Irish designer Orla Kiely has accomplished a lot. On top of a successful line of clothing and handbags, the London-based designer has her hand in the creation of a number of other products including wallpaper, kitchenware, stationery, and furniture. However, she is best known for her youthful prints which have adorned everything from cars and buses to water bottles and even postage stamps. Not to mention that Kiely’s immense talent for creating these pretty prints and patterns has spawned a plethora of design collaborations with the likes of Uniqlo, Brita, and Citroën cars (to name a few). Here, the aptly titled “Queen of Prints” answers some of our questions.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be involved in fashion?
My life has always been focused on design, color and print. I have always liked the same thing and been true to my style but growing up I always found it hard to find clothes that I loved. I remember when I would find something it was like an event! I wanted to design fashion that I loved and just hoped that other people would too!
Where do you find inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from the 1960’s and 70’s, the era of print and pattern. A lot of designs were inspired by contemporary art and architecture which is also something I have always loved. I have always said if I was not a fashion designer I would be an architect! I try to bring out the sense of energy and vitality that the 60’s and 70’s had.
Which aspect of design are you most passionate about?
My passion will always be for print. I design everything in house and simply love coming up with cute and original prints each season that are all exclusive to us. We have always been known for our colorful and bold prints and so I always try to design something that will excite and surprise our customers each season!
You are involved in a lot of projects. How do you stay balanced?
Each year we get involved in lots of different creative projects and collaborations and, however many we do, each one is always special and exciting. I am lucky enough to work with my Husband, Dermott, so this helps to keep my work life balanced and in control. We discuss everything together and living just a short stroll from the office means I am never far from everything. So, even when we are going though extremely busy periods, especially design deadlines, I can be home quickly. My home life is so important to me and being able to relax with my two boys and my dog Olive keeps my life in balance.
Which recent purchase are you most excited about?
I recently got a Raleigh bike in pillar box red with a gorgeous brown leather saddle and handle bars. It’s still a little chilly outside but I can’t wait to take it for a spin.
The holidays have finally come and gone. What was your favorite thing about this holiday season?
It’s the perfect time to spend with all my family and I got the chance to go back to Ireland and see everyone together. You can’t get better than that! But I also love the excitement and buzz in the air. Everyone is in high spirits and it’s a time to reflect on my life and everything I’ve achieved.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
To be able to rewind time so we could all live in the 60’s!
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