Liise Wyatt and Karly Orr are the dynamic duo behind cool girl brand Wyatt Orr. The two designers met in college and discovered they shared a vision and design style. They created Wyatt Orr with the working girl in mind, focusing on quality fabrics, layering and textural minimalism to create everyday wardrobe staples. Their AW14 collection includes a rich color palette drawn from the Pacific Northwest winter forests, taking a graphic approach to layering and subtle asymmetry with silk, leather and wool. Papercut talked to Wyatt and Orr to learn more about their latest collection and how they established their brand in harmony.
Why did you two begin designing together?
We met and became friends while in design school in Seattle, WA. There we recognized an unusual creative synergy and felt there was something unique about blending our individual aesthetics. At that time we were developing our individual clothing lines, and were both looking for studio space, so we found a tiny 450 sq ft studio to share above a coffee shop in Ballard. Talks of collaborating took place, which eventually lead to our capsule collection, Wyatt Orr. The offering was well received, orders grew, and during the fall of 2012, we solidified a complete merge, integrating both collections into one brand, Wyatt Orr.
How do you divide the work evenly and how do you complement each other?
Dividing up who does what has come naturally for us from the beginning. The work is infinite; there is never a shortage of things to do. It’s really less about making sure we have evenly distributed the work, more about us both doing whatever we can to move the brand forward. Building Wyatt Orr has been and continues to be one of the most challenging, and rewarding things we have set out to do. One of the most important factors in our success is the ability to share all aspects of the business. Wyatt Orr is a 50/50 collaboration entirely, weighing equally on both of our design aesthetics and visions for the brand. We both touch each and every aspect of the business from conception, design, production, marketing and sales. How do we complement each other? We make space for both of our perspectives, opinions and ideas and work hard to integrate them into our greater brand story.
Who do you design for? What kind of woman do you envision wearing your clothes?
We’re designing for the woman who appreciates when comfort and luxury can coexist, and loves statement pieces that can be dressed up or down and easily worked into her wardrobe. She likes high-quality fabrics and looks for refined details in her clothes that aren’t too flashy, but rather understated and quietly confident.
You describe the inspiration behind your AW14 collection as “comfortable luxury.” What does this mean and how do your designs achieve this?
Less is always more when it comes to Wyatt Orr. Our pieces are minimal and never over-designed. We focus on natural fibered fabrics and leathers that make up our clean silhouettes. People have said when they are wearing a Wyatt Orr dress that they feel like they are wearing pajamas or better yet, nothing at all. The fabrics are light, flowing, airy, never clingy or ultra-tailored. We believe you can look fantastic and pulled together without sacrificing comfort in any way.
What fabrics, details, motifs, patterns, and techniques did you work into this collection?
We played with our signature combinations of silk, leather and wool this season. You’ll see that the collection is very dark with a lot of black, but interspersed throughout are small bursts of olive, mauve and chartreuse. We worked with asymmetry and some layering of silk panels, all while maintaining a well-edited and versatile collection of really wearable pieces that work well together.
What are the key pieces of this collection and why?
The wool/cashmere shawl jacket is really great because it’s warm and slouchy and perfectly cozy, with a hood (which may or may not be a subtle hint to the Pacific Northwest). The pants are becoming a WO signature, and a key piece as well. They are flattering to all body types, made of smooth wool gabardine with an elastic waistband, and a little touch of leather, of course. The leather and wool tunics are easy to wear, can be worn alone or layered over anything, and are reversible.
What are your personal favorite pieces and why?
Our personal faves would probably have to be the pants and the jacket. You just can’t go wrong with beautiful wool and leather!
To see more from Liise Wyatt and Karly Orr visit their website at www.wyattorr.com.