From material selection, designing, price strategizing to photo shoots and marketing activities, 10 Diploma in Fashion Design students from the INTI Centre for Art and Design (ICAD) were put through the rings in discovering the ABCs and backend work of the fashion industry through INTI’s recent collaboration with Royale Demure, the first global crowdfunding platform for fashion collections.

The collaboration also helped expose these students to the hustle of the fashion industry and skills needed to remain relevant and to succeed, which included leveraging digital and social platforms to gain exposure and attention to their work. The industry-academic collaboration, which is a first for Royale Demure, showcased the best of what ICAD’s fashion students had to offer in terms of creativity, innovation and drive to make it in this highly competitive industry.

Throughout the competition, the 10 final year students were required to select, design and prototype one garment of choice from their graduation collection to be sold on the Royale Demure platform. With support and guidance from Royale Demure’s experts, the students gained insights and advice on material options, price points, design elements, right down to coordinating a photoshoot and setting up their designer profiles on the platform. The students were then required to market and promote their designs to gain pledges on the crowdfunding platform and secure a maximum of 10 pledges to have their designs manufactured and sold. Using social media as a means to market their products, the students worked out creative and innovative ways to gain support from friends and followers. Some even pitched their designs to Instagram influencers who then helped to spread the word about their initiative.

Successfully completing the competition, Marcella Mia Lomoljo was named the winner for her classic Polar Boatneck Blouse which received rave reviews from the judges and the 10 pledges required to manufacture her piece. Designed as part of her graduation collection entitled ‘Maharlika’, the blouse is inspired by the traditional Filipino attire, “baro’t saya”. Drawing from her Philippines cultural roots, Marcella designed the modern versatile boatneck blouse for young chic women who wish to go from a day to a night look with ease.

“I’m so thankful to have won this competition as I did not really have any expectations at the initial stages. This being my first competition win is an affirmation of my efforts to show people what I can do with my designs. Beyond that, this competition has been a great exposure for me especially in understanding the marketing elements involved in being a fashion designer. Every day was a hustle to get the word out about my design and to promote it to my online audience, as that was a key aspect of the competition. It was a challenging process but I enjoyed every second of it,” shared Marcella who took the time to thank her lecturers and family for encouraging her on during the entire process.

Walking away with a RM500 token from INTI, Marcella will also earn a 40% share of profit from the sale of each of her design piece sold on Royale Demure’s platform.

“This has been an exciting collaboration for us at Royale Demure. We are happy to have facilitated a greater hands-on learning process for these students in understanding the entrepreneurial side of being a fashion designer. As a crowdfunding platform, our customers decide what is fashionable, trendy and worth manufacturing. In this way, the students got to understand the customers’ choices and needs, and we were able to share our expertise with these students in their design development to help cater to the masses, while keeping the integrity of their style and creativity,” shared Yap Sue Yii, the founder of Royale Demure.

Beyond facilitating fashion entrepreneurship for up and coming designers, the Royale Demure platform serves as a means to empower women from different social classes and economic backgrounds in supporting their designing and entrepreneurial aspirations. These women are single mothers, stay-at-home mums, and women from B40 groups or with disabilities who earn incomes from sewing orders through the platform.

“INTI is proud of this new collaboration with Royale Demure as we believe that collaborations like these truly expose our students to the right experiences, skills and people in making it in their relevant industries. Working with Royale Demure has been somewhat of a passion project and we look forward to providing more of our fashion design students with the opportunity to share their visions and creative passion while enhancing their employability at the same time,” shared Ang Tong Yin, Dean of the INTI Centre for Art and Design.