Roll back time to September last year, I was struggling with shock and disbelief at the news that Orla Kiely, the much loved fashion label I’d spent my most of my twenties designing for, had gone into administration. Sadness ensued as I remembered back to the hard work of a small team of dedicated staff and designers - the amazing projects we’d collaborated on and the steep learning curve I’d undertaken as a young designer not long out of college. I’d always imagined the iconic Orla Kiely brand being around forever - I’d even hoped that once my children were older I may have gone back............ I can’t deny it didn’t rock my thoughts (and work) for a while, not to mention my worry for the current employees losing their jobs in such an unstable climate.
Fast forward 6 months, I was surprised to be sent an IG post (the power of Instagram!) about the launch of a new Orla Kiely furniture range - more scrabbling about on the internet, revealed the www.orlakiely.com website was relaunched and fully stocked. Things appear positive.........
Yesterday morning, I ducked out of taking the children to their football matches and made the trip up the A3 to ‘Barker and Stonehouse’ to see the launch of Orla’s new furniture range and listen to the question and answer session with the famous print/colour and pattern designer. Annoyingly, I could only stay for part of the interview, but whilst I was there she revealed childhood memories of being bought a Singer sewing machine by her father, followed by creative times at art college. She always knew she was being pulled strongly in that direction. Her first brand highlights had been seeing Charlotte in Sex and City wearing one of her ‘OK’ hats and the most unusual product she’d ever applied the stem pattern to was the prosthetic leg of a friend’s daughter. She spoke fondly of the bond within a design team; everyone bringing something different to the table, being honest within the group, and the euphoria of finally being happy with a design. Her advice was to be confident, mix scales of pattern - there are design rules, but be playful and experiment - don’t be shy and go for it. I wondered if this should be a metaphor for life? Well, my life anyway! 😂
To quote Barker and Stonehouse:
Iconic Irish print designer Orla Kiely has partnered with Barker and Stonehouse for the exclusive launch of her first ever upholstered furniture collection. Showcasing her signature style and playful patterns, the upholstered furniture range is a retro-inspired take on contemporary design.
Before the talk, I’d managed to have a look at the furniture by Orla and it certainly lives up to her signature style, bold colour and playful patterns. Have a scroll through these pics and see what you think?! You could even head over to the Barker and Stonehouse website and have a look. www.barkerandstonehouse.co.uk
I hear there are plans in the pipeline for more interiors from Orla and with her website restocked with bags and accessories I think it’s safe to say the Queen of Prints is back!
PS I don’t write blog posts often, but that’s because I want the content to be interesting and not just about selling knitwear. I hope you’ll stick around despite the lengthy gaps in between!
PPS Thank you to my 11 year old daughter for proof reading, editing and correcting my blog post and for the quick lesson on subordinate clauses. I knew these kids would come in use one day........ 🤔