“Oh, shit,” replies Stevie Dance when asked to briefly relay her career. It is indeed a difficult one to succinctly capture. But it begins with the inception of Russh magazine where she “somehow” put her hand up for an assistant job. “I was handing in a travel article, actually.” That segued into assisting stylists across international titles, returning to Australia and stepping into the editorship of Russh, before heading back to New York.
And now? Dance styles for a range of projects and publications, acts as fashion director for Pop magazine and creative director for Shop Ghost, an online project that grew out of her styling work. “[Shop Ghost] was about wanting to share more about the people I was meeting behind the scenes, how they were inspiring me…how they were curating their lives,” she elaborates. “It was a hobby to my career. And now it’s kind of turning into its own animal.”
And she’s just co-conspired with Topshop to take over a slice of their two Australian stores.
In the personal shopping rooms at the bottom of Sydney’s Topshop, Dance is sitting upright on a couch, dressed in a blue button down shirt, stonewashed jeans and a pair of classic Adidas trainers. Later, for the launch party, she’ll trade her kicks for a pair of low-heeled black pumps, but maintains the sense that her outfit was more of an accident than a contrivance.
With Topshop Sydney’s three further storeys perched above us, each housing hundreds of items, the thought of navigating them can be as overwhelming as it is exciting. It’s a concept alluded to in the room that surrounds us. It’s a space for a stylist to personalise an outfit, to scout for a particular shade of green or discern the right cut of shirt. Similarly, it’s the hunt for an exact item or outfit that seems to be at the crux of the ‘Edited By’ project – a collation of items formed under an editor’s eye.
“For me fashion should be pretty easy-going,” says Dance. “That's the way I am. I work on my feet – I walk everywhere. It’s a pretty laidback edit.”
The concept is all about seeing unexpected combinations using existing pieces on the Topshop floor. But for editors who have garnered fans or followings based on their style, it’s just an accessible way to own a piece of their aesthetic. Edited By Stevie Dance is the first uniquely Australian project that the mega-retailer has taken on and Dance is more than aware of its significance. “I didn't really consider it a job. It was more of an honour to be a part of it.”
Reflecting on the feel of her edit, she says: “Whenever I've gotten really excited about fashion it usually has to do with music or is a reflection of my musical tastes at the time. So there are pieces in here from all the different genres which have played into my life – which have really built my personal aesthetic and what I'm really attracted to –whether it's the 90s or grunge or rap.”
Indeed, the edit is an eclectic blend of 90s references, neon flourishes and neat basics – a combination that captures Topshop’s sensibilities. “I think Topshop has been so instrumental in producing a mindset in how you can mix and match, and really throw a look together.
“I think being a great fashion editor is about being invested in the image,” she says. “The fashion is actually secondary to that.”
Edited by Stevie Dance is available in Topshop’s Sydney and Melbourne stores until the April 14.
455 George Street, Sydney
Shop 1a, Jam Factory, 500 Chapel Street, South Yarra