Four Designers pitch for profit

On August 24, four emerging designers will pitch their business to an industry panel at the Fashion360 accelerator.

The fashion360 accelerator program is part of QUT Creative Enterprise Australia.

In its third year, Fashion360 accelerator is designed to equip early-stage to emerging fashion entrepreneurs with the essential business knowledge and technical expertise required to build a global fashion label.

One of the four designers will include Lucy-Belle Rayner, who describes her aesthetic as ‘dark vintage’.

Why did you create Lucy-Belle?

I’ve always been into vintage fashion and I found that unless I was buying a vintage piece from an op shop, there was nothing new that had an old-world inspiration. That’s what enticed me to start thinking about what would later become, Lucy-Belle. I wanted to take inspiration from old eras and create something new and beautiful that was also affordable.

During my time rifling through vintage stores I found that most clothes didn’t fit very well. I was so enthralled by the 20s and 30s periods – they were glamourous, and the dresses had cinched in waists and billowed sleeves. I couldn’t find anything like that in a mid-range brand. In couture looks, vintage can be found easily but the costs of those were out of reach for me.

I realised that I wanted to create that vision by applying some of my own values. It was all about creating a really great fit by using high quality fabrics, and adding a different touch to the look by using prints that I designed myself.

Tell me more about your previous shopping experiences and growing into the world of fashion.

I grew up with people who loved to op-shop…I hated it but as I grew older I began to appreciate its value. My mum would always find amazing things but I wasn’t as patient combing through all the items. It just wasn’t the same experience for me but my mum loved it and all of my vintage wardrobe was curated by her!

My mum and dad were a big factor behind the concept of Lucy-Belle. Their appreciation for design aesthetics could be seen throughout their lives, from the house we grew up in to the way we dressed. It was common to find all sorts of unusual and quirky things throughout our house – there were animal skeletons in some odd places. And now a lot of that inspiration and quirkiness is reflected in my designs.

What about growing up; did you always want to be a designer?

I wanted to be so many things when I was little. First, I wanted to be a detective – I was obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and how he’d always solve the big mystery. Then I wanted to be a ballet dancer and a violinist. I look back now and think, ‘What was I thinking’? I also thought I was a fairy for most of my youth. I’d like to think some of that sparkle is still behind everything I do.

How’d your family take to Lucy-Belle? 

I’ve always been really close to my family; so much so that I never needed to announce that I was doing Lucy-Belle. It was a normal transition and it all kind of came together and just happened. They’re really supportive and they love what I’m doing. I’m often on the phone to mum, or showing her new designs and asking for feedback. She’s definitely my biggest supporter.

If your brand was a public figure or celebrity, who would it be?

Ooh, I can see Adele Mildred who’s a very talented hat and headwear designer on Instagram. I think she would love the Lucy-Belle label as her brand has a similar feel. She’s into spider webs and dark touches of glamour; just a really striking and unusual style. I’d love for someone like her to model my clothes on Showcase Day – she’s in London but she’d be perfect.

How are you feeling about Showcase day?

The thing that’s on my mind about showcase day is definitely my nerves around the pitch component. I’m pretty terrified as I’m not a fan of public speaking but I think it will be good to see my range up there on stage and see what I’ve achieved. I’m still thinking about how I’m going to engage the audience with my pitch on the day. The next few weeks are going to involve a lot of testing and practice.

Who’s coming to support your launch?

I lot of people have said they’re coming but I’m not even sure I have enough tickets for them all. I only asked Thuy (Fashion Development Manager) for four tickets and 20 people want to come! I just wanted to keep it quiet – the whole public speaking thing, but now it’s a real showcase. The pressure is on but I’m really excited.

And the future of Lucy-Belle?

The website launch is at the top of my mind as well as some cool pop up stores around Brisbane and interstate. I’m thinking about hiring a shop space with a beautiful window dressing decked out with my label. I’ve also started producing my first earrings which are these really beautiful statement pieces made in Prague. They’re made with hand pressed Bohemian glass rhinestones. This range is currently being made so hopefully they’ll be available sometime within the next two months.

Article courtesy of Ragtrader.

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