The story behind the brand
Carla Grima is a true inspiration. Her lifestyle, work and ambitions are just, wow. She’s a very relaxed and positive person, who loves her cup of tea and yoga in the morning. Even her studio – where she works really hard from – feels filled with a tranquility and calmness that energizes every mind around.
We usually meet outside her studio, when we work on photoshoots, and even then, she impresses me how she juggles everything and still keeps her mind fully focused. How exactly though, is she keeping her ‘cool’ now that Malta Fashion week is in full swing?
Last interview I focused on Carla Grima herself, this time around I am excited to learn more about her vision, her brand. What are her thoughts on the consumption society? Where we all want more, more, more, and the cheapest of the cheapest? Where costs are largely reduced by taking advantage of lower prices in markets of developing countries.
Do you live consciously?
I try to live a healthy and balanced life and surround myself in an environment that influences me to do so. I was brought up to be very conscious of waste and it’s definitely ingrained into my lifestyle. Whether grocery shopping, eating out, or buying clothes… I really hate the idea of irresponsible shopping and over consumption.
As a fashion consumer and fashion brand, I form part of one of the largest polluting industries in the world and I feel responsible to help and do something about it – whether it’s organizing water clean ups or recycling fabrics, I’ve started to make more conscious decisions for myself.
Please tell us more about the production of your brand! Is it local?
Final production has now been moved to Italy. Fabric sourcing, fabric printing and production all happens in Milan, Como and Brescia. I have chosen to source labs close to each other to help minimize transportation for both economical and ecological reasons. My aim is to keep growing the brand internationally, and finding a production chain close to Malta was a vital part of getting to this stage.
So you have your studio in Malta, and a lab in Italy. Please explain what happens where?
Malta is the design hub and office. Here I design all prints and cut all paper patterns as well as manage day to day operations. Samples also get done in Malta by a freelance sewing team. Italy is all about the final stages of print and production and packaging.
How is the relationship with the people that work for you?
Locally my team is very small but I plan on growing this very soon. Sophie is the main seamstress who takes care of local orders and other smaller jobs locally. She always finds time to fit our orders into her busy schedule. We have been working together for about 3 years now, so we have quite a good understanding of each other’s work and techniques, making communication pretty smooth.
In Italy relationships with factories are also very informa,l and daily communication over WhatsApp keeps my mind at rest that work is progressing without my presence. I have full faith in both production teams when it’s time to problem solve and appreciate that everyone takes pride in producing a well finished garment.
All labs that I work with are run by women who have families and it always inspired me to see how much they love their work and family life , even in their craziest season, Milan Fashion Week, when they have last minute orders coming in from top Italian brands, they still make life seem balanced.
What about the fabrics you use? Is it hard to find the right materials?
Fabric sourcing does take some time. In my case it’s also about finding the right printer. I work exclusively with Italian producers and 95% of all fibers that I choose are 100% natural silk or linen, the other 5% are viscose which we hope to change to tencil by next year.
It’s really important for me to select lightweight fabrics that are breathable in our humid climate and soft on the skin. Sourcing in Italy is not the most cost effective way to start a business, but it’s much more sustainable than producing printed fabric in Asia.
Please tell us something about your designs and prints – What inspired you this time around?
My inspiration is always linked to nature; foliage, water, ombre shades in the sky or a serene mood. This collection is inspired by my Mediterranean surroundings and a recent adventure to the island of Dominica. It’s probably the boldest print collection to date with some new cuts. The brand is all about classic minimal pieces in bold confident colors. This often means that cuts do not change every season but the focus is built around new prints, keeping designs timeless and elegant!
Thank you Carla!
Your brand has always made me happy, but now, after learning more about it, perhaps even more so. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story behind your beautiful brand, and I can’t wait to see the show! Guess what I’m wearing?! Find out soon 🙂