina Raphael: The launch of Marina Raphael took place back in 2018. During my teenage years, I ventured into the world of event planning. But I quickly understood that I wanted to create a product that was more long-lasting. While I was studying at King’s College London, it became clear to me that my calling lay somewhere between entrepreneurship and fashion. It was then, that I decided to create a handbag brand with the aim of making every individual feel confident while wearing my designs. Every Marina Raphael bag is forged with the highest quality standards in mind. Staying true to the brand’s core value of attention to detail, modern lines, timeless shapes, and practical silhouettes.
Why is sustainability important to the brand?
Marina: I personally believe that sustainable fashion is the future of fashion. With that in mind, sustainability has always been a core value of Marina Raphael. And that is why we continuously strive to find new ways to refine all processes. And adhere to the essential eco-friendly standards. From the very beginning, we have worked towards implementing innovative techniques that lead to a near-0-waste policy. Things such as upcycling, recycling materials and consciously tanning small quantities of leather. While constantly searching for new creative ways to evolve and reduce our carbon footprint. Additionally, it is our mission to create products that are not ephemeral. That stand the test of time. And can be passed down to generations.
In your opinion what makes a classic bag?
Marina: In my opinion, a piece is ‘classic’ when its aesthetic value remains everlasting regardless of seasons and trends. Undoubtedly, the Riviera bag holds this title, being our most signature style. I believe this is a true statement piece that can be worn on every occasion with its minimalist design, practical shape, and high-quality finishes. Even the Micro Riviera, which is our smallest size, is made in the most compact way to carry all your everyday essentials while maintaining a stylish and modern look.
You come from a family of strong female leaders, how has that helped you as a young entrepreneur?
Marina: I feel very humbled coming from such an entrepreneurial, creative and innovative family. I have always been lucky enough to be surrounded by strong influential women in my life. They served as my inspiration and taught me the true meaning of female empowerment and equality. Having instilled in me, from a young age, the importance of hard work, and dedication, I sought out to set my own career path and implement these values in my homonymous brand. Today, I try to live up to the legacy set by my ancestors. And carve my own path, by creating accessories made with the same attention to detail, impeccable design, and innovation.
You are very young and yet you are already in charge of your own luxury handbag firm, have you encountered more difficulties being a young woman at the head of your own company?
Marina: Being a young entrepreneur certainly has its advantages and disadvantages. I am very motivated and eager to grow my business and make a name for myself in the industry by raising awareness about sustainable luxury fashion. However, my youth is often seen as a sign of inexperience. Making it difficult sometimes to prove to other people in the business that I am just as much of a professional as everyone else.
There have been several occasions where I felt people were doubting my work because of my age. But I do believe that the fact that I am constantly working on my craft, learning new things, and finding ways to continuously evolve and push the boundaries of “conventional” fashion gives me an edge, rather than a setback. Nevertheless, I am very lucky that my team respects me as a boss and as a professional, despite the age difference I have with many of them.
How would you describe the Marina Raphael muse?
Marina: The Marina Raphael muse is not defined by trends, they are confident and elegant and always make sure they showcase their personality through their style. They are not afraid to experiment and mix and match vintage pieces with upcoming and established luxury brands. They are unique individuals with strong voices that advocate for their beliefs and go after what they want, unapologetic and unconventional in their own nature.
What’s in your bag? And in your future?
Marina: As I spend most of my time in the office or running from appointments to business meetings, I opt for a bag that is practical, fits all my daily essentials, and can elevate even the simplest of my outfits. For me, this bag is the Mini Riviera. Some of the things I carry in my bag, that help me get through such busy days, are a lightweight day cream with SPF, a refreshing travel-size perfume, a hydrating lip balm, AirPods, and a small power bank because my iPhone always runs out of battery.
I have so many dreams and plans for Marina Raphael! One of my biggest aspirations for the future is to open my own flagship store and continue growing the representation of my brand, in our amazing retailers all over the world. Another exciting project which will be launching this spring is our first line of exclusive cosmetic pouches and cardholders.