Design with Practicality in Mind: How Designer Orla Kiely Elevates the Everyday

July 19, 2013 - Article reads in
Orla Kiely

Launched in the early 90s, when fashion was all about basic black, Irish designer Orla Kiely provided a fresh perspective with her bold use of colors and patterns—her signature prints graced everything from handbags to city buses.

Orla quickly caught Target’s eye, and the duo teamed up in 2009 for the Orla Kiely for Target home collection. The cheeky, energetic assortment included items such as printed laundry bags, plates, tapered totes and tablecloths.

As down-to-earth as her designs are popular, the key to what drives Orla is her fixation on the evolution of a signature style, devotion to quality and functionality. “My designs are based on quality and practicality,” she has said—a philosophy exemplified in her latest design project.

On July 21, Orla will team up with Target once again to debut a fun, feminine assortment of iPhone and iPad accessories, exclusively at Target.

Below, we chat with Orla about her chic new collection of cases.

Why team up with Target for a collection of cases? iPhones and iPads have become a huge part of our lifestyles. Our covers will make them stand out. To cover them with pattern and color, it looks very cool.

What inspired the designs? The collection was inspired by 1960s rainwear. I love printed shiny raincoats and gumboots from that time – they were so bold and colorful. I wanted the cases to reflect this; to be lively and fun.

There are a million cases options these days, what makes this collection so unique? The team developed this new printing technique to ensure the colors and patterns are bright and saturated—they’re very smooth and have a buttery finish. Of course, the strong prints and distinctive color palette hopefully set them apart

What does your design process look like for a collection like this? We usually start with color. And if we’re developing a new print or working with an archive print, we roughly sketch how the design will look in reality. We always consider the product that the print is going on.

So what type of case is on your iPhone? Right now, I have one of my own original phone cases, but I’m very excited to have one of the new Target cases when they are available.

We have to ask—what usually ends up in your Target shopping cart? I usually go straight to the home décor section. I think Target is very clever with their home designs, so my cart usually ends up pretty full.

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