Working closely with start-up businesses on a series of open-ended design challenges, RMIT fashion entrepreneurship students had the chance to take their creative ideas to commercial launch.
The Masters of Fashion Entrepreneurship students worked with three clients as part of the project: Orbitkey, Belair the label, and Lady Bold.
Orbitkey, an innovation from Rex Kuo and Bachelor of Industrial Design (Honours) alumnus Charles Ng, started as a result of frustration with jingling keys.
After a successful $210,000 kickstarter campaign, Orbitkey has won countless design awards and is now distributed internationally through online channels as well as 150 brick-and-mortar stores in Australia.
The entrepreneurial duo challenged the RMIT students to change the perception of their product from a piece of tech to a more appealing fashion accessory.
Students were also asked to develop ideas for converting social influencers to brand ambassadors, diversifying the product range, building a larger social media following and targeting the female market.
Ng and Kuo said it was wonderful to be able to work alongside the fashion entrepreneurship students.
“The project allowed us to explore some key challenges from an external point of view and also gave students the opportunity to put their learning into practice,” they said.
“We’re looking forward to implementing some genuinely creative solutions!”
One such solution is the “Key Purse”, a new product and sister brand featuring a personalized monogrammed leather key pouch, combining sleek design with functionality, as well as addressing the customer’s need for self-expression.
As part of the project, weekly workshop sessions facilitated by experienced fashion entrepreneurs such as Mike Sebel, founder of Park Sebel, and Elizabeth Formosa, founder of Fashion Equipped, gave students the chance to consult with industry experts for guidance.
Student Darren Fong said working with real brands and entrepreneurs was challenging and exciting.
“It truly compelled us to produce our best work, and it was definitely worthwhile when the client actually began to implement our idea,” he said.
Senior Lecturer in Fashion Entrepreneurship, Dr Carol Tan, said students fostered real-world skills by observing potential customers and developing insights to shape new business opportunities.
“This project enables students to critically analyse areas for growth opportunities, market penetration and business development,” she said.
“Students discover their entrepreneurial capabilities by immersing themselves in the design thinking process, ensuring that their recommendations are viable, feasible and desirable.”
Success Begins Here: Love the business of fashion? Develop the skills to be an entrepreneurial innovator in the global fashion industry. Find out more about the Master of Fashion (Entrepreneurship).
Story: Emma Morgan