Meet model-turned-luxury bag designer Marla Singh-Walton

Marla Singh Walton made her mark on the international fashion industry early on when she graced the pages of Italian Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle, as well as becoming one of the first Indian models to land a lucrative campaign for Revlon. She has since gone on to establish her own handbag brand Marlafiji. Now running into its fourth year, Marla took some time out of her busy schedule to chat to about her brand and her working day.

Marla Singh Walton

What made you decide to launch your own bag range?
I have always had this thirst for beautiful handbags, so it seemed like a no-brainer when I decided to launch my own range of handbags.

How influential is your modelling career to your brand?
Very! After modelling for some of the world’s top fashion designers and always being surrounded by beautiful clothes and accessories, it does tend to rub-off on you. I began to develop my own sense of style; mixing and matching became my great hobby so I guess it was inevitable that I would end up remaining in fashion.

What key skills are essential to start your own business in fashion?
I always call it the three D’s: disciplined, determined and direction. A new business is like a baby (especially in the beginning) as it requires 24-hour attention and you have to make sure you’re on board to always be there for it. Lots of early mornings and late nights! However, by saying all this I really feel it’s worth it.

What is a typical working day like for you?
I’m up at 6am. I live near a park which is on the harbour so I love to start the day off with a long walk. I’m usually in the office about 8am I check my emails and attend to any queries my assistant has collated for me.

We then go over any designs that have been left unfinished, then we check the orders coming through the website. If new designs have come in I meet with my photographer to shoot the bags for the website.

Often we have a delivery from Italy, so the warehouse informs us once each bag has passed the quality check is ready to be shipped out for a delivery. By 6pm we are back on the phone liaising with our craftsman in Italy to see when the next range is ready. By 7pm we call it a day and do it all over again the next day! What ever happened to holidays?!

Future plans?
I know it sounds cliché however we want to become more involved in certain charities and to give back a whole lot – you don’t have to look too far to see that someone might need your help.

Shop the range of luxe Italian Marlafiji bags here.

Original interview by JoJo Iles for London Fashion Week 2014.

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