Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Flower Power: Laura Ashley & Orla Kiely for Uniqlo

What do you get when you cross Japanese super-brand Uniqlo with the heritage of two of Britain and Ireland's best established print designers, Laura Ashley and Orla Kiely? Answer - two limited edition collections at Uniqlo, combining their sleek, modern shapes with two very different twists on Spring's most popular motif: flowers.
 Laura Ashley Limited Archive Collection for Uniqlo
A staple on the British High Street, womenswear label Laura Ashley was established by husband and wife team Laura and Bernard Ashley in London, 1953. Armed with a few home-made print screens, fabric and dye, they set about designing prints for headscarves. This small venture literally blossomed into the brand we know today. Floral designs in a country garden style are now synonymous with the company, found on everything from dresses to home furnishings. 
Laura Ashley for Uniqlo
Such a long, well established design history has left a sizeable archive; an archive the team at Uniqlo were able to make use of when choosing prints for their collection of t-shirts, tops and scarves.
Orla Kiely for Unique
Where the Laura Ashley collection showcases delicate florals and a muted pastel palette, the Orla Kiely collection is bold and graphic. Kiely studied textile design at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin before moving onto postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Art, London in 1993. Department store Harrods were so impressed with her graduation show, they commissioned her to design a range of hats. From then on, Kiely went on to consult for and work with a number of British High Street stalwarts like Marks & Spencer and Debenhams. Her own solo collections were next to follow, thus establishing her label worldwide.
Orla Kiely for Uniqlo
As with the Laura Ashley collaboration, Kiely and the team at Uniqlo dipped into the designer's print archive to find inspiration. The result is a vibrant collection of t-shirts, shirts and scarves, adorned with Kiely's signature retro flowers and fruits. 

Floral prints are a popular and familiar sight in Spring fashion collections from designer to High Street, helping to cast of the winter gloom and revel in the promise of light and colour. Uniqlo's clever partnerships are well-timed and perfectly pitched for the time of year, combining their minimalist, unfussy silhouettes with pretty floral prints and bold graphics. Collaborations like these are great for bringing established designers and labels to a whole new audience - variations on a tried-and-tested theme, these blossoms will bloom in the Springtime and beyond - into Summer.

Images courtesy of Laura Ashley & Uniqlo


  1. Dear Laura,
    What fun! I'm in the mood for a print. Too bad this isn't available in Canada.
    Best wishes for a lovely weekend!

  2. I'm always in the mood for a print - the cheekier the better! :)