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Orla Kiely

Now an English institution, Orla credits her grandmother with being the creative influence in her life. Kiely qualified as a textile designer in Dublin and then studied for a Master's at the Royal College of Art in London, primarily in knitwear. She displayed a range of hats in her exit show at the RCA, which were purchased by Harrods. She followed that success with design work for Marks & Spencer and Habitat. She began designing handbags after her father noted during her first London Fashion Week that everyone was carrying a handbag, but no one was wearing a hat. In the late 1990s, she had the idea to laminate cloth for handbags: "At the time, no one was doing anything like it. Laminated fabric, in those days, meant tablecloths."