SolloLondon, based in central Reigate, is the new indie in town. Imbued with a whirlwind of enthusiasm and energy that emanates from founder Marlla Church, Sollo offers wearable fashion-forward clothes for women who like to express themselves but feel at ease: clothes that can take you from casual, to meeting, to occasion with only a tweak or two. Marlla, originally from Brazil puts all the passion and fun you’d expect from a Brazilian into her business where she’s the designer, buyer and manager.
“I absolutely love Reigate,’ she says. “We moved here for my husband’s job, but everyone is so friendly and takes time to talk here. It’s not like so many places nowadays where people don’t have time. It’s a great place. We’ve only been open a couple of months, but people already stop by to say hello and see what’s new. That’s special.”
Marlla has lived in enough places to make an evidence-based judgement. She studied fashion design in her native Brazil (where she had the first ‘Sollo’ line) and then did an MA in Europe, after which she met her husband and they moved to New Zealand where she ran a Kiwi version of Sollo. But Marlla is determined that Reigate is home for the foreseeable future.
“It’s a great place to raise a family,” she says. “I see kids here all the time, out and about in little groups of friends. It’s amazing and I love that they have proper freedom and it’s safe. Plus everyone says the schools are great and there’s countryside and Priory Park. It’s really fantastic.”
Marlla spends three to four days a week at the shop, with the rest of her time spent either traveling to trade shows to hunt out designers, or designing clothes herself. “Currently we do one collection a year,” she says. “That’s our Sollo label, and it’s always a Summer collection. We love French, Danish and UK style, and that’s what we tend to sell – as well as our own label which we’re planning to expand to design and sell more collections each year. ”
Marlla says it’s a testament to the support that businesses give each other in Reigate that within a week of her opening, the staff of Gerrards popped into the shop to meet her and wish her well. “It’s really supportive here,” she says. “The independent shops here are great, and they’ve really welcomed me, too. Reigate has everything you want from a city – movies, great food, bars, shops, cafes, events – but you can go hiking and it’s small enough so people are really sociable. A great combination of people and nature.”
As well as designing the exclusive SolloLondon collections, Marlla also offers a styling consultancy. “I love to get someone to really feel great in their clothes; to express themselves. Fashion is about self expression, and style consultancy brings everything I love – people, style, fashion and designing – into one place and I really enjoy it.”
With such a bright a shining presence in Marlla, SolloLondon looks set to be another star in Reigate’s thriving indie boutique scene.
53A High Street
Reigate RH2 9AE