The sun is shining for a spot of afternoon tea with Irish designer Orla Kiely and fellow designer Maria Cooper.  As Orla reveals her second exclusive range for Halfords, we’re given the perfect opportunity to unearth some of the magic behind the collaboration.

Sat in one of her new camping chairs alongside Maria, a relaxed Orla talked us through the range, the bikes, the tents, the accessories; everything you need for a perfectly picturesque outdoor escapade.

Three new prints, 32 new products, 1 new range. But where did the inspiration come from?

  1. From blouses to bicycles; as a fashion designer where did the initial inspiration come from to collaborate with Halfords?

I think initially when they came to us, and (that’s) where the idea kind of happened. I think the idea of both cycling and camping can fit nicely into that idea of kind of a creative world. For me cycling’s not about speed racing, it can be part of the look as much as anything else.

Maria: It’s about leisure isn’t it!

Orla: Going on a Sunday morning to your local park and shopping or having coffee. You know, it’s that kind of rambling around wherever  you like and I think that’s really nice. And then the whole camping thing is the same you know, why not have a tent covered in print when you’re off at the various festivals. It’s very much building on a lifestyle in a way and although we’re fashion, we’re lifestyle too.

Maria: And then things like years ago with retro camping people had that Scandinavian vibe, it kind of fits nicely with the aesthetic. That’s always inspired me anyway from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s from interiors to lifestyle.

2. Where were you when you came up with the new prints/what gave you the inspiration for the tulip/small flower prints?

Orla: It’s hard to say when and where. The prints have kind of evolved over the years in a way.

Maria: There’s an element of nature in all of them, the flowers, the olives, it all links back to the outdoors.

3. Camping or cycling?

Maria: It’s about spending time your family.

Orla: It’s about the enjoyment of being with friends, being with family. It’s relaxing and it’s never trying too hard and always just enjoying yourself. Effortless, it should be easy.

4 .If you had to choose only one, which is your favourite piece from the NEW range?

Maria: Personally I really love the powdered basket. There’s not many baskets in that colour or style. And the lining stops things falling out as well as having a really nice print on it.

Orla: They’re a bit newer than a traditional bike basket, a bit cooler. A bit more 70’s in a way.

Honestly any of the bicycles, I think the bicycles are so nice that I would be happy with any of them. They’re good proper bicycles. They’re very solid like a good old fashioned bike but they aren’t too heavy.

Maria: It’s nice that they’ve got that kind of proper Dutch feel about them. They’re really sturdy but not too heavy at the same time.  And I love that they’ve got cream tyres, not many bikes have cream tyres now.

5. As we’re at afternoon tea, what’s in your picnic hamper?

Well, it has to be champagne. Champagne and strawberries.

Maria: And cheese and crackers

Orla: And avocados!

6. What makes the perfect brew when you’re camping?

Orla: The view. The view and an espresso.

Short, and as strong as her new range.

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