It’s a tough time for the British retail landscape, and sadly Orla Kiely is its latest victim. After 23 years in business, the brand has gone into administration, with stores closing down immediately – after its parent company Kiely Rowan went under.
A statement from the brand read, ‘Thank you for embracing our brand and designs throughout the years and for your ongoing support’.
Founded by Irish designer Orla Kiely, the brand was widely loved for its 70s style prints, and counted many celebrities and royalty amongst its fans.
Kate and Pippa Middleton, Alexa Chung and Sarah Jessica Parker were all fans of her floral midi dresses, and there was even an exhibition on the brand at the Fashion and Textile Museum just this year.
Some commentators have said that sadly, having celebrity endorsers just doesn’t make money, and that the brand was struggling in that middle-market range which competed against high end and cheap brands.
Black Friday 2021
The shock news came with reports that staff had to be escorted out of stores, with a source telling Mail Online, ‘Around lunchtime we were all called together where the CEO told us we were all out of a job… Some people just burst straight into tears. None of us saw this coming.’
There is a small glimmer of hope in all this, as it was announced that the homeware wouldn’t be affected, and would still be available for sale through retail partners.