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Emese Antal of Daquïni Activewear

The luxury activewear brand founder on honouring a woman’s body in motion, personality and infinite potential.

In the latest edition of brand founder interviews with our favourite eco-friendly activewear labels, we travel to Budapest where graphic designer Emese Antal founded hers: Daquïni Activewear. After walking out of workouts feeling empowered and unstoppable, only to realise that her clothes didn’t match her mood, Antal decided to design and craft her own armour.

Meaning ‘sky dancer’ — the female embodiment of enlightened energy — Daquïni was launched in 2013. Featuring four-way stretch, breathable, moisture-wicking, pilling resistant and muscle support qualities, the brand’s offerings are currently one of the best in the market.

And much like the costumes worn by superheroes, both men and women alike, Daquïni’s signature details include belts and straps that fasten and tighten you straight to the right mind-set one needs to feel in control and ready to take on the world. They are sexy as hell, too.

“Daquïni was born out of the simple necessity to honour a woman’s body and her personality.”

Daquini 3.0 nyx bra and moto leggings

The NYX Bra and Emese’s go-to MOTO Leggings

How did this journey start for you?

After an intense gym session, you feel like you can conquer the world. But I often felt like how I looked in some average outfit after a sweaty workout did not reflect this emotion. Daquïni was born out of the simple necessity to bridge this gap and help women feel more confident through feminine, body flattering designs made from high-end materials that honour the body and their personality.

We love that your workout tops double up as swimwear. What inspired this?

Apart from being quick-drying, our signature French fabric is both UV protective and chlorine-proof, so the step to add swimwear to the range came naturally.

Why was being eco-friendly important to you and the brand? 

Daquïni was born out of the idea to support other women, and mindfulness is key to the brand.

The materials used in your pieces are free of harmful chemicals. But what is the danger of these chemicals, and how should one avoid them?

We source all our materials from high-end French and Italian manufacturers that are OEKO-TEX®-certified to ensure that there are no harmful chemicals in our garments. There are hundreds of toxic chemicals that may be found in clothing. It is especially dangerous in activewear because through sweat, heat and friction, these toxins are absorbed much faster into your body and may cause serious long-term health problems.

The best way to avoid these substances in your activewear is to research the brand, and their production and sourcing ethics. Choose fabrics that are OEKO-TEX®- or Bluesign®-certified, or organic.

Daquini Jet Set bra and Fluxus Legging

The JET bra and FLUXUS leggings

Tell us about some of your favourite pieces.

My current favourites are the VELOCITY leggings and the new METRIX bra with the wide chest band. Apart from being super comfy, all our bras come with removable padding, so they give a nice shape and hold, and are perfect for everyday use. The MOTO leggings are my absolute go-to when I’m on-the-go or travelling.

Tell us about your diet and fitness regimes.

I’ve been a vegetarian for over 20 years, so my diet is mostly plant-based. I try to avoid processed foods and eat as much fresh, organic veggies and fruits as I can. I find it easier to eat healthy when I work out regularly.

Since I’ve been so busy growing the business and have very few hours to sleep, I find it hard to push my limits at the gym sometimes. As such, I’ve decided to workout with a personal trainer who puts me through intense HIIT sessions. It’s the best way for me to unwind and keep my body in shape.

If there was one thing you could tell your customers about the brand, what would it be?

Daquïni’s luxe materials and flattering designs reconcile how you think you look, and how amazing you feel after working out.

What can we look forward to in the coming seasons for Daquïni?

More lifestyle pieces to complete the ultimate gym-to-street look.

What is your design process, and where do you draw inspiration from?

I’m originally a graphic designer so my approach to fashion design may be a bit different. Inspiration comes from everywhere. Shapes, geometrical forms, the female body or even just a shadow on the wall.

Finally, what does the idea of conscious living mean to you?

To live in the moment. To take time for myself in mind, body and soul, and for the people I love. Rereading books like The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz helps me refocus on the essential, too.

Daquini Muse Bra and Velocity Legging

The 3.0 MUSE bra and VELOCITY leggings

Images courtesy of Daquïni Activewear