Irish brand Ora creates wardrobe solutions for the curvy woman

“Our collection in sizes 14-26 is aimed at women over 40,” says Helen Wheeler of her new collection for Irish brand Ora, “dedicated to creating wardrobe solutions for curvy women. “. A supposedly curvy woman in her 40s herself, and the only designer in Ireland with 17 years of experience catering to larger silhouettes, she is well placed to talk about body diversity and the challenge of creating clothes comfortable outside of the conventional size categories that so many women find restrictive. She is in a strong position to cater to younger customers as well, but responds in response that they shop on the high street.

The collection begins by making the appropriate models. It starts with grading up from a smaller base – usually a size 8; in Wheeler’s case it’s different because grading starts from size 14″ and each size will be slightly more generous as grading rules change slightly to suit body proportions,” she explains. . “Other brands are hesitant to design for more, but we love doing it.”

Dress with striped bottom yoke 109 €

White tapered trousers €118 worn with uneven hem printed top €129

White tapered trousers €118 worn with uneven hem printed top €129

So where does she start when it comes to designing a new collection? “Our fundamental priority is to look at key trends and those that fit our collections, but without compromising on size and style. Quality and fit are important. Larger bodies are more prone to fluctuation and, as she points out, when people gain weight, they don’t gain it everywhere, “so we try to draw attention to the best features of the client, zoom in on a key feature such as a bright color near the face to draw attention or draw lines that give the illusion of a shape”. The famous “cold shoulder” detail, for example, cut-outs on the tops which leave more room for upper arms in a variety of shapes.

Hooded jacket with mesh pocket €190, mesh hem tunic €115

Hooded jacket with mesh pocket €190, mesh hem tunic €115

Printed dress with contrasting bottom yoke €138

Printed dress with contrasting hem yoke €138

The Spring/Summer collection uses lighter weights and smart shaping. The stone and cream linen dress, for example, features a contrasting yoke and lower pocket and can be dressed up and down – it’s pictured here with runners. Another dress uses a stone and white print with a black georgette overprint with a jersey slip underneath. A three-quarter length hooded jacket is brightened up with a burnt orange mesh lining and cuff trims while a black jersey top has a chiffon train for an easy, floaty look.

“We avoid button fronts so there’s no opening and instead use jersey shirts with cotton collars,” says Wheeler. Higher sizes elongate the legs and the waistbands are elasticated for more comfort. The clothes are made in Turkey and Poland and the collection is sold direct to boutiques across Ireland.

The height and age of the customer are always highlighted. “Our customer likes comfort and being at the cutting edge of technology. Today it’s more about spare parts and accessories and, in my opinion, he is a little braver than before. We have our basics, but we are constantly trying to come up with something new every time. The biggest trend for Spring 22 is color” and people are ready for bolder colors – the print is very strong and the stripes too”. Knitwear is not a strong feature of Ora, it tends to be stronger in winter. The chunky necklaces featured are part of the collection and complement it.

Printed chiffon back dip hem top €100

Printed chiffon back dip hem top €100

In a country where the average height is now 14 to 16, the choice is still limited for the curvier shape. International brands that cater to plus sizes include Marina Rinaldi, part of the MaxMara group, Savage & Fenty for lingerie and several English brands selling online such as Simply B, Asos, River Island, The Hour, Marks & Spencer as well than New Look which has 2.7 million Instagram followers and goes up to size 32.

About Adam Motte

Check Also

The SELF Outdoor Awards 2022

Getting out is good for you: Whether you’re doing a #HotGirlWalk in your neighborhood, hiking …