Tuesday 28 March 2017

Introducing Ireland’s first ‘luxe’ sportswear range, designed for women by women

Grace O'Rourke and Aoife Connolly in their Grape and Gander sportswear pieces. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Grace O'Rourke and Aoife Connolly in their Grape and Gander sportswear pieces. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Freya Drohan

Freya Drohan

Fitness fanatics Grace O’Rourke and Aoife Connolly know a thing or two about workout wear that needs to be fashionable and functional - as they partake in everything from yoga to athletics each week.

The school friends noticed a gap in the market for leisure-wear that could fit in with Irish people’s increasingly active lifestyles.

Grace O'Rourke puts their and Grape and Gander sportswear through its paces
Grace O'Rourke puts their and Grape and Gander sportswear through its paces

“With fitness being part of so many people’s lives, we thought that it was time to bring more excitement into the industry,” the designers said. “We were frustrated with the limited choice available, so we decided to combine Grace’s love for sport and Aoife’s love for fashion to design a luxe brand.”

Grace is a competitive athlete, and trains five to six days a week with Dundrum South Dublin Athletics Club. Competing in the high jump category (she ranks in the top five on the Irish circuit), she was constantly on the lookout for functional, appropriate and reliable workout gear that is also flattering.

“The collection was inspired by the natural curve of the female silhouette. We took our time getting the block paneling shapes just perfect to create a slender contour.”

Keen to make women look and feel good, they also wanted their customers to have fun with her “fitness fashion”.

Aoife Connolly gets to work in their Grape and Gander sports wear
Aoife Connolly gets to work in their Grape and Gander sports wear

Aoife, on the other hand, acquired an indepth knowledge of fashion working with Stella McCartney and does different styles of yoga, gym classes and circuit training to keep her fitness up.

She credits new innovations in the technology industry such as fitness apps and the ‘Fitbit’ for keeping her motivated.

Grace O'Rourke and Aoife Connolly in their Grape and Gander sportswear pieces. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Grace O'Rourke and Aoife Connolly in their Grape and Gander sportswear pieces. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Together, the designers maintain that it’s important not to compare your fitness to others.

“Run your own race. Don’t compare your fitness to others. Your effort is different to the lady’s beside you. We are so hard on ourselves sometimes, and we can only do our own personal best. Be proud of yourself and smile when you look in the mirror because women are beautiful.”

What’s in our gym bag?

Here is what Aoife and Grace cannot train without…

*A Grape and Gander outfit

*An Aladin water bottle

*Jade MAT eco-friendly yoga mat

* Power snacks such as nuts and protein balls

*A Fitbit to keep track of progress

*A quick drying towel

*Well fitted runners

*Socks and underwear from Seemless

*Shock Absorber sports bra

www.grapeandgander.com

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