21 August 2013

QUT's The Fleet Store Opening: 2013

Words by Saskia Edwards
Images by Jonathan Rae

Monday marked the opening of the 2013 Fleet Store and provided a veritable visual feast of innovative design. 

The store is located at QUT’s Kelvin Grove Creative Industries Precinct and is based in two PODS shipping containers. Granted, when the main container is busy it does evoke a claustrophobic Bikram shopping nightmare. However, it was undeniable the use of space was refined and capitalised on the small area. 

The Fleet Store maybe fleeting, but the designers featured in this annual event certainly aren’t. QUT’s Fleet Store has stocked some of Brisbane’s most promising designers like Ana Diaz, Austin Moro and George Wu. 

Again this year, there was promising talent – the already distinguished Edwina Sinclair with SOOT, Tess Gard’s 1989, Elvrik by Jordan Anderson and Oak and Hide’s Isabelle McGreevy to name a few. 

Not only was the event sponsored by PODS (the connotations with chocolate made the concept instantaneously attractive), but Sirromet winery provided the drinks that seemed to be an accessory to every patron’s outfit. 

The night also included musical performances including an acoustic version of Outkast’s Hey Ya, which was appreciated and duly noted. 

We spoke to General Manager for the Fleet Store Sarah Matulin about the shop. 

SE: What does the Fleet Store aim to do? 
SM: It started up by the double-degree Fashion and Business students basically for a way to use both of their degrees. So, having that creative thinking and using their creativity, but also having to put their business acumen into. You write so many assignments, but you never actually do anything. That was so of the main objective, but then to be able to stock our designers without them having to put all the overhead costs and all this and that, has been beneficial for them. So they can say on their resume, “I’ve been stocked at this store.” 

SE: So how does this fleet store differ to how it’s been done in the past? 
SM: So in the past, in 2010 they had it in Wintergarden. And then in 2012 they had it at GP. We just thought a pop-up store in 2010 was the new hip cool thing. Now it’s pretty done. And so we were like, “how can we make it still a little bit new?” So we thought, “Why not a shipping container?” Originally I wanted to have an ice cream truck go everywhere, but we had to get what we could. This actually worked out better for us anyway. So yeah we thought, “Let’s have a shipping container.” We had the visual merch on it and they had to play with what they had. 

SE: So are all the designers incumbent students? 
SM: Every designer in here has at some stage been at QUT in Fashion. They’re either creative industries Fashion or there’s the CEA Incubator mentees as well.

SE: So how does this help propel these students forward? 
SM: It’s so different to doing an assignment. We’re basically running a business. We started with no money, we had to get everything sponsored. We’ve all got interns, so actually managing someone, it’s a real life assignment project. It’s definitely taught us all something. 

SE: So who sponsors the Fleet Store this year? 
SM: So this year we got our PODS sponsored, we didn’t have to pay anything for them. Sirromet wine sponsored. Creative Industries gave us money because we had to pay the wage of the manager who has to be here every day. We also had Culture Magazine and CEA Incubator. 
SE: How long is the Fleet Store open? 
SM: For two weeks, till the 30th of August.

Disclaimer (FULL DISCLOSURE: The author has a personal relationship with Jordan Anderson)


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