The Australian International Sourcing Fair

Essentially an emerging designer’s wet dream, the Australian International Sourcing Fair is Australia’s answer to other international seminars that serve the same purpose: to provide a place where visitors can learn and make informed (enough) business decisions.

Starting this Wednesday 13 November, the Australian International Sourcing Fair will take to the stage a series of free in-depth information sessions that cover working with India as a source of textile inspirationsourcing for medium to large sized businesses and lessons to be learnt from international sourcing. 

For the emerging designer, business entrepreneur and fashion business operator, these seminars will introduce the likes of Divya Rao, designer of her self-titled label Divya R, Michael Bellamy, the operations director of PassageMaker and Chris Burnett, the sourcing manager of Australian Defence Apparel to the public, shedding light on the issues of our day.

By using the experiences and knowledge of these industry experts emerging and newly-established fashionisers from all over Melbourne will benefit from tales of working and sourcing in India, how to establish trust in business relationships and learning the difference between dealing with commodity sourcing and fashion sourcing.

Basically, it’s a go-to for anyone who takes their emergence in the fashion business industry seriously.

I had a chance to have a look into the world of Divya and working in the thick of it all…

We are working on looking at the ‘Issues’ faced when starting a new brand.

Specifically a fashion brand


There are a number of factors that pose a threat when starting a fashion label and one of the

main ones I found is lack of resources. As an emerging designer I didn’t have easy access to

sourcing affordable fabrics in Australia and had to heavily rely on overseas suppliers.

Emerging designers also face an additional set of challenges not encountered by established

businesses. In particular, new ventures need to develop a distinctive brand, introduce a

compelling story, create awareness, and most importantly, establish a level of trust with the

consumer. Other factors such as industry, technology introduction, sales cycle, and financing

can also greatly affect the initial marketing challenges.

Could you please send me the biggest pitfalls/challenges you faced when

Starting your brand?

Giant overseas retailers have made it very hard for local designers to gain credibility. And in a

tough economy, consumers tend to stick to brands they trust rather than try new things. “It’s

many of the same challenges anyone who has a small business faces. There is a lack of funds to

hire hands to help navigate and tend to every aspect of the business,”

Lack of government grants for emerging designers and not enough fashion trade shows are also

some of the major challenged I face as an emerging designer.

How did you overcome them?

What is your advice to anyone thinking of starting a fashion brand?

It sounds cliché but always keep your eyes open for opportunities and work hard because

perseverance is the key. Nothing comes easy so never give up.

Check it out more at

Divya R_02_medium

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4 Responses to “The Australian International Sourcing Fair”
  1. Thanks for the great write up about the show! Hope you can make it. Are you able to share with me a pdf version of your story and then I can share through our social media pages. Thanks.

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