Skip to content

In celebration of strong, independent, fearless women: Meet Marian Gaylard

This International Women’s Day we’re shining the spotlight on women who embody the Glamour woman. These dynamic trailblazers are championing equality through entrepreneurship. Occupying space, unapologetically.

Entrepreneur and owner of Desigual rights in Southern Africa at Desi-SA, Marian is intentional about celebrating diversity through the flagship store.

Glamour: What's the history behind the name Desigual as well as the unconventional logo design?

Marian: DESIGUAL (pronounced de-zi-gual) means “not the same” in Spanish and the logo is positioned backwards to emphasise the same; that this is a brand which celebrates difference, individuality and the unconventional.

Glamour: Who or what inspires you?

Marian: My mother Fosha has been a huge source of inspiration to me. She was a true example of a quiet leader. She was privileged to have been one of only two women (together with one of her best friends) to get a degree in computer science in the 1960s, when computers took up entire rooms and women were not encouraged to further their education. She was the one who provided financial support to our family when my father left the corporate world to become an entrepreneur. And yet, she was always available for us as kids, ready to do lift clubs and be just a mom.

Glamour: What's your approach to inclusivity and representation?

Marian: One of the reasons I fell in love with the Desigual brand was its inclusive approach. Many of our clothes are unisex, the size range and designs cater for individuals of all shapes and sizes. While hiring for my business too, I’ve tried to keep the team diverse, building on individual strengths to enable them to meet (and exceed) their potential, but having individuals who together bring cohesiveness. I believe that by empowering the team we are together able to build a stronger business. It is important that every team member represents and imparts the optimistic, adventurous and disruptive (in a positive way) nature of the brand.

Glamour: What's the story behind the location of the store as well as the designs? Is there a relationship?

Marian: Since we are the first and only licensed Desigual store in Southern Africa, the location of the store was of paramount importance. Since Sandton City is a premium shopping center in South Africa, it was a clear choice. Our store in Sandton City is a flagship store designed to provide the full Desigual experience to customers. It is an explosion of bold prints and colors.

Glamour: What does it mean to you to occupy space as a woman in 2022?

Marian: It is 2022 and sadly, women are still under-represented at executive levels in business and even fewer women venture out as entrepreneurs. I feel very privileged to have been able to do both, and in doing so I really hope to inspire other women to strive for and expect more. Nothing gets handed to any of us on a platter. It’s up to us women to support and inspire each other, and to demand more.

Glamour: Which women are on your radar right now?

Marian: My daughter, now 13. She is a young proponent of gender equality, who teaches me something about myself and my unconscious biases every single day.

Glamour: What's your advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs?

Marian: Take great leaps of faith. Don’t settle for the ordinary, and believe in yourselves.

Glamour: What does International Women's Day mean to you?

Marian: The theme for this year’s Women’s Day is #breakthebias and for me this is all about celebrating and valuing difference.

Follow @desiafrica on Instagram

Share this article: