CEA announces 2017 accelerator for Australian fashion entrepreneurs

Fashion Accelerator re-launched to support Australia’s $28.5 billion fashion market

December 2016: QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) has announced that applications are now open for its 2017 Fashion Accelerator program as it looks to discover Australia’s next big fashion export.

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

The 2017 program will run for six-months, an extension from the previous five-month program, with a view to help early-stage fashion startups accelerate their business. Industry experts from across the business, startup and fashion space will provide intense business coaching and weekly workshops covering e-commerce options, business modelling, finances and the creation of branded digital content.

Some of the industry leaders onboard to deliver mentoring during the 2017 program include: Australian Fashion Chamber’s Courtney Miller; fashion designer, Lydia Pearson; Blurb Consulting’s Ian Perkins; Director of The Australian Fashion Council, Michel Abeysekera; The Fashion Darling’s Vanja Stace; and CEA’s Fashion Development Manager, Thuy Nguyen.

CEO of CEA, Anna Rooke, said the Fashion Accelerator program is an important contribution to Australia’s AU$28.5 billion fashion industry.

“As with all entrepreneurs developing their business, it’s important that they are equipped with the real world business skills that will help them build a sustainable brand. We are seeing much disruption in the fashion and retail industry with new players like Shoes of Prey, Mon Purse and Fames & Partners building global brands from Australia. It’s important that this next generation of fashion entrepreneurs have the business acumen and technology know-how to scale and build their customer base.

“Overseas we’re seeing huge brands like Topshop and ASOS launch in-house accelerators as they consider the impact technology is having on the fashion industry. At CEA, we have been delivering Australia’s only Fashion Accelerator since 2011 as we recognise the impact that creative entrepreneurs have on our economy, which is currently valued at almost $90 billion in the creative industry space,” added Ms Rooke.

To date the CEA Fashion Accelerator has helped successful designers including Arkie, Gail Sorronda, SOOT, Monica Tovar and Christie Millinery. Graduates of the 2016 program pitched their business models and collections to a prestigious panel that included Global Retail Advisor and former David Jones Limited CEO and Managing Director, Paul Zahra and Vogue Australia Editor-in-Chief, Edwina McCann.

CEA’s Fashion Development Manager, Thuy Nguyen added: “The CEA Fashion Accelerator is not to be confused with a fashion design course. We are here to support designers who are already at the early-stage startup stage by providing them with access to industry leaders, in-house workspaces and industry equipment that will provide them with the best footing to scale out their business from both a design and business perspective.”

Commenting on how the CEA Fashion Accelerator helped her label, Arkie, 2016 program participant, Arkie Barton, said: “Having bootstrapped from the beginning with limited resources, CEA taught me how to make the most of opportunities and take advantage of the many willing and knowledgeable mentors within the startup and fashion industries. The widely varied mentors from all aspects of fashion and business industries provided an incredible portfolio of knowledge and support to draw from. The depth and variety of skills were fantastic and the CEA Fashion Accelerator program did a fantastic job of providing mentors for every aspect of a fashion startup business.”

Those who are interested in applying for the 2017 Fashion Accelerator program can register their interest at www.qutcea.com/fashion-accelerator. Applications close on 16 January 2017.

The 2016 Fashion Accelerator Series can be viewed here:

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.

CEA Fashion Accelerator Series – Episode 4

The 2016 program culminated in a graduation showcase, where the program participants’ presented their newly developed range, business and business model to a panel of industry experts and an audience of close friends, family and peers.

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