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    Maker and Merchant: identifying the support needs of new fashion business models emerging on the margins of the fashion industry

    Heim, Hilde ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2533-5953 (2022) Maker and Merchant: identifying the support needs of new fashion business models emerging on the margins of the fashion industry. In: In Fashion: Culture, Commerce, Craft, and Identity. At the Interface / Probing the Boundaries (135). BRILL, Amsterdam, pp. 212-234. ISBN 9789004446595 (ebook); 9789004446588 (paperback)

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    The current economic climate encourages fashion entrepreneurs, whether educated in fashion or not, to start up independent business. However, independent fashion design entrepreneurs (IFDEs) often lack industry and or business knowledge or are not fully cognisant of the challenges that lie ahead. Interestingly, those I call fashpreneurs (founders of bootstrapped start-up models who are transitioning mid-career) are also more willing to find support for their business but can often not find reliable, credible, and relevant information. As their businesses develop, sometimes exponentially, fashpreneurs are challenged by issues that may not have beleaguered an “educated” designer. And yet, their successes are sometimes remarkable, often outstripping those of “regular” independent designers. Through in-depth interviews with five local Brisbane fashpreneurs, as well as designer/entrepreneurs participating in a fashion incubator program, mentors, and fashion industry observers, I apply case study methodology to identify the support mechanisms required by IFDEs. This is significant in the context of the current laissez faire economic climate which encourages entrepreneurship but, in which paradoxically, its neo-liberalist proponents provide little substantial or practical support. It is likely that this group of fashion entrepreneurs will grow in the future, as will the support mechanisms surrounding them. These support models are important in strengthening the economic outcomes of IFDEs as well as their individual and entrepreneurial success in the long term.

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