Fashion brand Orla Kiely – worn by the likes of Kate Middleton and Alexa Chung – has collapsed, with tearful staff escorted out of their buildings as they learned they were losing their jobs.
Workers say they were led out earlier this week just moments after being told by chief executive Orla Keily, 55, that they were being made redundant.
And this morning the Irish designer has announced she has closed both her online and retail businesses in Kildare and London with immediate effect.
Set up in 1995 with her husband Dermott, the brand has become famous for its distinctive floral based fashion and homewear.
A small selection of accessories and homeware will continue to be sold through department stores like Debenhams and John Lewis.
A source said: "It wasn’t sent out in an official email or anything but was spread through word of mouth.
"Around lunchtime we were all called together where the CEO told us we were all out of a job.
"We’re paid on the 27th of each month and we were told the company can’t pay us for the past three weeks and we’d have to try and file for redundancy.
"Some people just burst straight into tears.
"Chief designers just grabbed their bags and walked straight out without saying anything.
"We were then escorted out of the building. None of us saw this coming.
"They closed off the website the other week and said there was an issue with the payment gateway.
"But they must have known what was going on.
"What’s the point of getting us to come in on a Monday morning? We feel like we’ve been done over.
"Now I’m struggling to find the money to pay the rent. People were just crying in the pub. It’s devastating."
A message on its website reads: "Kiely Rowan Plc, the retail and wholesale fashion business of Orla Kiely, has ceased trading as of Monday 17 September 2018.
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"This means our retail stores in London and Kildare and our online business have been closed.
"We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Orla Kiely’s Home and Design licensing business will not be impacted, and its selection of accessories and homewares will continue to be sold through its distribution partners.
"Thank you for embracing our brand and designs throughout the years and for your ongoing support. Orla, Dermott and the Team."
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