Five Brissie fashion entrepreneurs have been selected to take part in QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s intensive five month Fashion Accelerator Program.

Starting on 23 February, the program allows for only six entrepreneurs to take part and despite receiving a number of high quality applications from around the globe, five of those six are from Brisbane.

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 are provided with access to industrial grade equipment, individual workspaces, development support, masterclasses and workshops.

Chief Executive Officer of QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, Anna Rooke says 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,” she says.

“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.”

Anna says 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,” she says.

This year’s program participants include: Rosa Altadonna of Zalbah, Arkie Barton of Arkie, Natasha Lewis Honeyman of Rui, Paolo Lolicata of Locilu, Melinda Maxfield of Spacefairy and Melanie Taylor of Peach & Aubrey.

QUT graduate, Arkie Barton will be attending Melbourne Fashion Festival’s Indigenous Runway Project in March, as part of the program.

“CEA’s Fashion Accelerator is going to be an eye-opening experience,” she says.

“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.”

Arkie says throughout the program she will be focusing on developing her concept and developing the aesthetic of her 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,” she says.

For more information or to register for next year’s program visit www.qutcea.com/fashion-accelerator