Originally from Wales, Rhianedd Dancey swapped one seaside town for another in 2013, when she moved to Brighton to study BA Fashion with Business. During her placement year, she spent some time in Berlin, where she fell in love with the city and a special someone. To her dismay, she had to return to Brighton to finish her studies, but she was certain she would return.
Almost immediately after graduating, Rhianedd booked herself a one-way ticket back to the German capital – sewing machines in tow. Upon her return, she joined the Œ family as an Online Editor, which she claims opened up the world of styling to her. Interested mostly in working with projects with little to no budget, she became enamoured with the drive and dedication of Berlin creatives.
Eventually making her way back to the UK, Rhianedd settled in London. During the first lockdown of 2020, she began creating garments in her living room and just like that, her brand Rhi Dancey was born. Promising to be as sexy as it is sustainable, the label has been thriving online. So much so that Rhianedd moved into a studio in East London and along the way acquired a small team of all-female staff to support her.
At the end of last year, the team celebrated their first pop up shop in Dalston, which was a belting success. Eager to hear what our friend and former teammate has in store, we caught up with Rhianedd to chat pop up shops and panty workshops.
Œ: Congrats on your first pop up shop! You had somewhat defined Rhi Dancey as a fully-online brand… So what led you to put an in-person event on?
Rhianedd: I’ve always wanted to hold an event. It’s been a dream of mine for a while. One of the first events I helped with was actually Œ magazine’s Female Gaze issue a few years ago. The scale and the outcome were both so impressive – that buzzing feeling stuck in my mind. Being an online brand predominantly, I really wanted to create something physical, especially after the lockdowns. I wanted to interact and exchange with customers and people I had met online. Collaborate and create this interactive and engaging shopping space/hub.
Œ: Where do your draw inspiration from the most?
Rhianedd: This is a hard question. I draw inspiration from lots of things. But I think what’s most influential to me is people and work ethic. I think it’s incredibly easy to fall into toxic fashion-centred environments where hierarchy intimidation can exploit young and creative people. I’ve been incredibly lucky, especially with my time in Berlin where I had the opportunity to work for people who genuinely supported and appreciated my time and efforts.
I returned to the UK in 2019. The industry felt a lot tougher and inaccessible here. However, the fast and vast work ethic here is crazy inspiring – so much drive to succeed and materialise ideas. It’s very intense but also makes you feel like you can do anything.
Œ: What is so distinctive about your designs?
Rhianedd: I think one element which I’m very proud of is that any design can be made in any size. Inclusivity is crucial to me. As garments are made to order, you can customise a bespoke piece, completely unique to you, and at a really reasonable price. Everything is also made by hand in my studio in London. We don’t work with a factory or anything. I think this is beautifully unique and rare!
Œ: Is there a particular collection you feel most proud of? What makes that collection noteworthy?
Rhianedd: I think, one of the collections I’m most proud of is the ongoing Art Top series. Collaborating with different artists across the world to create wearable artwork. Again, a project conjured during the first lockdown as a way to collaborate and connect with other artists and create something different.
Œ: What awaits Rhi Dancey next? Can we expect any new collections or pop up shops?
Rhianedd: After the pop up, I decided I really wanted to try and work on more engaging and interactive projects. I’ll be running a panty workshop in my London studio before Christmas, but I’m hoping to start planning some bigger, more exciting projects outside of the UK!