A favourite look at the recent Melbourne Cup was the red ensemble worn by Channel 7 presenter- Francesca Cumani. Imagine my surprise when I learned that this stylish outfit was designed by Brisbane’s own Marla Jackson. Marla is a local designer who has always had a passion for horses. Working in the racing industry and having a partner who is a jockey has meant that she has spent a lot of time trackside. She has now turned her passion for dreaming up outfits and dressing up for the races into a unique business with her ready-to-wear race wear label- MARLA. I spoke to Marla to find out more about her life, business and style.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
My name is Marla and I am the designer behind the ready to wear race wear label- MARLA. I was so horse mad as a kid that I wanted to do anything related to horses and I guess it has sort of panned out that way.
What are you most proud of?
My personal growth.Watching my label grow has been amazing , but the change in myself as that has happened has been the ultimate reward.
Who inspires you?
Gabrielle Chanel- her style is timeless.
What has been a life changing moment for you?
Meeting the two women who encouraged me to start my business. I wouldn’t be where I am today if we hadn’t crossed paths.
What drives you?
Growth. Every Sunday I take time out to journal my progress. It is a great motivator.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt in life?
Keep educating yourself-even when you think you know enough it is important to keep learning more.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Close friends kept telling me I was my own best advertisement. I was so incredibly shy, so I had to really push myself in order to put myself out there- it has certainly paid off though.
Quote to live by?
Sarah Blakely -the founder of Spanx once said, “ Set a goal so big you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can.”
What are your top 3 bucket list items?
- I’ve just ticked off the biggest one of all- dressing Francesca Cumani from Channel 7 on Melbourne Cup Day.
- Fabric shopping in India- I’m hoping to tick this one off early next year.
- Being stocked by a major retailer.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be putting more focus on the clothing side of the brand. I’ve spent the last few years focussing on the hats but now it’s time to really promote the other side of my label.
What’s your greatest regret?
Not originally having the confidence in myself to start my business earlier.
What are your keys to happiness?
Simple things like taking my two dogs to the park and spending quality time with family and friends.
Going to the races is one of the last places where we ladies can show our unique style and really dress to impress. Marla’s fashions are traditional, timeless and elegant much like this gracious lady herself. Her own beautiful pink outfit won the coveted Fashions on the Field prize at this year’s Melbourne Cup. Marla shows that believing in yourself and working hard are important keys to success. This talented Brisbane designer, who followed her passion, is the greatest advertisement of all for her beautiful race wear.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).