Get To Know Jaspal's Latest Artist Collaboration: Orla Kiely
One of the most successful Thai fashion brands, Jaspal, has released a special collection with world-class Irish designer Orla Kiely. Renowned for its distinctive textile prints, Kiely's namesake brand is recognised and favoured by many including the future queen of England, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. In an exclusive interview, we dig into the designer's story, learning about her beginnings in fashion, the influence of her roots and what film genres inspire her the most.
Can you give us a brief chronology of your career prior to fashion?
Starting from the very beginning, I went to art school in Dublin. After that, I went to New York and worked for a big design studio over there, learning about colour and techniques. It was very useful. Then, I came back to Ireland and worked with a famous designer and then, in the late '80s, I worked for Esprit. It really suited me. Their style was very graphic very much like my own.
After that, I wanted to be more than a textile designer. I wanted to do more about the project. I went back to education and studied two years on a master's degree at the Royal College for Arts in London, and ever since we started our business.
What makes your design so recognisable?
I suppose they a very graphic because that's what I love. Clean lines, flat clean surfaces with bold colours. The style is pretty much strong, bold and simple, but that's not simple to do. There are lots of considerations to make.
Did you experiment with different styles before finding your own?
As a designer, starting out as an intern, you have to think about what they want from you. In those days, I had to do many different things, but it is always nicer for me and most to design in their own handwriting.
So tell us about your collaboration with Jaspal.
It came about at the end of last year. We were very excited because it is in Thailand, and I’ve never been here before, not until January. From the very beginning, it seemed like a very natural process. I think a lot has to do with the team at Jaspal. They’re so professional and lovely. Throughout the whole process, everyone was very lovely.
The Duchess of Cambridge has worn your brand. Can you tell us what it was?
She has worn us quite a few times. It's always such a pleasure. She's a very stylish woman. She wore a nice wool jersey dress and a dress with raised flowers, which looked very elegant on her. She also wore a floral print dress about a year ago. Every brand she wears, she’s a complete ambassador.
Where do you find inspiration?
Like any designer, I am always looking for new things and sometimes without even knowing, I am absorbing visually. I love exhibitions, films, photography and all the creative visual things that influence me.
Do you have a particular film genre you find inspiring?
I think it’s back to the '60s. I love the British sink dramas. The fashion in them is amazing. I also like French new wave. Thinking about Catherine Deneuve, there’s nothing more comforting than to sit and rewatch some of those old films again.
Since when did you know that this is what you love to do?
I think I've always known from a young age that I love my creative side, drawing, fashion, art and photography. I think I’m very visual. But I’m also quite logical, I think you can see it from my work.
How have your roots shaped you as an artist?
I think Ireland has been a huge influence, as where I was born and where I grew up. I've been lucky in some ways. My parents were very supportive. They always encouraged me to be creative. Many of my friends were told by their parents they should become doctors or do safe careers. I think it is very important for everyone to love what you do to have success.
What is your mantra when it comes to work?
Trust your creative instinct and go that extra mile. Be brave. Do it.
What are your plans now that you are in Thailand?
For one week, I'm going travel up to Chiang Mai, so you might see some Thai influences in the next seasons. It’s been amazingly special. What a special place, Thailand, with the temples and all the colours. I’m just blown away by the colours.
Find Orla Kiely's special collection with Jaspal at Jaspal outlets nationwide, and visit orlakiely.com for more of her.
See also: Eponine London Launches The Artisan Dress On HM Queen Sirikit's Birthday