Stem pattern designer closes shops

Fashion label Orla Kiely, known for its geometric prints (above), has closed its London store (left).
Fashion label Orla Kiely, known for its geometric prints, has closed its London store (above).PHOTOS: ORLA KIELY, REUTERS
Fashion label Orla Kiely, known for its geometric prints (above), has closed its London store.
Fashion label Orla Kiely, known for its geometric prints (above), has closed its London store. PHOTOS: ORLA KIELY, REUTERS

DUBLIN •The queen of prints is losing her empire.

Irish designer Orla Kiely, who built a fashion label around colourful 1970s-style geometric prints, has closed her online business and shops in Britain after parent company Kiely Rowan went into administration.

The designer, best known for a distinctive stem pattern that adorns everything from bags to bedding, founded her label in 1995. It became a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge.

The company's home and design licensing business will continue trading, selling accessories and homeware through distribution partners, it said on its website on Wednesday.

Named after the designer and her husband Dermott Rowan, the company added that it was entering voluntary liquidation "following various challenges" that have faced it over the past few years.

Kiely Rowan ceased trading on Monday and shut its two London stores in Chelsea and Covent Garden, and its Irish retail outlet in the upmarket Kildare Village shopping outlet.

It is believed that about 40 of the 50-plus employees, half of whom work in the stores and the rest at the head office in London, have lost their jobs, reported The Guardian.

Reuters noted that Kiely Rowan is the latest retailer on the British high street to go out of business or close shops as operators like House Of Fraser and Mothercare struggle with subdued consumer spending, rising labour costs and higher business property taxes as well as growing online competition.

London's Fashion and Textile Museum is currently exhibiting a selection of Kiely's work that includes more than 150 patterns and products, as well as collaborations with photographers, film directors and architects.

The A Life In Pattern exhibition will continue until Sunday as scheduled, a spokesman for the museum said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2018, with the headline 'Stem pattern designer closes shops'. Print Edition | Subscribe