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Orley—A Family Affair We Hope to See Again Soon

Orley is a knitwear brand founded by Matthew, Alex, and Samantha Orley.

The brand is especially unique, as the trio of young designers have opted to focus on elevated sweater making--lines have explored different yarns, weaves, and stiches. Breaking the mold, while remaining comfortable and wearable.

In the past, their offerings have had a 70s vibe, full of rich browns and space-dyed yarns—bring a fresh approach to preppy staples like polos, sweaters, and the women’s twinset.

While we’re looking at a higher end brand, the pieces feel much more lived in than that investment suit, the youthful, irreverent take on knits are sure to add a statement piece to your wardrobe—but one you won’t feel weird about wearing.

The Story

Orley hasn’t been around for long. The label was founded back in 2012. The Orley trio, brothers Matthew and Alex, plus Matthew’s wife Samantha, all worked in the fashion industry in different capacities—joining forces to create their own brand. Their focus is on good design, high-quality fabrics—sourced from Italian and Japanese mills and a proprietary stitching technique.

The Orleys started by launching a capsule collection of Italian-made knitwear and expanded into a full ready-to-wear collection in Spring/Summer 2014.

The designers have worked with yarn mills like Cariaggi--using super soft combinations of lightweight cashmere and silky outerwear. The idea behind these lines is comfortable fabrics that will work throughout the year.

The brand received high praise during its short time in the spotlight. The New York Times called the brand a tastemaker's gem and the brand made plenty of press appearances over the past few years. The brand won a CFDA award for ingenious use of Swarovski crystals in men's knitwear—not an easy feat. Past collections were released in Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, and more.

Interestingly, they seem to have disappeared.

A Women's Wear Daily article mentioned the designers announced in 2017 that they would be pulling back on wholesale distribution. Instead, they plan to turn their focus toward their own e-commerce channel. It's unclear if/when this is happening. The site, in its current form, is a sparse portfolio that highlights fashion weeks past.

What We Love

Orley’s aesthetic is unique but super wearable. You’ll see a lot of shrunken polo shirts, which has that retro feel, while the brand also makes sweaters that subvert typical male clothing norms—a light blue, crocheted sweater comes to mind—generally, pieces are paired with basic chinos and shorts.

Unfortunately, we’re not sure where you can buy these pieces at the moment. At one point, you could find most pieces for between $200 and $300 each in places like Farfetch, Barney’s and other higher-end retailers.

Today, it seems like you may be able to find some used pieces on The Real Real or eBay, but not with any reliability. Still, a trip through Instagram's memory lane gives you a sense of how special the brand is--the social page features a deep selection of minimalist styles, with a twist--chunky knit sweaters in drool-worthy locales, interesting psychedelics and gingham patterns you don't often see in menswear.

The Downside

The last Orley collection was released back in fall 2017, so it may be hard to track down pieces. The brand still has an active website, but it doesn’t seem to be maintained on a regular basis. Time will tell if the Orleys release a new collection of statement sweaters and knits.

As it stands, there’s no information as to what happened to the designers, aside from the one article from WWD.

While the designer sibs could be taking some time off in search of their next inspiration, its telling that they haven’t updated their Instagram in over a year and Google’s search results turn up old articles and empty e-commerce pages.

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