The five creative startups at the forefront of fashion at Creative Enterprise Australia

  • fashion accelerator

QUT Creative Enterprise Australia is putting Australian creative industries at the forefront of new trends and technology through its 2017 Fashion Accelerator program. The intensive accelerator mentors aspiring fashion startups and entrepreneurs, giving them access to a wealth of knowledge and business experience from real-world industry mentors across a six month period.

Now in its sixth year, the 2017 Fashion Accelerator is an expansion of the previous five month program, and will provide five of Queensland’s brightest fashion startups with weekly workshops covering business modelling, e-commerce options and lessons on business finance. This year’s successful applicants of the program include four startups from Brisbane; Suzii K, Genkstasy, Gloria Dulcie and Miss Summer; and one label out of Toowoomba, Whitelane Textiles.

With Australia’s fashion industry now worth $28.5 billion, QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s Fashion Accelerator covers a hole in the industry when it comes to fashion tech. It is Australia’s only accelerator program that promotes and supports fashion entrepreneurs, putting them in eye-sight of CEA’s Startup Fund offering up to $150,000, plus the chance to showcase their range and pitch to a panel of esteemed fashion experts by the end of the program.

Graduates of the 2016 program pitched their business models and collections to a panel that included Global Retail Advisor and former David Jones Limited CEO Paul Zahra and Vogue Australia Editor-in-Chief, Edwina McCann.

“This program is an important opportunity for young fashion designers to take advantage of how technology is going to shape the industry in the future,” says CEA’s Chief Executive Officer Anna Rooke.

“We’re already seeing disruption when it comes to the fashion and retail industries, so it’s important for us to make sure that the next generation of designers can really be at the forefront of these changes.”

“This is more to just launching a fashion brand on social media. By building up business and technology skills for designers to learn how to scale and build their customer base, we can help young Aussie businesses develop a brand that will be more sustainable in the long term.”

“Huge brands such as Topshop and ASOS have already launched in-house accelerator programs overseas, so it makes sense for us to align Australia’s creative fashion industry with what is happening around the world.”

Industry leaders already signed on as mentors in the 2017 program include Australian Fashion Chamber’s Courtney Miller, fashion designer Lydia Pearson, former Director of Council of Textiles & Fashion Michel Abeysekera, and CEA’s own Fashion Development Manager Thuy Nguyen.

Meet the participants of CEA’s 2017 Fashion Accelerator

Whitelane Textiles / Founder Lorraine White
Whitelane Textiles is an emerging boutique corsetry brand with focus on classic glamour that remains true to traditional construction processes. Catering to burlesque performers, pinup beauties and those who seek something special, corsets are individually constructed from the finest European coutil and luxurious silks, embodying the glamour of a bygone age. Lorraine White is a corsetiere, weaver, knitting dynamo and textile artist based in Toowoomba, Queensland. With a passion for preserving textile history and handicraft, she is constantly seeking new knowledge and expanding her technical skills to offer her clients something special and become an expert in her field.

Genkstasy / Founder Evie Willsteed
Genkstasy is the un-gendered alt-luxury clothing label launching in 2017 by Brisbane designer Eve Willsteed. Genkstasy (a fusion of 元気/Genki + Ecstasy, translating to something along the lines of ‘pure-euphoric-being’, or ‘ultimate-energy-party’) is fashion for trendsetters; for those who create and appreciate; for those who lead and for those who walk their own path. Reaping an aesthetic born of modern cultural fusion and inclusion with Japanese and hip hop fashions at the fore, Genkstasy will aim to change the way we experience and participate in fashion, creating a style that is unique but lasting, and clothing that’s ethical and sustainable but still fresh.

SUZII K / Founder Suzanne Knezovic
Suzanne Knezovic is the founder and designer of namesake label, SUZII K. A fresh, unique and contemporary Australian label, creating pret-a-porter collections. The brand focuses on merging visual art and fashion to create a unique point of difference that exudes effortless, chic and on trend ready-to-wear designer pieces. SUZII K is loved and shopped by girls in their late teens, traveling women, the fashionista, the everyday girl and the mum.

Miss Summer / Kathrin Bonfigt
With beach apparel for the female saltwater enthusiast, Miss Summer aims to prove a point against fast fashion. The brand stands for functional, high quality, sustainable beach wear to inspire and support the female that fearlessly follows her own heartbeat and wants to make the most of the life she has been given. Through her brand, Kathrin’s ambition is to build a platform for events and other projects to help ocean conservation and making the world a better place.

Gloria Dulcie / Alexandra Coleburn
Gloria Dulcie is a ready to wear women’s label focused on representing modern femininity. They create quality pieces, hinting at modernist style with delicate traces of whimsy. Pieces that are defined by their subtle detail and quality fabric. As supporters of ‘slow fashion’, they believe in escaping traditional trend cycles, enabling creative rhythm and environmental sustainability. This consciousness allows for the development of exclusive collections that are in harmony with what the earth can provide. Now in its second year of business, Gloria Dulcie has generated interest from respected creatives, magazines and agencies within Australia and internationally. Having secured a
stockist, Gloria Dolce has grown its online customer base and is a sought after label at The Village Markets.

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