Retailer Orla Kiely goes bust leaving workers ‘in tears’ as they are led out of shops

WORKERS at designer brand Orla Kiely were escorted off the premises “in tears” after bosses told them that the brand has gone bust.

The Irish designer told staff on Monday that it couldn’t afford to pay them for the previous three weeks worth of work.

 Designer Orla Kiely, 55, started the business in 1995

Rex Features

Designer Orla Kiely, 55, started the business in 1995

It announced today that it has gone into administration and that it’s closing both London stores – in King’s Road, Chelsea, and in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden – as well as its Kildare, Ireland, branch.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, a source said that staff were told that if they wanted to see the money, then they’d need to file for redundancy.

They said: “Chief designers just grabbed their bags and walked straight out without saying anything. We were then escorted out of the building.

“None of us saw this coming. They closed off the website the other week and said there was an issue with the payment gateway. But they must have known what was going on.”

 Both London stores in Covent Garden and Chelsea have closed down

Louis Wood – The Sun

Both London stores in Covent Garden and Chelsea have closed down
 The designer is famous for her floral designs
The designer is famous for her floral designs

Staff say they are “devastated” and left struggling to pay the bills.

Orla Kiely, 55, started the business in 1995 and rose to fame for her floral prints earning her the title of Queen of Prints.

Her clothing line, worth £8million, has been worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, and is a favourite of her mum Carol and her sister Pippa.

Other celebs who’ve been spotted wearing the floral patterns include model Alexa Chung and actress Sarah Jessica Parker.

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 A statement published on the brand's website apologises and thanks customers
A statement published on the brand’s website apologises and thanks customers

In a statement given to The Irish Times, the retailer said: “Having carefully considered the options, the directors of Kiely Rowan Plc have concluded that the business should enter voluntary liquidation following various challenges that have faced the company over the past few years, both in the UK and abroad.”

A small selection of its accessories and homewares will continue to be sold at department stores like Debenhams and John Lewis.

A message on the designer’s website says: “Thank you for embracing our brand and designs throughout the years and for your ongoing support.”

Customers who are worried about purchases are still being advised to contact customer services at

It’s the latest retailer in a string of high streets stores that have had to call it a day.

Earlier this year, two of the country’s largest retailers, Toys R Us and Maplin collapsed putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Last month, Mothercare announced it will shut 60 stores, leading to the loss of hundreds of jobs.

Which high street stores have closed in 2018? Shop closures in full from Mothercare and Maplin to Toys R Us and Carpetright

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