During a career that has spanned over 30 years, Susan Langdon has demonstrated the kind of enthusiasm and devotion to the fashion industry that has garnered constant recognition.
A native Torontonian and Ryerson fashion graduate, Susan began her career as a fashion design assistant, eventually attracting the eye of a financial backer. With financial support she launched womenswear labels: Keiko and Zakura in the late 1980s. While a designer, Susan received several design awards including the Concours Design Award and the Woolmark Award of Distinction.
In 1994, Susan's strong interpersonal skills and leadership qualities, coupled with a comprehensive knowledge of the fashion industry and previous teaching experience, led her to her current position as Executive Director of the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI). In 1996, Susan received the City of Toronto's, Industry Achievement Award. Following this prestigious honour, Susan received Ryerson University's Alumni Award of Distinction in 1998 and was selected as one of the first twelve inductees in the university's Hall of Fame. In September 2005, Susan received the JoAnna Townsend Award presented by OWIT (Organization of Women in International Trade). This award honours one outstanding woman in Ontario who, through her business and personal networks, fosters opportunities that actively support women entrepreneurs to achieve success in international business. In Perth, Australia, Susan was recognized at the Third International Conference of Fashion Incubators in 2011 for her contribution, support and assistance to the International Fashion incubator Network and in 2013, she was recognized by the federal government with a Community Appreciation Award for her volunteer work in the community. Earlier this fall, she received the Icon of Empowerment award by VWAT Family Services for advancing the careers of women and on October 19, 2015, Susan received the Fashion Visionary Award from Fashion Group International Toronto for her leadership and dedication.
Her commitment to TFI and efforts to nurture, support and promote new, up-coming design talent has assisted in launching the careers of many established designers. Over 18,000 jobs have been created through TFI programs and community outreach under Susan's direction. Because of TFI's success in job creation and youth entrepreneurship, there are now more than 30 fashion incubators located around the world based on the TFI model. Cities include London, Paris, New York, Milan, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Dublin, Capetown, Melbourne, Perth, Dunedin and more. She has generated media coverage from major print and broadcast media outlets such as Women's Wear Daily, New York Times, Herald Tribune, CBC, City TV, Global TV, Life Network, Montreal Gazette, Toronto Star, National Post, Elle and Flare which has raised the profile of the TFI and heightened international awareness of Toronto's vibrant design community.
Susan has a long history of volunteerism which began in public school, singing and performing in the UNICEF children's choir. She's volunteered for the Royal Ontario Museum, all five local fashion colleges and universities, CAFA, Canadian Cancer Society, Design Exchange, TOMFW and many more organizations. She has been an FGI member since 1989, volunteering on the Executive Board as Student Award Co-Chair and Corporate Secretary. As Executive Director and COO of the Toronto Fashion Incubator, Susan is responsible for the daily operation and management of the TFI including all financial reporting and organizational administration, promotion and marketing, fundraising and sponsorships, programming, community outreach and developing special events and seminars.
Follow her on Twitter & Instagram:
@SusanAtTFI and @TorontoFashion