3Dance.Company’s branded clothes have been so popular with students, the directors have created their own dancewear line. Images talks to co-director Kate Rose-Lean about the power of personalised dance clothes

The T-shirts and jackets are printed by Brand 88

3Dance.Company teaches at all the local schools

In just eight years, 3Dance.Company has gone from running one free after-school dance class in a small Cornish farming village to teaching 400 young people each week. It offers curriculum-tailored dance and movement after-school classes, acrobatics, movement classes for parents and babies, and group sessions for children with additional needs, as well as being involved in local community events such as carnivals and lantern parades.

The company, set up by Marci Pearce and Kate Rose-Lean, has a range of T-shirts, jackets and leotards that are sold to its students. The studio leotards are designed by Marci and custom-made by local fashion designer Chihoko Jones from Falmouth University. They are full-length unitards worn by the acrobatics dance team and each is made to fit the individual student. They are in black and white to reflect the Kernow flag of Cornwall.

Newquay-based Brand 88, a supplier the company has used for the past seven years, prints all the T-shirts and jackets, and Plymouth University graphic designer Jamin Lean designed its logo. “We have a great working relationship with our print company Brand 88,” says Kate. “They have always strived to work closely with us, letting us see samples to check fabrics first, advising us regarding placing of logo etcetera. This kind of personal touch is the main reason we have such longstanding business with them.”

The garments currently sold by 3Dance. Company were chosen to give them the flexibility to cover all types of performances and productions without having to ask parents and students to spend lots of money on full dance kits. “A 3Dance T-shirt can be worn casually for class practice on a daily basis or dressed up with accessories for shows,” explains Kate. “The leotards can also be worn for warm-ups and workshops and then, with the addition of the studio acro skirt, the look is transformed into a professional uniform. Our aim is always to keep costs as low as possible for our community to encourage as many young people to be included.”

Just as vital to dancewear as cost is the fabric, notes Kate: “The most important thing in terms of fabric and material is that the garment is comfortable and easy to move in. We cater for young people from age three to 18-years-old so we also have to ensure that the garments are flattering and appropriate for all shapes and sizes of dancer.”

The success of the three styles sold by the dance company has prompted Marci and Kate to create the Trio Dance line, a clothing range that Kate says will be an extension of the 3Dance.Company garments. “We decided to branch out into general dance/yoga/leisurewear because of the many requests from other dance companies and non-dancers wishing to purchase clothing from our company. We feel there is a gap in the market in terms of affordable dance and fitness clothing for young people. We will be testing items on our dancers from September 2016, with the web launch date set for January 2017.”

Branded clothing is an important marketing tool, adds Kate. “We live in a small town and are in all of the local primary schools, so 3Dance T-shirts are constantly circulating the community and are a great way to introduce people to us. All of our teachers wear 3Dance clothing for consistency and to create a strong sense of professionalism. Our main priority with choosing suppliers at this stage whilst we are relatively small is to use local, trustworthy companies that produce good quality garments made in Cornwall.”

For those looking to supply dance schools, Kate advises: “Offer the company the opportunity to see fabric samples and give lots of advice about what prints stand out most and which fonts are clearest.”