Home Articles 6 creative entrepreneurs have been chosen for Australia’s only fashion accelerator

6 creative entrepreneurs have been chosen for Australia’s only fashion accelerator


QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) recently 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 relocated 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 get 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,” Anna added.

Who are the six lucky entrepreneurs?

The six participants are chosen for QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s Fashion Accelerator are the following:

Rosa Altadonna of Zalbah

Rosa makes comfortable and casual pyjamas, loungewear, kaftans and accessories for professional women and/or working mums.

Arkie Barton of Arkie

Arkie makes design aesthetic predominantly informed and inspired by heritage and indigenous influences with a focus on textiles and print design.

Model on runway showcasing Arkie's collection
Model on runway showcasing Arkie’s collection

Natasha Lewis Honeyman of Rui

Natasha makes textile art inspired by culture, history, nature, exploration and traditional art practises, which can be translated onto various mediums.

Natasha Lewis Honeyman
Natasha Lewis Honeyman

Paolo Lolicata of Locilu

Paolo makes handmade men’s and women’s accessories inspired by old world influences and culture deriving from Sicilian heritage.

Paolo Lolicata, Lolicu
Paolo Lolicata

Melinda Maxfield of Spacefairy

Melinda’s Sacefairy is a fun clothing and costume brand, which promotes happiness and self-expression.

The SpaceFairy collection
The SpaceFairy collection

Melanie Arndt of Peach & Aubrey

Melanie has a handmade inspired collection of children’s wear where focus to simple details and fabrics are key.

Melanie Arndt
Melanie Arndt

What are they expecting?

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,” Arkie said.