The Australia fashion industry has passionately embraced the sustainable fashion movement, and Brisbane fashion business consultant, Jude Kingston is at the center of the Fashion Revolution.
As a part of the launch of Fashion Mingle Australia, we’re honored to have Jude on board as our first member and Brand Ambassador to help us grow the Australia Fashion Directory and create opportunities for growth in the global fashion industry.
Q&A with Brisbane Fashion Business Consultant, Jude Kingston
Fashion Mingle: What do you think Australia fashion industry does well?
Jude Kingston: The Australia fashion industry embraces individualism, and the ethical, sustainable, recycled and organic movement and ethos. We are so passionate about circular and slow fashion with thanks to the Fashion Revolution and we are still small enough to affect these changes quickly.
Australians fundamentally lead a very holistic, clean and healthy lifestyle, and with our love of the outdoors, whether it be our amazing beaches or magnificent bushland and countryside, we are all about getting out there enjoying it and protecting it.
FM: Tell us why you started your fashion business consultant company in Brisbane?
Jude: I started JMK Style after what I can only describe as the most challenging year of my life – within the space of 9 months I was made redundant from my job as a Buyer, separated from my husband, moved to a new house with my 7-year-old son and experienced the greatest loss with the passing away of my father. It was a challenging time to say the least and it was during the depths of my grief and being confronted with my mortality that I decided life really is too short to do a job that doesn’t bring joy. I love fashion and always have, with more than 25 years in the fashion industry and with my business knowledge, I decided that I wanted to share this knowledge with designers and retailers to give what I call “the inside edge” when it comes to knowing how to be profitable in a very noisy fashion world. I specialise in working with new and emerging designers, international clients and writing business plans.
FM: What do you feel is the biggest challenge for new and emerging designers in today’s fashion industry?
Jude: It’s knowing where to start with exposing their brand, how to break into retail, how to drive traffic to their brand, and how to be profitable.
FM: For global brands wanting to get into the Australian retail market, what should be their first step?
Understand the market, do the research, understand who your customer is, and where they are in Australia. Our population is small compared to most countries and we are over retailed. Brands need to connect with an agent or industry consultant who can work with you on how best to break into the market. Brands also need to understand the timelines with the Australian seasons and the cost of doing business here.
FM: You recently attended New York Fashion Week. What surprised you the most about the experience?
Jude: I was surprised by how many designers don’t have a business plan. Designers need a strategic business plan, retail strategy and marketing plan, financial backing or investors. They also need international connections, a business mentor and sound knowledge of the global market, with the ability to work off season and have a pricing strategy that will deliver profitability.
FM: What are some of the best ways a fashion designer can promote their brand in Australia?
Jude: Every state has its own Fashion Week with Melbourne being the showcase, the Virgin Australia Fashion Festival occurs twice a year in March and September and this is where the industry heavyweights come to watch the shows and report. Each Fashion Week has a showcase for new and emerging designers and every year Vogue Australia features these designers.
Social Media is still one of the most effective ways to promote your brand with Instagram still holding top spot as the platform that delivers the highest engagement. Influences are also a great way to promote your brand, however authenticity is key!
FM: Who are some of the most successful brands that have come out of the Brisbane Australia fashion industry?
FM: As a seasoned trend forecaster, what can we expect for 2019?
Jude: As with most years there are a number of trends – we are seeing a resurgence of the 80’s with exaggerated shoulders and animal prints, the 60’s fringing and modern bohemian and let’s not forget the 70’s tie dye and for every decade…..sequins!
We’ll also see tailoring and tuxedos, colour blocking, neutrals, utility and bike shorts – taking the exercise staple into our fashion wardrobe. And let’s not forget Bermuda shorts, polka dots and feathers, fishnet, and gold/yellow.
FM: How can fashion designers learn more about your fashion business consultant services?
Jude: Based on the success of my last visit to NYFW as guest speaker for The New York Fashion Experience I have been invited back again for September Fashion Week to speak about the “Business of Fashion”.
I’m also offering a new season special offer for anyone who engages my Business Consulting and Mentoring services for 6 months receives a comprehensive business plan at no extra charge through the end of May 2019.
Join the largest growing networking platform for fashion business professionals!
We’re so excited to introduce you to Jude and our new Mingle Ambassador Program! Join Fashion Mingle today with our favorite fashion business consultant Jude Kingston. Australia isn’t the only place where industry professionals come to our platform to mingle – we have members in more than 100 cities around the globe. Get started by creating your Fashion Mingle profile today.
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