Passion for fashion pays off for six creative entrepreneurs

QUT Creative Enterprise Australia announces the six fashion entrepreneurs to take part in the 2016 Fashion Accelerator

Australia, 18 February 2016: QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) today revealed the six fashion entrepreneurs selected to take part in its intensive, five-month Fashion Accelerator program. Now in its fifth year, the new program has attracted a number of high-quality applications. Of the six entrepreneurs selected, one will be relocating from Melbourne for the program’s commencement on 23 February.

QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s Fashion Accelerator is Australia’s only Fashion Accelerator program that supports fashion entrepreneurs, providing them with real world knowledge and experience in a high-tech environment.

Operating since 2011, the Fashion Accelerator has helped develop brands including Gail Sorronda, SOOT, Monica Tovar and Christie Millinery. Program participants are mentored by industry leaders and are provided with access to industrial grade equipment, individual workspaces, development support, masterclasses and workshops.

Chief Executive Officer of QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, Anna Rooke, said the high quality of the applicants bodes well for the future of Australia’s A$3 billion fashion industry.

“We had a terrific response from across Australia and overseas this year. This is a great sign that our Australian fashion industry continues to innovate with the changing pace of the industry. There has never been a better time to become a fashion entrepreneur – with digital technology disrupting and transforming established and emerging fashion brands, and bringing down key barriers to global opportunities.

“The impact of creative skills to the future of business in Australia cannot be over-estimated. Our creative industries in Australia are valued at more than A$35 billion. Now, more than ever, Australian creative startups and entrepreneurs are holding their own within this globally US$2.25 trillion industry,” Ms Rooke added.

The six participants are:

  • Rosa Altadonna of Zalbah: Comfortable and casual pyjamas, loungewear, kaftans and accessories for professional women and/or working mums;
  • Arkie Barton of Arkie: Design aesthetic predominantly informed and inspired by heritage and indigenous influences with a focus on textiles and print design;
  • Natasha Lewis Honeyman of Rui: Textile art inspired by culture, history, nature, exploration and traditional art practises, which can be translated onto various mediums;
  • Paolo Lolicata of Locilu: Handmade men’s and women’s accessories inspired by old world influences and culture deriving from Sicilian heritage;
  • Melinda Maxfield of Spacefairy: A fun clothing and costume brand, which promotes happiness and self-expression; and
  • Melanie Taylor of Peach & Aubrey: A handmade inspired collection of children’s wear where focus to simple details and fabrics are key.

One of this year’s participants, QUT graduate, Arkie Barton will be attending Melbourne Fashion Festival’s Indigenous Runway Project in March.

Designer and owner, Arkie Barton, said: “CEA’s Fashion Accelerator is going to be an eye-opening experience. While I have a strong background in design and textiles, the accelerator will help me to really grasp and understand the financial side of starting a fashion business. I have so many ideas that I want to see get off the ground – I think the program is the perfect platform to make this happen.”

“Throughout the program I will be focusing on developing my concept and developing the aesthetic of my label. My plan is to have a developed range by the end of the five months, so that with my samples, I can move into production and ultimately start approaching investors and stockists,” Ms Barton said.

CEA Fashion Accelerator Series – Episode 1

Watch our first episode to meet the designers, learn the inspiration behind their labels, the challenges they face and their plans for taking their label to the next level.

CEA Fashion Accelerator Series – Episode 2

Watch our second episode where the designers evolve their range from concept to development and explore the world of production, branding, and market trends.

CEA Fashion Accelerator Series – Episode 3

Watch our third episode where the designers gain a deeper understanding of design and aesthetic through pattern making and sampling, while analysing and planning their business strategy ahead of the graduation showcase.

We’ll bring you four episodes charting the designers five-month journey through the CEA Fashion Accelerator. Stay tuned!

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