If you haven’t heard of Molby The Label, where have you been?
The sustainable fashion label from Karina Molby burst onto the scene 4 years ago, captivating fashion fans with a selection of gingham, checkerboard and floral dresses in mixed colours.
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Molby’s dresses have since been spotted on countless influencers and celebrities, including Ellie Delphine, Megan Ellaby, Sara Waiste, Geordie Shore star Vicky Pattison, TV presenter Holly Willoughby, former Made in Chelsea star Louise Thompson…the list goes on.
I barely engage in an Instagram scrolling session without seeing the Tilda dress pop up, but I’m not complaining. Handmade by Molby and her team, each dress is a labour of love and it shows.
It’s also incredible to see a small business growing so fast and capturing something the high street can’t compete with, for once.
It seems there’s no stopping Molby The Label, which now boasts over 67,000 Instagram followers at the time of writing. The team has now added T-shirts, floral dresses and mixed-print tops to their roster, with even more on the horizon.
As part of Wear Next’s Meet The Maker series, in which we chat to the women behind the UK’s most popular sustainable fashion labels, I got the chance to chat to Karina about all she’s achieved with Molby.
Here, she tells me about her pinch-me moments, plans for the future and her advice for budding fashion creatives.
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Hi Karina! When did you start Molby The Label and what inspired you to do so?
Molby’s original name was Floor Fourteen about 4 years ago and later rebranded to Molby the Label about 2 years ago when I started to really find myself! I started the brand after spending years designing and making clothes for my friends and family and knowing it was something I loved and enjoyed. Fashion has always been something I was passionate about, even from a young age! But in particular, my interests were fashion design, pattern cutting and sewing. I gained a lot of experience in this area over the years working and interning at some fantastic places such as Johnathon Saunders. Here is where I discovered that drive and passion to want to run my own business.
What inspires your designs?
Honestly, I am inspired by my following and my customers. Of course I am inspired by fabrics and shapes and new silhouettes I have seen on the catwalk, I have my favourite brands and influencers that I am always interested in and loving but it is my customers that inspire me! I see them wearing my designs, love the way they fit and style them and then this can inspire me to add in a new colourway, a newer shape etc. I will go on to design different dresses based on what I can visualise on inspirational women such as my customers.
What’s been the biggest pinch me moment since you started the brand?
The biggest pinch me moment was when Megan Ellaby wore my Pink / Red Tilda dress and it was honestly the best feeling ever. She was already someone I loved and obsessed over but seeing her in my dress was just like ‘Right, okay, so this is my dream moment right here!’ My website and Instagram notifications just went bonkers, I sat and watched my phone as it just kept going off notification after notification. It was amazing and I feel very proud and lucky to have experienced that.
How long does it take you to cut and sew a Molby dress?
A single dress can take up to 4 hours to cut and sew but it can take a lot longer to think of the shape, pattern and then piece it together. I can visualise something and as you probably already know, I am all about mixing fabrics and prints, so sometimes, I can visualise it, put it together but something just isn’t right. For me, if I do not get that wow feeling about a dress, it is straight back to the drawing board and I will start again!
Why are small, sustainable brands like yours are so important to the fashion industry now?
Because people from a variety of age groups, both older and younger, are much more conscious shoppers now. When buying from a slow fashion brand like myself, our brand ethos is for the product development process to be as sustainable and ethical as we can possibly try to get it. This definitely resonates with our customers and it is part of their shopping experience to know where the item came from and that it is sourced sustainably before they decide if they want to purchase it.
What are your dreams for the brand’s future?
The dream for the brand would be to keep developing our designs even further in the hope to see some more famous and well known influencers and celebrities recognising Molby and wearing our brand.
Whilst hopefully being lucky enough to scale up the brand, we would love to potentially move into new premises. We have already outgrown our current studio and we have been here for less than three months! It is crazy to think about the pace in which we are growing but it is exciting and it would be amazing to grow our brand and our team further.
Who would you love to see wearing a Molby dress?
If I saw the girls from my favourite brand Haim in one of my Molby dresses I think I might cry!
What’s the hardest aspect of running your business?
Managing the pace in which we grow. My customers are my priority, I won’t ever lose sight of that and in growing, I want to ensure that my customers all feel just as special as when I had 3 orders a week to 300 orders and more a week.
Which other brands inspire you?
House of Sunny, MaisonCleo, Rixo, Ganni and of course, Saturday [by Megan Ellaby].
What advice would you give any other creatives looking to start their own business or brand?
Experience. Gain as much as you can. Get to know the industry, observe and learn from the people around you. Ask questions and just soak up as much knowledge of the industry as you possibly can so you are prepared for what is thrown your way and any challenges you may face.
What’s next for Molby?
We have some fantastic ideas for the future so watch this space. Strong designs, bigger checks, louder prints. Plenty of hard work and lots of fun, happiness and coffee!
Molby The Label regularly opens its orders, so make a note of the next restock date. Each piece takes 21 working days to arrive due to the handmade nature of the garments.
Tilda Dress, £135 – buy now
Bertie Dress, £145 – buy now
Patty Dress, £145 – buy now
Polly Dress in Rainbow, £135 – buy now
Strawberry T Shirt, £50 – buy now
Strawberry T Shirt, £50 – buy now