It used to be a young designer's dream: finish study, draft a collection, create a label and open your own store.
But that dream is changing, according to Brisbane designer Joshua Scacheri.
The creator of the label Subfusco says that these days, young designers are better off online than on the street.
Having operated his Fortitude Valley retail space alongside some of Brisbane's best boutiques since 2007, Mr Scacheri will this weekend close the doors of his store for good.
The designer-retailer says he'll focus his company's funds and direction on the digital marketplace instead, where he hopes to reach a bigger crowd of consumers both domestically and overseas.
He said he was excited by the new challenge and wasn't saddened to see the store close.
“A lot of people think that having your own store is a sign of success,” Mr Scacheri said. “But I don't believe that – retail is struggling, Australia small market, there's a need to innovate and there's plenty of opportunity online.
“Online, I can reach a global consumer, not just the people who come into my shop in Brisbane.”
In that sense, Mr Scacheri's decision is the right one, Queensland University of Technology fashion and business lecturer Kay McMahon said, adding many young designers were struggling to get a foothold in a retail market dominated by long-established brands.
“Many retailers and department stores aren't willing to take a punt on a new designer for fear they'll crash and burn,” Ms McMahon said.
“And you'll find that astute consumers will go into a store to try the garments on, only to go home and try and find the cheapest price online.
“Moving your business online creates a lot of possibilities, but there are a lot of downfalls too.”
But while the digital sphere means fashion designers can access new markets previously unavailable, Ms McMahon said they were stymied by shoppers reluctant to buy online.
That includes traditional customers who preferred to 'try before buying' or those who would rather shop where they could get a comprehensive idea of the designer's concept via store design and staff service.
While savings on rent and wages were a benefit of trading online, Ms McMahon said they were countered by a need to spend more money on marketing whether through social media, advertising or strategic placement on blogs or industry websites.
“You can't just build an online store and expect they will come,” Ms McMahon said.
“You still have to understand the market and get the right product to the customer at the right time.
“And that's what it's still all about – having the right product.”
Mr Scacheri said the success of his label Subfusco with overseas consumers had partly motivated his decision to shutter his local shop for a borderless online boutique.
Though stocked in a number of stores around Australia and regularly shown at national fashion weeks, the designer said his label performed best in Asia and America where it was supported in both sales and press attention.
“The market here is just so saturated,” he said.
“The idea is that these days, you can take your product directly to the consumers who want it.
“You're not bound by one location anymore.”
The Subfusco flagship boutique closes today (July 16). The store will trade from 9am to 6pm, with a DJ and markdowns commemorating the occasion.