Orley’s Family Values
PHOTOS: KINYA. STYLING: ANNA KATSANIS/ATELIER MANAGEMENT. HAIR: LAURA DE LEON/JOE MANAGEMENT USING ORIBE HAIR CARE. MAKEUP: CEDRIC JOLIVET/SEE MANAGEMENT USING MAC COSMETICS. PROP STYLIST: KAITLYN DU ROSS WALKER/HONEY ARTISTS. CASTING DIRECTOR: DAVID CHEN. MODEL: RYAN KEATING/SOUL ARTIST MANAGEMENT. SPECIAL THANKS: FORGOTTEN WORKS STUDIO.
If you’ve read anything about New York-based fashion label Orley, you’ll know that the idea of family has always been an important constant. There’s the obvious: launched with a capsule knitwear collection in 2012, Orley is named after its three founders and designers, brothers Alex and Matthew Orley, and Matthew’s wife Samantha Orley. All three Orleys have long been interested in fashion: while Matthew and Alex worked in retail in their home state of Michigan, Samantha comes from a “fashion-centric” family. “Her grandfather owned a high-end boutique in Toronto that was really the first store to bring European designers to Canada,” notes Alex.
But family also permeates the label’s aesthetic. For Orley’s Spring/Summer 2016 menswear collection, for example, the designers drew inspiration from Matthew and Alex’s parents and the early days of their marriage in the 1970s. Points of reference for last month’s Spring/Summer 2017 menswear show included the late artist Mike Kelley, filmmaker Todd Solondz, and family photos.
“We really don’t know where the collections are going,” explains Alex. “We know what we stand for, and in that sense we think it is better to have a sense of what we have done, and how to maintain continuity, then to worry too much about where that will take us creatively,” he continues. “The men’s and women’s collections tend to play off each other, and part of that is the aesthetic identity shouldn’t be too disparate between them, but the individual products are different.”
Orley’s focus on identity is clearly working: in 2015, the brand was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize and, earlier this summer, the three designers took home the CFDA Swarovski Award for Menswear. As for the future, Orley is focusing on “engaging directly” with customers. “Oftentimes the brand message can be distorted when filtered through the lens of a particular retailer,” says Alex. “It is important for us to find ways in which we can communicate with customers directly.”
FOR MORE ON ORLEY, VISIT THE LABEL’S WEBSITE.