Marina Ruy Barbosa

"People are looking for conscious and intelligent consumption” 

An inescapable name in the Brazilian artistic scene, Marina Ruy Barbosa’s career is almost as old as she is. The young woman, now 26, started (and continues) as an actress. She is a model and very recently (officially) a businesswoman. During the pandemic, with the slowing down in the pace of work, the chance arose to put one of her greatest dreams into practice. And thus, Ginger came into being, a fashion label based on respect for nature and committed to making the future a better place. Marina, or the many Marinas that it encompasses, says she is in a constant learning process and in a fight against the ephemeral and superficial. Just like the brand she has created. That’s why she has designed it with purpose and sewn it with dedication. The result: it has been a success.

Still so young and with a long career already. You started acting early on, but did you always know you had other passions besides acting? 
I love being an actress and it's something I want to pursue for the rest of my life, but I like being a multiple woman and cultivating other passions besides acting. Fashion has always been present in my life because of my career, but it is an interest that came about ever since childhood. As the years went by and with the opportunities generated by my work, this interest has only grown and developed – until we got to the launch of Ginger, my fashion brand.

Marina actress, Marina designer, Marina philanthropist, Marina businesswoman. Different Marinas, but the same Marina. How many Marinas are there left to meet?
There is just one Marina and many Marinas at the same time. I think it’s important and healthy to invest in different interests and I’m happy to have the courage to venture into new projects. I like to pull myself out of my comfort zone, to challenge myself and, mainly, to build new paths. Every woman has the right to be whoever she wants to be and to fulfil multiple roles, whatever they may be. I am happy with my choices. Marina is a person who is on a learning journey, in constant evolution, and new versions of me will certainly emerge in the coming years. I want to be a better person every day and constantly rediscover myself in the midst of this process. 

In fashion, in Ginger, are you able to better show a little bit of each one of them, in each collection?
Ginger has brought another side of me to the surface and has become a new form of expression. The process of creating the collections gives an outlet for my love of fashion and my aesthetics. But despite being involved in this important step, I don’t create the clothes thinking about myself. I want customers to feel confident and empowered by my pieces and to naturally identify with Ginger. It’s not about me.

When and why did you start thinking more seriously about this fashion project?
The desire to embark on a business has always been inside me, wanting to put my face out into the world. I’ve always been aware of market movements and, over the years, I’ve been getting involved in business in a more timid way. Meanwhile, in my acting career, I was always surrounded by important projects that needed my dedication and energy. So I had to save my plans and my more ambitious ideas for the right moment. Then came the pandemic, which forced me to slow down and rethink some things. After a lot of reflection and maturing, I decided to set up my own brand that would give new meaning to the way we see and use fashion. This reduction in my workload allowed me to have more time and finally get Ginger off the drawing board. It was a way to let this other part of me emerge and give birth to a new way of connecting with fashion. I found myself, once again; now, in the role of an entrepreneur.

"We don’t feel obliged to follow the traditional fashion calendar”

Do you make a point of being at every stage of the creative process? What drives you?
I am 100% involved in all stages and areas of Ginger. I have more affinity with the areas of creation and communication, but as the founder, I try to understand all the processes of the brand. To lead and manage a company is to know the various sectors to be able to develop a solid business strategy. But it should be said that part of being an entrepreneur is also understanding what my strengths are and knowing how to look for complementary talents who can work in the areas where I have less experience and I’m less familiar with. I wanted to put together a competent team so that Ginger could be the best version of itself. Being a new company has its challenges and delights. Part of the delight is being able to follow everything closely, because it’s the moment when I’m defining what our brand is, how it will present itself to the world, what its values will be. My attention is fundamental, because all the steps need to be aligned with what I envision for Ginger. I couldn’t do it any other way; I surrender myself entirely to all my projects. It’s a constant learning process, both for the company and for me. We always want to learn and evolve, to look for new ways of doing things.

When the collection was launched, it sold out in 24 hours. And all of the profits were donated to an NGO that works in the favelas of Brazil. Is this social philanthropic nature of the brand also a characteristic that Marina imbued the brand with?
When we created Ginger, we knew that impact would be part of our DNA. This can happen in many ways: by supporting relevant social causes, making better choices when it comes to fabrics and raw materials, encouraging conscious and revised consumption, among other initiatives. We are very proud to have supported institutions such as Gerando Falcõesand Casa do Rio, which are great agents of transformation. We want to continue to be involved in important causes and contribute more and more.

What influences you? Where do your inspirations come from that you then pass on to Ginger?
Our inspirations come from the world of art and design. I had the privilege of experiencing fashion intensely from an early age: I’ve partnered up with major national and international brands, I’ve been invited to participate and attend shows at major fashion weeks abroad, I’ve been present on the red carpet at important events around the world. All these experiences have improved my repertoire and built many of my aesthetic references. This experience has opened my mind and always brought me a flood of inspirations. This close contact over the years has undoubtedly sharpened my eye. I’ve always been immersed in the world of fashion, but from a different perspective.

"We will always be looking for projects to support and get involved in”

What do you think is truly the secret of your brand’s success, distinguishing it from others?
I believe that success is made up of several elements, not just one. We offered a proposal different from what we see in the market, with a strong identity and purpose, as well as other elements that I consider indispensable in a fashion brand: a keen curatorship of design, with quality finishes and materials. And lastly, I believe that the market has understood what Ginger is and has connected with our vision. Perhaps this is the most important element, as it has shown that the brand is connected with the consumer of the future and responded to a latent demand. People are looking for conscious and intelligent consumption, more conscious choices and pieces with versatility, without giving up refined aesthetics.

The fashion industry is one of the most polluting in the world. Why can we say that Ginger is a sustainable project that looks to the future and the survival of the planet?

Ginger gives an insight into the fashion of the future, which is smarter and revised. We want to show that it is possible to have pieces that generate a positive impact, without losing quality and their fashionable nature. We don’t feel obliged to follow the traditional fashion calendar. We will launch new products when it makes sense and always with pieces we really believe in. One of the coolest parts of being an entrepreneur is being able to do things in a way that you believe in. Personally, I don’t think it makes sense to launch so many new collections during the year, just because of the obligation to be on the fashion calendar. We don’t want to follow the hymn sheet. For us it was also fundamental to present versatile clothes, which can be worn in many ways, without the burden of trends. For me, that’s the secret to a more conscious wardrobe: more quality in the choices. Our products will always be guided by the values we have established for the brand: quality, versatility and aesthetics. Another equally important part of our identity is the socio-environmental impact, whether in the choice of materials or support for important social causes. As a brand, we want to be an agent of transformation and this will also guide our steps. 

After a year and a half, what would you assess the adventure Ginger has been thus far?
I am very proud to say that our first year of Ginger has been very positive and surprising. We have enjoyed sales and engagement success ever since the launch of our first collection. Since then, Ginger has been making notable stirs within national fashion, supporting important social projects, forging great partnerships and establishing its image within the market. In 2020 alone, we closed the year with 1010% growth in turnover compared to the first month in the brand’s life. In the last quarter of 2021, growth exceeded 233%, not counting the opening of our first pop-up store. We have a lot to celebrate and to be thankful for! The brand is booming and we want to reinforce our commitment to smarter, forward-looking fashion. I am very excited, and full of plans, as Ginger enters another new year.

Where do you want to take Ginger, what are the short and long term plans?
In the coming years, we aim to establish ourselves as a major player on the national scene. We have already gained ground, but we have the opportunity to grow, position ourselves as an important fashion brand and gain importance within the market. Keeping e-commerce as the main tool is also among our priorities, always trying to improve the user experience. Now, with the opening of the new pop-up, one of our goals is to strengthen our omnichannel strategy. We also want to find new ways to continue contributing to important causes for the world. Promoting transformation is part of our DNA and we will always be looking for projects to support and get involved in.

T. Filomena Abreu
P. Fernando Tomaz
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