Former GB athlete looking to grow eco-friendly clothing brand

Katie (left) and Dani (right) have started their own business.

A former Team GB athlete from Wigan is looking to make a positive change with her sustainable athleisure clothing brand.  

Danielle McGifford, from Rainford in St Helens, and her friend Katie Farrimond, who lives in Wigan, have mixed together their love for athletics, fashion and the environment to create Avani-Active. 

Sustainability is the big focus within their brand – highlighted by the tagline ‘fashion shouldn’t cost the Earth’ – and they hope to tackle the problem of clothing ending up in landfill by using 100% recycled material.

Talking about the pair’s inspiration for the business, Dani said: “Having a massive passion for the clothing industry as I have for many years, I didn’t feel it was right to release something that is potentially damaging for us in the future.

“I’m a massive outdoors person, I really enjoy camping and long walks.

“I did Snowdon earlier this year, so I really love the environment and the fact that we’re damaging it doesn’t sit well with me.

Dani, 25, is a Physical Education and School Sport graduate from Edge Hill University and currently works part-time for St Helens School Games, organising local sport competitions for young children.

As a teenager, Dani earned a spot representing her country in Combined Events on the international stage where she got the opportunity to compete against the likes of France and Spain, and her ambition to achieve is certainly still there.

She said: “I still don’t feel like I’ve reached my peak. I’ve had a couple of years downtime really through various reasons but I started to kind of find some form again earlier this year.

“Then obviously with everything going on, competitions were set on the back burner so to be honest, at the minute I don’t really know where I’m at, but I’m excited to see potentially where I’m at next year.

“I’m hoping to make some major competitions within the next few years hopefully.”

Dani first met her now business partner Katie in 2008 when she joined Wigan Harriers and they’ve formed a close bond over the years.

Katie, 24, was forced to give up on her dream of athletics though and now has her own company in massage and rehabilitation.

Dani explained: “Unfortunately she suffered a hip injury. She then underwent surgery in about 2014 to repair a labral tear, but the surgery didn’t go so well she ended up having to have a second surgery.

“Again the surgery wasn’t a success and they told her that athletics wasn’t really on the cards for her anymore, but instead of her sitting and sulking about it she’s turned it into a massive positive starting her own business hoping to help people in a similar situation to what she was in.”

The idea for Avani-Active first came from Katie who was looking to introduce a fashion line within her business and with Dani having studied textiles at Carmel College, the pair decided to team up together.

Their aim is to soon become well-known within the world of athletics and have big names sporting their gear.