Christina Exie

Christina Exie is a RMIT graduate, winner of reality TV show Project Runway 2012 and an entrepreneur. During her time on the show, Megan Gale and Peter Morissey – the judges – deemed some of her pieces worthy of any Paris or Milan runway! Christina, since then, has garnered a mass of experience through working with a variety of brands whether it be start ups or organisations with hundreds of stores.

So… what is it that inspired her to start her own business?

EXIE: the brand

Christina noticed a gap in the fashion market in which she could not find minimal yet bold activewear that made her feel strong and sexy. She wanted to ‘empower women to unleash their inner badass!’ The combination of this and her yearning to do something of her own, after the hiatus of her first brand, pushed her to start EXIE.

“I am an Entrepreneur at heart”

Established in 2019, EXIE was founded to provide women with technical activewear that has a street-style aesthetic. Eventually, through what Christina calls ‘the power of connection’, her business partnered with the Accent Group where they stocked within Stylerunner. EXIE became one of the most successful brands within their store! This connection helped transform her business from e-commerce only to also having 5 retail stores across Australia. Operationally, the partnership has been key and has allowed her to concentrate on the product and brand in more depth.

The brand’s values are closely aligned with Christina’s personal ones; her top three values are kindness, authenticity and courage.

“My values are my superpower”

KINDNESS

“It’s cool to be kind”

Sustainability is one of the key ways Christina makes sure her values are aligned with the business’. Currently, 60% of their collections are produced from recycled materials!

“When we talk about [sustainability] customers really are keen to know more and they’re more inclined to purchase into the recycled items because they’re aware of the drive that we have to be better to the world.”

Her creative process involves taking into account different fabrics, the quality & durability, the style of the garment, and the construction as well as the sustainability aspect. This ensures the end product is commercial and desirable.

EXIE also has an important focus on transparent ethical sourcing.

AUTHENTICITY

Despite her brand partnering with a large organisation – Accent Group – Christina remains hands-on in creative direction, designs and operation. This is what allows her brand’s uniqueness to prevail.

“Me being the face of the brand and … almost an ambassador of the brand helps customers feel more engaged with me and more open to communicate with me”

She uses her platform to provide product knowledge and is aspiring to become an influencer for EXIE.

COURAGE: MINDSET & WELL-BEING

Owning a business means finding the courage to recognize the times when you have to look after your mental health. Here are some ways Christina looks after hers:

Her routine includes working out, drinking lemon water before breakfast, staying away from artificial sugars, dips in the ocean once a week and saunas! She also highlights the significance of sleep on her well-being and how important it is that she gets at least 8 hours a day.

Mentally, she has a big emphasis on being kinder to herself. To do this, Christina blocks out any negative self-talk and changes the narrative inside her head by listening to her internal voice that gives rise to self-belief.

Christina also recommends connecting and having conversations with like-minded people that inspire you. This is because sharing challenges with a community encourages vulnerability with feelings.

 

The podcast will explore Christina Exie’s journey from winning Project Runway in 2012 to becoming the founder and creative director of the Australian athleisure brand EXIE.