• new story!
    AT HOME AND AT WORK WITH ORLEY
    The young menswear designers, and recent Vogue Fashion Fund Finalists, give us a peek into their eclectic and colorful world.
    Sept 16, 2014  |  BY TARIQ DIXON
    While Orley is approaching only its third year in business, the team's personal roots run far deeper than the company's inception. Comprised of brothers Alex and Matthew, and Matthew's wife Samantha, the young menswear label tells a rare and endearing story, of forging a legacy, while keeping it all in the family.

    A perfectly complementary trio, one that only fate and genetics could craft, they left their positions at notable fashion companies to collectively try their hand at shaking up American menswear. Known for a bold use of color and inventive applications of knitwear, the young brand has already been lauded for injecting men's fashion with some much-needed vibrancy. 2014 has treated the brand especially well, including a coveted spot in CFDA's Fashion Incubator, along with a nomination for the Vogue Fashion Fund Award. But most importantly, nee Samantha Florence officially became an Orley, as the childhood friends (who met at elementary school summer camp) tied the knot this past summer in Aspen.

    Amidst wedding planning, designing a new collection and preparing for meetings with Anna Wintour, the trio invited us to their Garment District studio to talk process and inspiration.

    Calling upon memories from their high school days at Cranbrook - the stomping grounds of mid-century masters of design - their Fall '14 collection borrows from the era's geometric motifs, rich color palettes, simplicity and sophistication. Unabashed in color, pattern and unconventional uses of knitwear, the collection heightens the brand's sense of irreverence, but without compromising its signature maturity.

    Upon visiting the designers' homes, the brand becomes immediately evident as a comprehensive lifestyle. Adorned in richly colored textiles from Turkey and Central Asia, placed alongside contemporary artworks and stacks of art books, the designers surround themselves daily with sources of inspiration. All three consider both the home and brand as natural extensions of themselves, but make valiant efforts to keep the two worlds separate. Newlyweds Matt and Sam have gone as far as banishing computers from their home, allowing time for music, cooking and simply enjoying each other's company.

    Read more about our time spent with Alex, Matt and Sam at their NYC apartments and studio.
  • What did you feel was lacking in menswear when you decided to launch the brand?

    Matthew: Color without a doubt. But beyond that, our perspective is just really different from what was already out there. When people see the product, they immediately get a sense for who the Orley guy is. The point of view is very clear, and there isn't anything else like it in the designer market. We take classic silhouettes that guys are comfortable wearing, and give them a twist through color or texture.

  • Why did you choose to specifically focus on knitwear?

    Alex: Our focus on knitwear is really unique. It's a difficult product category, so most brands don't want to do knitwear, or it's the last category they develop. But for us, there's something really special about knits. They're tactile, visceral...You can touch and interact with them in a way that you can't with other products. There's a real emotion that comes from knits, and it's really the core of our brand - our DNA. The difficulty only makes it more fun to tackle.

  • When people see the product, they immediately get a sense for who the Orley guy is. We take classic silhouettes...and give them a twist through color or texture.

    - Matthew Orley

  • The brand is not really designed around an imaginary character, it's designed around me and Matthew.

    - Alex Orley

  • How would you say Orley the brand is represented in your home?

    Alex: The brand is not really designed around an imaginary character, it's designed around me and Matthew. So my home is reflection of who I am, in the same way the clothes are a reflection of who I am. It's all one story.

  • Are there any specific inspirations that are shared by your brand and home?

    Alex: Textiles are a big inspiration. My girlfriend grew up in Istanbul, and we've been spending a lot of time there recently. Every time we go, I tend to come back with more stuff that I didn't know I was missing. My little hobby of collecting is slowly becoming a hoarding problem. But we actually used some of the fabrics I brought back in our Spring '14 lookbook. We used one of them as a backdrop and another as a rug, and now they're both in my home.

  • My home is reflection of who I am, in the same way the clothes are a reflection of who I am. It's all one story.
    - Alex Orley
  • shop the story
    SPOTLIGHT: CENTRAL ASIAN AND TURKISH TEXTILES
    Rich in color and pattern, and relying on ancient techniques, the textiles of Turkey and Central Asia remain contemporary mainstays, even centuries after conception.
    Check out a few of our favorites below!
  • ...
    “We used this as our backdrop for our Spring '14 lookbook. It was hand-embroidered in Uzbekistan.”
    - Alex Orley
  • If you work with your spouse, it's not always easy to delineate work life from personal. But we really make an effort to keep the two separate.

    - Matthew Orley

  • ...
    "Alex and his girlfriend brought those pillows back for us from Turkey.”
    - Samantha Orley
  • How do the two of you work collaboratively to design the space?

    Matthew: Sam and I work extremely collaboratively, both at home and at work. But the fact is, she's way more handy than I am. Sam is a builder. She was born with a tool set and knows how to use it. I mean, she built our bed, our dressers, the bookshelves - even the backgammon set. We have a lot of shared tastes, and everything here is a reflection of that, but if it needs to be built, she's the one doing it, haha!

    Samantha: We also painted the dining room, the bathroom, the windowsills, the fireplaces - all of those little things that create more of a home. Obviously, we really love color, so we wanted to make the place seem more colorful and cheerful, but it also makes the space feel more comfortable, more personal.

  • How do you spend your time at home? What type of environment did you want to create?

    Matthew: Interesting question...If you work with your spouse, it's not always easy to delineate work life from personal. But we really make an effort to keep the two separate. We actually don't bring computers home, and have no technology in the bedroom at all - no phones, no iPads, no TV. I'm a huge tech guy, but we've really tried to minimize it at home as much as possible. Instead, we end up playing a lot of backgammon, playing music, we cook and try to enjoy each other's company outside of work.

  • We end up playing a lot of backgammon, playing music, we cook and try to enjoy each other's company outside of work.

    - Matthew Orley

  • shop the story
    DESIGN IDEA: MIX-AND-MATCH YOUR PILLOWS
    Add new dimension to your sofa by mixing and matching pillows across patterns, colors and textures. Check out our frew suggestions for eclectic pillow groupings!
  • ...
    "This is from the reopening of Creed's in 1952. My great grandfather started it as a furrier. It's sort of like the Bergdorf's of Canada."
    - Samantha Orley
  • ...
    "Those illustrations are actually of us. The CFDA made one for each of the designers in the incubator."
    - Samantha Orley
  • You just don't move into a place in a week. You have to get a sense for how you live in it, and gain an understanding of how everything will best fit. It takes a while.

    - Matthew Orley

for access to the complete article, please
SIGN IN OR REGISTER
– You May Also Like –
1
Designer Spotlight: Workstead
Nick Nemechek | 08/09/2017
With studios in Brooklyn and Charleston and a practice that spans both product design and interior architecture, Workstead has evolved...
Read More
35
Designer Spotlight: Andrew Neyer
Noah Grosshandler | 07/26/2017
We’ve had the pleasure of working with Andrew Neyer for nearly four years as one of our very first vendor...
Read More
7383
Tariq Dixon
Tariq’s Home in Architectural Digest
Noah Grosshandler | 06/21/2017
Architectural Digest recently stopped by Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn to visit with TRNK co-founder and CEO Tariq Dixon in his new studio...
Read More
56
The TRNK Collection
Nick Nemechek | 06/13/2017
We’re incredibly proud to introduce The TRNK Collection - our self-designed product line, sold exclusively on TRNK. Our first release...
Read More
35
Spotlight: Emerging Photographers
Noah Grosshandler | 06/07/2017
At TRNK, we have the pleasure of working directly with a number of emerging, yet super-talented photographers from all over...
Read More
56
How to Create a Gallery Wall
Tariq Dixon | 05/22/2017
A beautiful art display need not require the help of a gallerist. ...
Read More
Close Lightbox