A Bond University student is fusing one of the world's oldest art forms with one of fashion's latest trends, in a unique line of activewear featuring the authentic artwork of Indigenous Australians.
Faebella is a luxury activewear label turning Indigenous paintings into 'wearable art', inspired by the Indigenous heritage of its founder, Alisha Geary.
Alisha, who is currently studying Business/Law, is one of 21 students taking part in Bond Business Accelerator, an incubator program for early stage start-ups which combines formal training, practical skills, high level mentoring and investor introductions to help transform an idea into a fully-fledged commercial entity.
Alisha said the idea for Faebella was sparked by Bond University's Corrigan Walk, Australia's largest private collection of Indigenous art on public display.
"I was inspired to create Faebella to share the rich cultural history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a unique, contemporary way," she said.
"Indigenous art is bold, eye-catching and meaningful, and I want to bring this to a wider audience so more people in the world can appreciate it for its history and beauty.
"Activewear is a new trend that has made a huge impact on the fashion industry, and I felt that it was the perfect fit for the colour and energy expressed through Indigenous art."
Alisha said Faebella was starting out with a basic range of tights, sports bras and singlets, with a view to expand into yoga mats, swimwear and daywear in the future.
"The artwork is sourced from artists of Indigenous heritage, which gives us the opportunity to share their story along with the story behind their art," she said.
"I have been using my network of relatives and connections within the community to seek out Indigenous artists to partner with as there is so much talent in regional Indigenous communities.
“I am also looking to raise capital to work with photographers to capture images of artworks from these remote areas, so that I can then print their designs onto the fabric.
"That is where the Bond Business Accelerator program has been invaluable - it has given me the practical skills I need to help make Faebella a commercial success."
The Bond Business Accelerator is led by Dr Baden U’Ren, Director of the Bond Business Commercialisation Centre, and Program Manager Tres West, who are both mentoring Alisha as she works toward bringing her business to market.
Other top business leaders taking part in the program as mentors and advisors include serial entrepreneurs and commercialisation experts Aaron Birkby and Leigh Kelson.
Dr U’Ren said the program helped entrepreneurial students take their business dreams from the classroom to the boardroom.
"In today's global marketplace, a business concept born and bred on the Gold Coast can find lucrative markets anywhere in the world.
"Our mentors have all met the challenges of creating a business from scratch, so their expertise is of significant benefit to our students in helping them explore different possibilities and understanding the practicalities of bringing an idea to market.
"The Bond Business Accelerator is open to both students and existing small businesses and individuals looking to make their start-up concepts a reality."
For more information on the Bond Business Accelerator Program, visit http://bond.edu.au/bond-business-accelerator.