Irish designer Helen Steele's athleisure range for Dunnes Stores launches with an inclusive message

Helen Steele, one of Ireland’s best-known designers, has launched her much-anticipated debut collection with Dunnes Stores – and like all of her work, it’s accompanied by a powerful message.

Steele, who lives in Emyvale, Co Monaghan, prides herself on her thoughtfulness in her line and the paint splattered pieces which encapsulates her designs are a reflection of an artist at work. But her new activewear range is a marked departure from the red carpet dresses she is synonymous with, incorporating her trademark patterns into an athleisure range which is focused on inclusivity, influenced by colour theory and the freedom of graffiti art, incorporating

This 21-piece piece collection isn’t just stocked up to a certain size (Dunnes already holds up to a size 18), but more impressively, it’s designed with more than one body shape in mind, an accomplishment that even the most forward-thinking of multi-nationals can’t yet say they’ve achieved.

Body positivity and inclusivity was one of the most talked about topics in fashion last year and in 2019, designers are putting their money where they mouth is, but Steele has been spearheading this movement since long before it became trendy. In fact, her 17-year-old daughter Halle, who also happens to be her muse, is the star of her campaign and she shines confidently in a crop top and leggings.

“I am inspired by the women of Ireland of all ages, who get out and walk or run on the paths, streets, beaches and forests of Ireland, come hail, rain, sleet or snow. These women are all shapes, ages and sizes, and they want to feel and look good,” she said. “I created colour theory based prints for this collection, to visually stimulate and balance the mind. This was combined with the technical knowledge of the sportswear design team in Dunnes Stores, to bring to every body shape a new dimension to their workout, run or walk, or just to hang out in, feel good in, or chill out in.”

While the fashion industry as a whole has been made to suppress women and question their bodies, Steele is part of a generation who want to circumvent this repression and reverse the trauma of shopping – and what better way, than by launching an activewear range in January, the month of self-improvement?

With celebrity fans including Saoirse Ronan, Amy Huberman and Ali Hewson she already has the star power behind her and now the wider market will finally get a chance to hold on to a piece of her – and it couldn’t have come sooner.

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