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

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Anna Rooke

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 fivemonth 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, Genkstacy, Gloria Dulcie and Miss Summer; and one label out of Toowoomba, Whitelane Textiles.

Why this accelerator is one of a kind

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.

From top left: Lorraine White (White Lane Textiles), Suzanne Knezovic (Suzii K), Alex Coleburn (Gloria Dulcie) From bottom left: Kathrin Bonfigt (Miss Summer), Evie Willsteed (Genkstacy)
From top left: Lorraine White (White Lane Textiles), Suzanne Knezovic (Suzii K), Alex Coleburn (Gloria Dulcie) From bottom left: Kathrin Bonfigt (Miss Summer), Evie Willsteed (Genkstacy)

“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.

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