Australia’s only accelerator program dedicated to the burgeoning fashion industry is seeking applications for its 2019 intake. This year QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) proudly announces the appointment of fashion and lifestyle designer Jonathan Ward as the program’s ambassador and headline mentor.

Delivered by CEA, the Fashion360 accelerator program supports and mentors early-stage and emerging fashion entrepreneurs with real-life industry knowledge and experience.

For 2019, the program will include Jonathan Ward, former Executive Designer at R.M Williams, delivering exclusive one on one mentoring sessions, and sharing his experience spanning three decades in the industry with the cohort.

Jonathan will headline the panel of industry experts at the finale event, Fashion360 Showcase, for the six-month program, where the next generation of designers pitch their businesses and unveil their collection at a feature public runway event.

”A career in the fashion industry is often hard work, although rewarding. I can say that there is never a straight line to success. You need to be driven, passionate and detailed. You need to be a designer and a business executive with resounding commitment. You need to support your creativity with a strong sense of reality. Your point of view needs to translate to the world” states Jonathan Ward.

“Accelerators like Fashion360 are a perfect opportunity for emerging designers to receive the guidance and support they need to drive their business position to a scalable brand. I’m proud to be a mentor in this much-needed program. The expertise and experience I have garnered will educate and lead the participants through different stages and challenges in their development.”

The Fashion360 program provides high-touch support for breakout designers wanting an intensive training program, equipping them with all the essentials required to execute and sustain a growing business. The next generation of entrepreneurs will receive access to weekly workshops and masterclasses, coupled with one-on-one coaching through a holistic 360-degree view of the industry.

In 2018, some notable mentors included: Queensland fashion queen Lydia Pearson and Ian Perkins, CSO of Brisbane based boutique strategic advisory business Blurb Consulting, who has 32 years’ experience in the fashion industry.

Thuy Nguyen, Fashion Development Manager at QUT CEA, said: “The aim of the program is for emerging designers to develop deeper business skills, engage in learning, receive mentor support and grow their networks in the fashion industry across Australia.

“Through the Fashion Accelerator, we’ve been able to leverage some noteworthy labels that have not only proceeded to set up a successful business in Australia but also launched globally. Labels recently launched via Fashion360 and gaining traction in the marketplace include Ivy Nui, Birds on Bikes, Ileana, and Lucy Belle.”

“Our program creates an environment that builds confidence, knowledge and connections that is life changing for fashion entrepreneurs and their businesses.”

Places on the Fashion360 program are limited. Applications for 2019 close on 9 December 2018. To apply, designers need to submit an application describing their business, presenting their skills, evidence of traction, accompanied with a business plan to be considered for the program.

QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s CEO Mark Gustowski said: “The global fashion industry has undergone a lot of changes recently. There is a growing trend in sustainability, for example, with consumers, particularly Millennials and Generation Z, becoming more interested in brands that are eco and socially conscious when it comes to the products and services they consume.

“We’re proud to say that our Fashion360 accelerator provides a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to leverage these types of trends and create businesses that are relevant and attractive to market demands. Our program provides designers with business skills and direction to translate their work into viable business ventures.”

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