The Anything Dance team were so excited to welcome Claudia Dean Collections to our stores this month!
We sat down with the vibrant Claudia Dean herself, in our newly renovated Croydon store to ask her your most popular questions.
What made you decide to strike out as a dancewear fashion designer?
I began creating Claudia Dean Collections about 3 years ago because so many dancers would message me on Instagram wanting me to design products and dancewear!
I began sourcing the best fabrics from around the world - as most of you would know, we started our collection with limited edition leotards and ballet skirts, using the softest luxury fabrics and beautiful cuts in our leotards.
Now, we've introduced activewear and it just keeps growing! There's so much more coming!
What advice do you give to young dancers?
Find the confidence to believe in yourself.
It's something you need to work on every single day and it can start with small things - like to smile a little more in class, stepping a row forward so you're not always at the back, or being the first to go from the corner for a new combination.
It's the little moments that give you confidence and it can take you so far in all aspects of your life - whether you're a doctor, a lawyer, a designer - no matter what you do, confidence will take you where you want to be.
Where do you look for creative inspiration for your designs?
So, when we decide that we want to start a brand new collection, I start off with the concept of what I want the theme to be.
When I release a collection, it's not just a matter of releasing any old leotard. I want to make sure there is a big theme behind it and you all get amongst that theme!
Once I come up with that, I start my research and even have so many of you telling me what types of leotards and skirts you want to wear!
Then, I collaborate with my designer and we come up with the beautiful concepts for the different features of the leotards and skirts. It then goes into the production and sampling stages and then you guys all see it come to life!
What are some of your greatest dance career achievements to date?
My most proud achievement would be being apart of the Royal Ballet Company based in London.
I had the amazing opportunity to dance on the Royal Opera House stage every night of my life for 6 years. I'm very grateful that I had that opportunity - it taught me so much about stage craft, working with such a top company and really testing myself physically as a dancer every day.
How do you balance your time between Claudia Dean Collections and ballet coaching?
I think for all of us, life can get pretty busy but balancing my time between ballet coaching, designing leotards, designing collections and filming for our online platform, I obviously have to be extremely organised! So, I live by my Google calendar and I have to plan my months out so far in advance to fit everything in.
I highly recommend that if you're struggling to fit everything into your schedule. Just make sure to be super organised and when you start a new month, have goals, have plans, have visions for what you want to do for the month. Schedule it in and make it happen!
What are the biggest lessons you’ve taken from being a dancer?
The biggest lesson I've learnt in terms of my ballet career and even what I do now, is to keep going no matter what. We're all going to experience knock-backs and criticism, and sometimes even negative news that we don't want to hear. It's so important that no matter what comes your way, you just keep going!
Often, I find those negative moments as the moments where we pivot into something better. So make sure you trust that the universe has your back and everything is going to work out no matter what!