Orley is a knitwear label designed by Matthew Orley, Alex Orley and Samantha Florence that specializes in fusing craftsmanship and design to create unique and exciting products. The Orley aesthetic draws on an array of influences, however, instead of appropriation, the Orley brand recontextualizes these influences to create something that is visceral and idiosyncratic. Orley is ultimately defined by its artful combination of humor and elegance.
The Fall Winter 2012 collection is a full immersion in color, with a subversive nod to the designers shared interest in the tropes of classic American menswear. The collection is also a study in innovative construction techniques, such as double-faced jacquards and complex intarsias.
The Spring Summer 2013 collection, like Fall Winter 2012, is an exploration of several ideas through the lens of mid-twentieth century America. The starting point for the collection was a shared trip to the renovated Islamic Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The designers found inspiration in the intricate tapestries and reinterpreted them through their shared interest in twentieth century modernism and bold 1960s graphic design. These aesthetic details were combined with a study of texture and innovative stitch techniques.
Matthew and Alex were born exactly twenty months apart in Detroit, and attended a summer camp in Algonquin Park, Canada. It was there that a young Matthew met Samantha, whose tomboy style caught his eye. Hailing from Toronto, she learned the retail trade from her grandfather who brought European fashion to the Great White North with her family’s eponymous department store, Creeds. Matthew and Alex also developed an early interest in fashion, spending their high school years working in competing retail stores located across the street from one another, often spending their breaks together discussing their own fashion futures.
As Matthew and Sam began a courtship that took them from Algonquin to Paris and ultimately New York, they both found work in the fashion industries. At the same time, Alex was also making his way in New York where he did double-duty studying Art History at NYU and working at rag & bone. Upon graduating, he attended Parsons, studying knitwear, tailoring, and pattern-making, which would become the foundations of the Orley brand.
Matthew, Alex, and Samantha, while young, have nearly ten years of shared experience in the fashion industry at companies such as Helmut Lang, rag & bone, and Thom Browne. Though the idea of working together had always been on the horizon, in 2011 the trio decided it was time to strike out on their own with their inaugural collection of knitwear for Fall Winter 2012.