Pictured above Liise Wyatt & Karly Orr
Stumbling upon the designs of Wyatt Orr is something magical, two talented women Liise Wyatt & Karly Orr. This Seattle based womenswear label established in 2012 will have you swooning, with their elegant use of silk and leather. From studying at New York Fashion Academy of Seattle to ballet in Cannes, these two designers have a wealth of fashion knowledge and style. The Digital Fashion Platform was lucky enough to ask about their insights and inspiration in the interview below.
Describe your label in 3 words
WO: Refined. Elevated. Elegantly-understated.
The top 3 songs on your music playlist at the moment?
WO: You have caught us in a devoted stint with NPR, so that would be what you would hear if you currently walked into our studio. But, we are also revisiting some shared old-time favourites from Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Mother Love Bone.
How do you both come up with your campaign image ideas?
WO: We begin with whatever our inspiration happens to be for the line that particular season, often drawing from our natural environment for imagery and colour. Then we brainstorm how to incorporate that into our photo shoot without detracting from the clothes themselves. The last few seasons we have been working closely with photographer Charlie Schuck, pooling our ideas on truly collaborative campaigns. We feel very fortunate to be working with a photographer that is so aligned with our vision for the brand.
Wyatt Orr’s FW 2014 Hooded Cloak Jacket
Liise, you studied dance in Cannes, France how was that experience?
WO: It was challenging, as I was studying classical and contemporary ballet up to 10 hours a day, on top of my academics that were all in French. Cannes was quite the playground for a 16 year old though, so despite my full schedule and very structured high school experience abroad, I did manage to soak up the buzz of Cannes’ beaches and culture, and formed friendships that continue to influence me today.
Karly: My love for fashion was definitely percolating during my time in Florence and yes, I believe being in Italy played a role in how I pursued fashion and design. I think if you have any inkling for art or design Italy is a great place to explore that, of course. (She smiles)
How did you both meet?
Name your three favourite pieces in your wardrobe
Karly: I hate to be a broken record, but the Gingko pants are in my top three too; they are perfect. I also love the Graci top from SS13. The silk/cotton combo is super easy to wear and looks great with everything. Last pick would have to be one of our tops from our ss15 collection (still to be named – smiling again at the thought). It’s roomy and wonderful.
Wyatt Orr’s FW 14 Drape Back Top
WO: We rented a shared studio space to develop our own individual collections at the end of our time studying at NYFA. Talks of a collaboration surfaced during our third year of cohabiting as studio mates, and the result was a capsule collection, Wyatt Orr. The offering was well received, orders grew, and during the Fall of 2012 we solidified the merge, integrating both collections into Wyatt Orr.
How does your design process work?
WO: It starts with a concept and a source of inspiration, which we build off of and evolve as we go. Once we have a source of inspiration we think really big, and remove any and all limitations. Then we edit. We gradually zero in on the most cohesive elements within the collection. We try to allow enough time to let the collection sit for a period of time to provide an opportunity to revisit our decisions as we go along. It’s like a big puzzle and the pieces really don’t fully come together until the very end.Our process is a true collaborative effort, weighing equally on both of our design aesthetics and visions for the brand.
Tell us about your latest collection?
WO: Drawing from the rich colour palette of Pacific Northwest woods in winter, our AW14 collection plays with a graphic approach to layering and subtle asymmetry. We tempered silk, leather and wool pieces together and shot them against an urban paper playground of organic and graphic shapes:
(Lookbook can be viewed here: Autumn14)
The chic styling of Wyatt Orr in their FW 2014 lookbook
Which item from your collection you can’t live without?
What’s the hardest part about starting a label?
WO: The overhead – it’s expensive to have a label and Wyatt Orr is funded 100% by the two of us. Also overcoming people’s perceptions that anything about this is easy.
What’s your future plans for Wyatt Orr?
WO: We will continue to evolve the brand and build larger collections each season. We want to see the collection become available to a wider audience both online and in-stores, and further develop our collaborations with other artists and photographers.