For hip-hop dance teacher Vanessa Marian, putting on clothes and deciphering her mood goes hand-in-hand. We caught up to chat about how different dance genres have influenced her style; dressing inconspicuously and supporting sustainable brands.

Broadsheet: Tell us about your style.
Vanessa Marian: I dress completely based on what my mood is. For the most part I try to be quite minimal. I have a really small wardrobe that I’ve invested money into. I try to buy things that are good quality and I mix timeless pieces with ridiculous colourful things as well.

I usually do street styles of dance, so I wear hip-hop brands, Adidas, street wear. I like the Well Made Clothes blog – it’s about sustainability and ethical fashion.

BS: So how does a “happy Vanessa” dress as opposed to a “sad” one?
VM: It’s more about feminine versus masculine, a little bit tomboy or something that might be pushing the boundaries as far as mainstream ideas of beauty are concerned, like wearing baggy pants. There’s also the mood of whether I want to be bothered or not. Sometimes it’s good to go low-key with a black t-shirt and shorts, you know? I guess “mood” is what persona I want to be that day or how social I feel.

BS: So, what’s your Groove uniform?
VM: My favourite go-to street brand is Adidas or Puma. For Groove Therapy students, we don’t stipulate what they wear because it’s about feeling good in your own skin.

BS: Have your travels affected your style?
VM: The influence I get from Japan is wearing baggy street wear, and from afro-beats, I love kente prints. YEVU is one of my favourite brands to wear. The money goes back into the community from which it came, they just tick every box in terms of Groove Therapy alignment.

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BS: Do you think people need to be confident to dance and dress how they would like to?
VM: Since I’ve gotten older, and being a dancer, I feel more connected to my body and therefore less self conscious about how I look. A big part of that comes from knowing it’s not perfect, but not caring … just being happy with it as it as and not trying to set this goal of “once it gets to this point is when I’ll be happy”.

Confidence, which for me comes from my world of dancing, has absolutely affected the way I dress. Some days I’ll be in a baggy t-shirt and trackpants and I’ll go get a coffee at a nice cafe and I don’t care. I don’t feel like I need to say to everyone “I’m not a thug, I came from a dance class!”

Groove Therapy is now running classes every Wednesday at 7pm at The Commune in Waterloo as well as the usual class on Tuesdays at 6pm, 107 Projects in Redfern. To celebrate, Groove Therapy is offering 50 per cent off class passes. Enter the code “GROOVEWEDS” at checkout.