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MFF – Fashion – Business – Mindset LIVE with CEO Graeme Lewsey and a phenomenal line-up of fashion industry guest speakers.

This time last year we were all getting ready to join together during the Melbourne Fashion Festival in a room of over 100 people with a phenomenal line-up of guest speakers and an impressive grazing table! 

This year looks a little different…but we’re so fortunate to be hosting a Virtual Industry Roundtable as a proud participant in the MFF Independent program ideas: 2021.


Graeme Lewsey – CEO of Melbourne Fashion Festival

Graeme was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Melbourne Fashion Festival Ltd. in May 2011 and continues in this role. He also consults and volunteers with several organisations that enhance the growth and development of Australia’s creative industries. He is a member of the Industry Advisory Group for RMIT University’s School of Fashion, is a resident judge for the annual National Designer Award and the National Graduate Showcase, and is a mentor for the Australian Fashion Council’s curated program for emerging designers. He recently completed a full term on the founding Creative State Advisory Board for the Victorian Government and is an official voluntary ambassador for Head & Neck Cancer Australia (HANCA), the charity formally known as Beyond Five.

James Bartle – Founding CEO of Outland Denim

James Bartle is the founding CEO of Outland Denim, the denim brand making jeans differently and setting a new standard in fashion manufacturing. Driven by the desire to curb the trafficking of young girls into the $99 billion illicit commercial sex industry, Bartle created Outland to generate training and employment opportunities for women vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. 

Over six years Bartle developed a unique business model that would enable each of his seamstresses to gain a covetable skill set in tailoring while earning a living wage, receiving ongoing support and life-enhancing education, and crafting artisan quality jeans to compete in the global premium marketplace. 

In 2016, he took Outland to scale, securing international investment and distribution to further the company’s mission to employ more young women while concurrently investing heavily in supply chain and environmental stewardship. With a background in manufacturing and start-up ventures, Bartle has taken a hands-on approach to developing Outland’s signature jean styles, eschewing automation in favour of craftsmanship.

Richard Poulson – Founder of Showroom-X and Co-Founder of Morrison

Since co-founding Morrison – one of Australia’s most successful women’s boutique fashion brands – in 2002, he has gone on to build many businesses across importing, sales, medical financial technology, retail, advertising, marketing, and disruptive technologies.

Recognising that Australian fashion designers are exceptionally skilled at using locally sourced materials such as wool and cotton to produce one of a kind quality garments, Richard knows Australia’s melting pot of culture, lifestyle and fabrications translates well on a global stage.

With the rise in popularity of convenient online shopping, his latest venture Showroom-X is a polished e-commerce platform showcasing Australia’s finest fashion brands to an international market.

Effie Kats – Melbourne Designer and founder of Bayse Brand 

Effie founded Zachary the label in 2013 which she operated for 5 years.

After exiting Zachary, Effie launched her namesake label in 2018 which focuses on made to measure garments with a view to creating perfectly tailored, sustainable pieces that last in your wardrobe for years to come.

Charlotte Hicks – Founder Esse Studios – 2020 Winner Best Australian Emerging Designer – Fashion Laureate + 2020 VAMFF National Designer Award

Charlotte Hicks, the founder of Esse Studios has over 10 years’ experience designing for Australia’s leading fashion brands.

After graduating with honours from a Bachelor of Design at UTS in 2008, Charlotte ‘cut her teeth’ as a design assistant at Zimmermann. She went on to gain experience at other Australian labels and more recently finished a 6-year tenure as RTW designer at Sass and Bide.

Charlotte knew she wanted to create a brand that was unique, that didn’t follow the traditional model – a brand that was built for longevity. Gaining as much experience and knowledge under incredible mentors was her focus in those earlier years. Along with finding the opportunities in the global landscape and being aware of the problems a fashion business can face.

Sammy Cashen – Founder of Unzipped Fashion Management & Fashion Equipped Wholesale Specialist Mentor

Sammy Cashen is the Founder and Managing Director of Unzipped Fashion Management (UFM).  UFM is a fashion wholesale agency offering its clients brand and sales management for some of Australia’s leading fashion brands across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania.  Her client portfolio includes the likes of MINKPINK, Staple the Label, TWIIN, MAVI Denim, Elliatt, and Allora Melbourne just to name a few.

Sammy has always focussed on building authentic, valued, and trusted relationships with retailers, business partners, buyers, and industry stakeholders across the board. Australia’s leading department retailers MYER and DAVID JONES in addition to 250 plus independent retailers, national multi-site chain stores, eCommerce platforms, rental business models such as GLAMCORNER are all part of her almost daily network.

Sammy joined the Fashion Equipped Mentor Collective to find a way of sharing her passion and in-depth industry knowledge of the wholesale agency scene and her enthusiasm to help others understand and grow the industry.

Julie Shaw – Founder / Creative Director MAARA Collective – 2020 Fashion Design Award Recipient at the Inaugural National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA) & Finalist of 2020 Fashion Laurette for Best Emerging Designer Category

Julie Shaw is the Founder and Creative Director of Australian resort and swim label MAARA Collective. 

A descendent of the Yuwaalaraay people from Lightning Ridge NSW and now living and working in Sydney, Julie founded the brand to celebrate and promote Indigenous art and culture.  

Built on the foundations of collaboration and co-design, MAARA Collective engages with Indigenous artists and artisans from across Australia to create contemporary fashion and lifestyle collections through the licensing and commissioning of prints, textiles, woven accessories, and jewellery. 

Launched in 2019 at the Country to Couture runway show in Darwin, the brand has gone on to capture audiences through collaboration and storytelling in a modern take on Indigenous design and creativity. 

MAARA Collective was awarded both the ‘Fashion Design’ and ‘Community Collaboration’ categories at the inaugural National Indigenous Fashion Awards in 2020 and was a finalist in the recent Australian Fashion Laureate for Best Emerging Australian Designer. 

We are proud to be donating 100% of the proceeds from this event to, an organisation that works tirelessly to combat slavery, violence against women and children, and police abuse of power against people living in poverty.  They are one of the vital partner organisations working alongside Outland Denim.


Via Zoom – join us online from any location!  


Friday 12th March 2pm – 4pm AEDT


You can tune into my short video overview here. 


$25 – all ticketholders will receive a replay 

The event booking link is:

Let’s not let the lack of physical events hold us back and continue to connect, collaborate, support each other, and share our collective Industry Knowledge.

It’s more important now than ever. 

Founder & Fashion Business Strategist

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