Spring Summer 2024 Photoshoot with Amelia Pemberton

This season we had the pleasure of working with the brilliant photographer Amelia Pemberton, who shot our sustainable bag range, ‘Bags for Good’ and our new fun ‘Glossy Finish’ bags. Amelia has close ties with Orla Kiely; after studying Fashion Design at Falmouth University she completed a placement with us which involved a variety of roles, such as print and pattern cutter assistant, as well as being a general designer and running the jersey collection. Amelia started as a freelance designer and photographer in 2019, while also founding her own company, DARN, which produces beautiful 100% silk scarves and home accessories. Amelia’s photography style is playful, whimsical and involves punchy bold colours, all features that Orla Kiely resonates with.

Amelia was tasked with creating a vibrant and lively aesthetic for the photoshoot, making the bags pop in a fun way for Spring. Her inspiration for the shoot stemmed from the iconic 1970s series "Prisoner", in which an inflatable white ball named 'Rover' oversees the prisoners in a coastal town. Originally planned to be shot in Port Merrion, North Wales (near Snowdonia), the location was changed to Cornwall, where Amelia is based due to unpredictable weather conditions. 

Amelia's photographic preference is to shoot with analogue cameras. She believes that the unique feel and colours produced by analogue photography create a more personal and present experience. When using digital she finds she is not so much in the moment. Analogue creates its own flow and can craft a more natural connection between model and photographer. Amelia predominantly shoots models due to her love for people - she likes the unravelling of personalities and chemistry that can be formed. In her words, “people give more magic”.

Model wearing Cross Carry Crossbody in green Sixties Stem Emerald pattern

Amelia put together a wonderful group of creatives, sourced from Cornwall, to help bring her vision to life on the day of the photoshoot. Tilly Wheating, the stylist, was a new collaborator who has recently moved down to Cornwall. In terms of styling, each bag had its own outfit which included spring dresses with pops of colour and a hint of old-school 70s which Orla loves. 

Set designer Rebecca McDonald was responsible for props, working alongside Amelia to create a characterful and cult cool feel. Although the photoshoot was 1970s inspired, the canoe featured is a 1960s plywood mould made by Rebecca’s father when he was 12. It was such a lovely detail, one of many that we believe helped make the shoot successful. 

For make-up, the moodboard created was 1970s inspired - not too heavy, muted, but punchy. Executed by Georgina Yates, the make-up sat perfectly alongside the styling, elevating the visuals of the bags and making them pop. Sal Taylor, the model, has such a lovely playful energy and gives off a slight French vibe with hair like Mia Farrow in "Rosemary's Baby". After working with Sal previously, Amelia knew that Sal's personality would work well for this shoot. We are so pleased with the results, and agree that Sal was the perfect fit for Orla Kiely. 

After working on a fun project together for Amelia's brand DARN, videographer Nick Whitworth joined the team. Amelia and Nick created a sequence of quirky clips that captured the fun of the brand and Sal's great personality. Finally, Ellie Kramer, part-owner of the sock brand Oaken, joined the team as a production assistant on the day. Responsible for making sure everything ran smoothly, Ellie has a stunning boat named Peggy down in Cornwall - it became the norm to ask her for the weather forecast, which made all the difference whilst trying to forecast a summer vibe shoot whilst in the UK. 

We are so pleased with the outcome of this shoot and can’t wait to work with Amelia again!