HAPPINESS IS COLORS AND SUNSHINE – Carla Grima grew up in a creative family, and like her ceramic artist dad, surrounded herself by bright colors. Carla exudes positive vibes & smiles throughout this interview
Despite not being interested in ceramics, Carla was always obsessed with textiles and photography. She’d make paintings out of textiles, play around with fabrics and capture moments. The logical next step was fashion, and her vision, which is to capture natures luxury through high quality silks, cotton and wool fibers, was born. Her collection is a true reflection of her colorful happy self.
But.. who is SHE?
Always starts her day off with tea and yoga.
Never leaves the house without her amazingly colored Christian Lacroix diary.
Thinks guilty pleasures make your character. She’s happy to share her Beyonce moments – chocolate, of course.
Climed the highest mountain in Marocco, the Atlas – To test her knee after surgery caused by a paddleboarding accident. The climb was painful but an a-ma-zing, breathtaking experience. So, so worth it.
Has a lot of floral prints and scarves in her wardrobe.
Would never pick up something checked. It’s the one print she really doesn’t like!
Is not about fitted dresses.
SHE, Carla Grima – shares with us, her studio, stories, and sneak peaks of her new collection
When was your AHA moment
I think at 16, when I went to see a Balenciaga exhibition in Paris. I was like ‘ahhh I want to do this!’ At that moment I was in product design so I made the switch to fashion.
So what happened?
The ball started rolling when a friend took my collection to the Caribbean to sell for us, and gave us pretty great feedback – that was the push I needed to do this.
What was the hardest challenge you had to overcome while building your brand?
Learning how business works. I’m really not business minded. I still find it really hard to keep track of things like databases, excel sheets – but I have to get used to it because the collection is there for a month of a season and the rest will be business. Always. Keeping our production going is also a major challenge, between recruiting a skilled team, and testing fabrics.
Where is that happening?
At the moment we have 3 studios in malta – every one is set up for different fabrics. One is set up for jersey, some for the chiffons (lightweights), and one for the heavier silks. That way we don’t confuse them with all the fabrics, and the machines are set. They are amazing, all very individually skilled, but freelancers, so its stressful on production times, because if they have their own projects, we are not their priority. Its quite tough to stick to deadlines, it’s the part that stresses me out most.
What does your mood board look like?
Amal Clooney, Karlie Kloss, color-scemes, lots of 70s looks.. Our whole collection is made up around this character that travels through the Mediterranean. Sun, sea, nature, wind.. A sense of travel – I mean, the luxurious way naturally.
Yes – always, always. It always turns out differently. I really believe in brainstorming, I’m constantly jotting down ideas and learning how that process works as I go along. It’s nerve wracking at times. I just know its impossible to work out the first time. That’s the journey really.
How was the journey for the designs of this Fashionweek?
Ohhhh, very challenging! This season – There was a whole consignment of fabric that arrived damaged from the UK. We had signed up for Fashion week and we had NO fabrics! I didn’t think we could have everything ready but we do. I stressed over it, but you just have to accept that its not in your hands, so there is really nothing you can do except pester people, become annoying and harass them. “Please can I get it today? Please, please, I need it today”.. Unfortunately I’m the shy type and I hate these situations, but in the heat of the moment, nothing holds you back and this usually works.
How do you keep your head cool at those moments? Do you have a mantra you live by?
I don’t think I have a particular quote stuck in my head, but I’m quite a calm and positive person. So I always to reflect that in my day. If things are not going well, I have to think about how to make things better. It’s a mental thing, mindfulness. I believe in knowing how to control your mind. It reflects your work and how your day goes.
What is your next step on the local scene
There is a new market in the fashion world, that’s been labeled luxurious destination wear, and that’s where I want to fit in. It’s for designers that have a summer collection all year around, and their advise was that we are getting there, but we have to have swimwear. So now we’re here!
We started off with quite simple designs and prints, and will hopefully grow throughout summer. We just want to get out there, increasing local distribution, finding our niche, and recognising the customers that can also help grow our brand.
Fashion Week seems to be the right step! What is your biggest dream?
Grow globally, take it out of Malta. Based here, but grow internationally in the correct market.
And how would you go about doing that?
Rather than target places like Ibiza, Mykonos and st tropez, we realized that people who go there, have to shop before getting to these destinations. So, we are instead turning our focus to the countries they depart from. London, being an obvious candidate, is where we are best connected. So, we intend to build contacts with places like Harrods, since they are pushing this Luxury Destination wear niche. Fingers crossed
Wishing you all the luck, positivity and good vibes in the world! Till then, see you at the show!