The Fleet Store : devising a public retail exhibition to promote creative, innovative and sustainable business models for emerging fashion designers

McMahon, Kay (2014) The Fleet Store : devising a public retail exhibition to promote creative, innovative and sustainable business models for emerging fashion designers. [Exhibition/Event]


1.Description of the Work

The Fleet Store was devised as a creative output to establish an exhibition linked to a fashion business model where emerging designers were encouraged to research new and innovative strategies for creating design-driven and commercial collections for a public consumer. This was a project that was devised to break down the perceptions of emerging fashion designers that designing commercial collections linked to a sustainable business model is a boring and unnecessary process. The focus was to demystify the business of fashion and to link its importance to a design-driven and public outcome that is more familiar to fashion designers.

The criterion for participation was that all designers had to be registered as a business with the Australian Taxation Office. Designers were chosen from the Creative Enterprise Australia Fashion Business Incubator, the QUT fashion graduate alumni and current QUT fashion design and double degree (fashion and business) students with existing businesses.

The project evolved from a series of collaborative workshops where designers were introduced to new and innovative creative industries’ business models and the processes, costings and timings involved to create a niche, sustainable business for a public exhibition of design-driven commercial collections. All designers initiated their own business infra-structure but were then introduced to the concept of collaboration for successful and profitable exhibition and business outcomes.

Collaborative strategies such as crowd funding, crowd sourcing, peer to peer mentoring and manufacturing were all researched, and strategies for the establishment of the retail exhibition were all devised in a collaborative environment. All participants also took on roles outside their ‘designer’ background to create a retail exhibition that was creative but also had critical mass and aesthetic for the consumer.

The Fleet Store ‘popped up’ for 2 weeks (10 days), in a heritage-listed building in an inner city location. Passers-by were important, but the main consumer was enlisted by the use of interest and investment from crowd sourcing, crowd funding, ethical marketing, corporate social responsibility projects and collaborative public relations and social media strategies.

The research has furthered discussion on innovative strategies for emerging fashion designers to initiate and maintain sustainable businesses and suggests that collaboration combined with a design-driven and business focus can create a sustainable and economically viable retail exhibition.

  1. Research Statement

Research Background
The research field involved developing a new ethical, design-driven, collaborative and sustainable model for fashion design practice and management. The research asked can a public, design-driven, collaborative retail exhibition create a platform for promoting creative, innovative and sustainable business models for emerging fashion designers. The methodology was primarily practice-led as all participants were designers in their own right and the project manager acted as a mentor and curator to guide the process and analyse the potential of the research question.

The Fleet Store offers new knowledge in design practice and management; with the creation of a model where design outcomes and business models are inextricably linked to the success of the creative output. Key innovations include extending the commercialisation of emerging fashion businesses by creating a curated retail gallery for collaborative and sustainable strategies to support niche fashion designer labels. This has contributed to a broader conversation on how to nurture and sustain competitive Australian fashion designers/labels.

Research Contribution and Significance The Fleet Store has contributed to a growing body of research into innovative and sustainable business models for niche fashion and creative industries’ practitioners. All participants have maintained their business infra-structure and many are currently growing their businesses, using the strategies tested for the Fleet Store. The exhibition space was visited by over 1,000 people and sales of $27,000 were made in 10 days of opening. (Follow up sales of $3,000 has also been reported.)

Three of the designers were ‘discovered’ from the exhibition and have received substantial orders from high profile national buyers and retailers for next season delivery. Several participants have since collaborated to create other pop up retail environments and are now mentoring other emerging designers on the significance of a collaborative retail exhibition to consolidate niche business models for emerging fashion designers.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

13 since deposited on 02 Mar 2015
5 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 82123
Item Type: Creative Work (Exhibition/Event)
Refereed: No
Other Contributors:
Role Contributors
Creative Enterprise Australia Fashion Business Incubator
    Funders: QUT Creative Industries, QUT Precincts, The Fabric Store, Renegade Collective, Studio Agency, Future Fossil, Filmshelf, The Print Bar, LimeNLychee, Pepper Ink, QUT Fashion Society, CEA Fashion Business Incubator, The Print Bar, Brisbane Fashion Fort, Sebastian Azzuri, Fino, 77 Pozible Crowd Funding Supporters
    Measurements or Duration: 10 days
    Location: From date: To date:
    Old Government House, George Street Brisbane 2014-09-12 2014-09-26
    Keywords: Fashion, Design, Entreprenesurship, Exhibition, Crowd Sourcing and Funding, Collaboration, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainable Business Models
    Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
    Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
    Deposited On: 02 Mar 2015 22:42
    Last Modified: 04 Mar 2015 00:11

    Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

    Repository Staff Only: item control page