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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2011
TTC Ridership to Learn More About World AIDS Day Dec 1st

Very cool! Kudos to Toronto's Transit Commission

Toronto, ON- Beating out a slew of organizations for the annual coveted TTC spot, non-profit organization, Africa’s Children-Africa’s Future (AC-AF) and their campaigns will appear in numerous TTC stations across Toronto on December 1. On this World AIDS Day, AC-AF will reach out to more than 100,000 Torontonians in subway stations to promote understanding and awareness of the AIDS epidemic. Founder and Director Gita Jaffe is very thankful AC-AF has such a strong platform on which to extend the message and goals of the registered charity. "Being visible at numerous TTC stations all across the city is an amazing opportunity”, says Jaffe. “With the media ablaze withnew information pertaining to the  AIDS epidemic released this past week, AC-AF will be in the public eye on Thursday, and the television and print networks and outlets will be looking to us to learn about what we are doing to make a difference globally.”

Jaffe has an ambitious goal in mind this year. Aside from raising $15,000 with 100% of proceeds going to AC-AF and its programming, she hopes to increase the exposure of AC-AF and their innovative approaches. This shouldn’t be a huge hurdle for a small organization that is making strides in the charity world and has been recognized internationally for its unique programming and work. Riders and media can look forward to a day of outreach including:

  -Volunteers interacting with the daily ridership of the TTC, including the opportunity to learn more about AC-AF and its programming
- Purchasing red ribbons at $1 each
- Entering a prize giveaway which boasts: a hockey stick signed by the entire Toronto Maple Leafs Team, roundtrip Air Canada tickets for anywhere in North America, Hotel night stays and more.
- Being able to purchase “Make an Impact: Presents with Presence” campaign cards.  An ethical gift card campaign designed to donate to AC-AF and their programs, while learning about the costs associated with their work, such as school fees and the extra fruits and vegetables for children living with HIV and AIDS.
 
All proceeds will directly benefit AC-AF’s two main programs.  The OVCSP, AC-AF’s pilot program, cited as showing preliminary success as a sustainable solution to the orphan crisis, for the only known program that provides micro-credit loans to people under the age of 18 helping to jumpstart the most vulnerable children and families.   And, funds will also support u + me=we, a program which aims to educate and empower school-aged children and youth about the AIDS epidemic. Funds will also support
 
The public will also get a chance to take a look at images and the idea behind their new fashion campaign, Walk the Truth, which calls upon international designers and celebrities to design for and walk the runway to raise money for AC-AF’s overseas programs.


ABOUT AC-AFSince 2008, Africa’s Children-Africa’s Future (AC-AF) has worked within African communities to help build a better, sustainable future for the most vulnerable children. To date, AC-AF has assisted over 5,000 children and youth. AC-AF also spearheads fashion charity campaign, Walk the Truth, to unite the fashion community in support of orphans overseas who have been affected by HIV and AIDS. To learn more about Africa’s Children- Africa’s Future visit: www.ac.af.com.  To learn more about Walk the Truth visit:  www.walkthetruth.com

ABOUT WORLD AIDS DAYWorld AIDS Day is held annually every December 1 in order to bring to light the issues those who have been affected by HIV and AIDS must face. Through awareness and events, World AIDS Day gives people the opportunity to put their knowledge into action. Participants unite globally to spark cross-cultural dialogue and continue the fight against this epidemic. To learn more about World AIDS Day visit: www.unaids.org

 

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2011
Win a DREAM Prize from TFI

Calling all designers! TFI New Labels fashion design competition application deadline is December 6. If you are a women's wear designer in business for three years or less, consider yourself a candidate to win a dream prize including $25,000 cash. Contact TFI for information on how to apply.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 04, 2011
Photo from the P&G Beauty and Grooming Awards 2011

Blogger:  Susan Langdon
Twitter:  SusanAtTFI
Just received some gorgeous flowers and this photo from P&G Beauty and Grooming which was taken on Tuesday at the Awards. 

That's me in the centre (wearing Greta Constantine and jewellery by Roxx) with Stefani Valkonen, External Relations, P&G Inc. on the left and TFI's Nina Facciolo on the right (wearing Joeffer Caoc). Many, many thanks to P&G Canada for inviting me to participate this year (my 3rd year in a row!). Have a great weekend everyone.
 

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2011
Gail McInnes: BHD Woman

Blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: SusanAtTFI
WOOT!  Check out this fabulous interview on Broken Heel Diaries with Toronto-based IT girl Gail McInnes

Gail runs a successful marketing and event management company called Magnet Creative and in her part time, she volunteers for TFI and runs the Passion For Fashion program at Youth Employment Services. 

I first met Gail a while ago when she was a teen model and just embarking on her fashion career. But it wasn't until she starting working at TFI as my assistant that I truly got to know and love her. After leaving TFI and gaining some more industry experience, Gail joined TFI's Resident program and launched Canada's first styling lounge called The Style Box. Earlier this year, Gail was nominated for The Scottish Fashion Awards (she's a native Glaswegian) which was held in conjunction with Vogue.com.

in Gail's profile on Broken Heel Diaries she says that I've been her mentor and role model for the last 10 years. I'm extremely honoured and touched to think that I've made a difference. God willing, I hope to be a source of inspiration for Gail and others for many years to come. Thank you for the mention Gail!

Below, lovely Gail rocking the red carpet

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 02, 2011
P&G Beauty and Grooming Awards 2011

Blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: SusanAtTFI
On November 1st, the 3rd annual P&G Beauty & Grooming Awards took place at The Carlu. This year's celebrity MC was the gorgeous & talented Kim Cattrall. Often purring, always alluring, Ms. Cattrall looked stunning in a LBD that skimmed her curves. 

The first award of the night, Best Fashion Feature (one award each in French & English) was presented by talented menswear designer Phillipe Dubuc and myself. The Best Fashion Feature English went to Elio Iannacci for Macleans and The Best Fashion Feature French went to Stephan Le Duc for Dressed to Kill

In my opinion, the unofficial award for Best Presenter should go to singer Jully Black who had the audience in stitches with her quick-witted remarks. On the topic of beauty, Jully stated that women consume an average of 7 lbs. of lipgloss every year. Her next line was, "Quick! Someone get me a tissue cuz I'm gaining weight just standing here."  Badaboom. (Side note: the girl watches her Dr. Oz - I found that reference on his website.)

The evening was fabulous and I had the opportunity to meet and speak with P&G Canada's new President, Thom Lachman, FOB from Boston (ok, well he's been in Toronto for four months now). What a lovely person he is and very approachable. 

Kudos to P&G Beauty and Grooming and to MSL for hosting a fabulous night and huge congrats to all of the nominees and award winners. For a list of winners and event photos, visit P&G Beauty & Grooming on Facebook.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2011
EXCITING NEWS about TFI New Labels

Blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: SusanAtTFI
TFI is extremely excited to release the following news about our annual New Labels competition. Prizing for 2012 is a whopping $60,000 including $25,000 in CASH!  This is more than we've ever been able to offer and without the support of industry leaders, this would not be possible. 

MANY, MANY THANKS to Suzanne Rogers, TNT Boutique and FLARE magazine for providing the New Labels winner's prizes and to the City of Toronto and P&G Beauty & Grooming for supporting the New Labels event.

(note: MARK THE DATE:  Catch the New Labels runway finale & award presentation on May 3, 2012 at the Royal Ontario Museum. Tickets will be on sale soon!)

Here is today's official press release:




TFI New Labels® Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Increased Prizing
Suzanne Rogers to Donate $25,000 to Competition Winner    

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – TORONTO, Canada – OCTOBER 25, 2011 – The Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) has enhanced its grand prize for the annual TFI New Labels® Competition with the involvement of philanthropist Suzanne Rogers, who will donate $25,000 to the competition winner. The upcoming year marks the TFI’s 25th Anniversary of supporting and growing Canadian fashion businesses.  The non-profit organization will celebrate in style with a spectacular black tie fundraising gala on May 3, 2012 at the Royal Ontario Museum.  TFI's New Labels® runway show and other entertainment will take place during the event. 

“Our 25th Anniversary marks an incredible milestone for the organization,” says Susan Langdon, Executive Director, Toronto Fashion Incubator. “We are extremely pleased that Suzanne Rogers’ contribution to TFI and to New Labels allows us to  provide such an incredible cash award to a promising new designer. With Suzanne's leadership and support, we hope to attract Canada's best new talent to our national design competition this year.”

"For a new designer, winning The Suzanne Rogers Award for Most Promising New Label is an incredible honour that would definitely kick start someone's career," says Golnaz Ashtiani, TFI New Labels winner 2011. "The cash award of $25,000 is a phenomenal prize that could be used towards the production and development of a line, marketing or hiring an assistant."

“The Toronto Fashion Incubator is an organization that has helped so many renowned Canadian designers ” says Suzanne Rogers. “I am delighted to offer my encouragement to the industry by supporting new designers through this award”. 
The upcoming New Labels® Competition winner will take home over $60,000 in total prizes:

• The Suzanne Rogers Award for Most Promising New Label, a cash prize of $25,000
• A one-year, 24/7 design studio at TFI sponsored by TNT boutique
• A full-page editorial in FLARE magazine

ABOUT TFI NEW LABELSTFI New Labels® is a prestigious national fashion design competition and exciting runway show exclusively featuring TFI members who have been in business three years or less. Since 1992, TFI's New Labels® Fashion Design competition has featured the hottest up-coming design talent in Canada. 

It's an opportunity to meet and interact with a prestigious panel of judges from the fashion industry, a boot camp for new designers to gain valuable knowledge about how to create a newsworthy yet marketable line, how to edit their line and discover what's involved in planning a fashion show...an opportunity designers can't afford to miss!

The competition kicks off in the fall and the top few finalists will be featured in the TFI New Labels® runway show on May 3, 2012 where the winner is announced. The event attracts approximately 500 - 1,000 retailers, buyers, stylists, editors and fashionable consumers.

ABOUT THE TFI
The Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) is an award-winning and highly-acclaimed non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and nurturing Canadian fashion designers and entrepreneurs. Established in 1987 as the world's first official "fashion incubator", the TFI model has been adopted by cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Melbourne, Auckland, Amsterdam, and Milan.  Housed in an 8,000 sq. ft. heritage building at Exhibition Place in Toronto, TFI provides critical support to creative entrepreneurs to develop the business and professional skills they need to thrive and survive. Start-up and advanced community programs include educational seminars on the business of fashion, one-on-one mentoring with industry professionals, exclusive promotional and sales opportunities, and valuable sales, marketing and trend resources.

New Labels® is generously sponsored by the City of Toronto, FLARE Magazine, P&G Beauty and Grooming, TNT Boutique, Rogers Communications and Suzanne Rogers

Toronto Fashion Incubator: 285 Manitoba Drive, Exhibition Place Toronto, Ontario M6K 3C3 Canada 416.971.7117 tfi@fashionincubator.com www.fashionincubator.com

For all media enquiries, images, and additional information, please contact Faulhaber PR:
Christine Faulhaber Christine@faulhaberpr.com Lindsay Singer Lindsay@faulhaberpr.com 416.504.0768

MONDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2011
Happy Thanksgiving Canada

Blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: SusanAtTFI
Bring on the turkey and fine wine!  Happy Thanksgiving Day Canada!
Aside from good food & drink, today's a day to give thanks to all that we have and to all those who have loved and helped us.

On a personal note, I give thanks to my incredible mother who has survived a lifetime of tragedy and who now faces the biggest battle of her life. At age 92, the doctors think she has cancer of the uterus and if it is that, there's nothing they can do for her at her age.  She is facing the news with courage and thanks. Yes, thanks for living to 92 and having three daughters who love her and who are now taking care of her.  

My mother's philosophy towards life is what gives me strength and what keeps me going. If she can survive the depression, prison camp during WW2, losing a son to leukemia, losing a husband to a hit-and-run driver, then losing a brother the exact same way decades later, then my battles and challenges pale in comparison.  A few months ago, I sat beside someone at a fundraising dinner and was asked to describe myself. I said, "I'm a survivor". That's what I am; that's what my mother is.

I'm also grateful for having the best job of my career. I love TFI and working with Nina, all of our members, our mentors, our sponsors and with everyone who is so supportive of our non-profit.  It's not an easy job; the work is endless and I always feel that there's so much more we could do if we had more funds.  But it's incredibly rewarding and affirming to see and hear how TFI is helping to make a difference in so many people's lives.

What are you thankful for today?  Send me a tweet @SusanAtTFI - I'd love to hear from you.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 06, 2011
TFI's Press & Buyers Breakfast ss2012

Blogger:  Susan Langdon
Twitter: SusanAtTFI
WOW! What a spectacular day we had at our annual Press & Buyers Breakfast!  12 amazingly talented TFI members presented their spring 2012 apparel & accessory lines to media and buyers including Maxi Boutique, ShopGirls, LOULOU, FLARE, FASHION, Filler Magazine and to members of TFI Board & Advisory.  Here are a few shots from the event:

Gorgeous black & white tulle dress from Alya Couture



Stunning jewels from MMCrystal



Adorable children's wear by Binksy & Bobo



And in the gift bags...delicious cake pops from @JennBorghEvents by Jennifer Borgh "dressed" by @finalfashion by Danielle Meder.



Many thanks to the AMAZING City of Toronto for supporting TFI and our Breakfast event, and to our wonderful gift bag sponsors John Frieda, Jennifer Borgh Events & popchips!  (Have I admitted that I'm hooked on popchips? Totally! Only 100 calories per bag)

MONDAY, OCTOBER 03, 2011
TFI on Breakfast Television

Blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: SusanAtTFI
After waking up at a gruelling 3am in order to be at TFI at 5am with hair & makeup ready, we had a FANTASTIC early morning at Breakfast Television, one of my FAVOURITE shows!  I love Dina, Kevin, Frankie & Jennifer - they're always so cheery and happy - it must be a lot of fun to work there.




So did you catch our segment on BT Toronto today?  Joining me were 5 lovely models, Brennan, Esme, Bonnie, Natalie and Katerina, all wearing designer clothing and accessories from members of the Toronto Fashion Incubator. Here's a shot of our models at the BT studio, waiting to go on (it was freezing in the studio!).


In case you didn't know, Natalie Sydoruk (second from the right) is a Resident at TFI who designs a line with Shawna Robinson. Their line is called LABEL and they just returned from doing a trade show in NYC. Anyway, Natalie was very kind to model for two Outreach members, newcomer Adrian Wu who created the gold jacquard dress and Bonnie Yam for ROXX Jewels. You can't see the gorgeous statement necklace and bracelet as Natalie has her coat on, but I have a ROXX crystal and lucite necklace and it's stunning!

Beside Natalie to her right is Esme wearing a beautiful laser-printed silk charmeuse dress by Paris Li. It's $395 and available at Your Choice and UPC boutique in Toronto. She's accessorized with a lovely necklace and matching bracelet made from semi-precious stones by Tenielle Franklin for Tenielle Design. The jewellery ranges from $200 to $400 retail and can be found at Freda's and Made You Look.

Brennan, far left, is wearing the little black dress reinvented in bamboo-lyocell by MIIK and she's accessorized with a necklace made from vintage finds from Tricia McMaster for Green Bijou and a raffia clutch purse from Ann & Arayata designed by Lara Stephenson.

Beside her, Katerina is wearing a stunning white silk and French silk evening dress from Alya Couture by Maher Alami and outstanding crystal jewellery by Michelle Merizzi for MMCrystal. The gorgeous dress is available in Toronto at Hugo Nicolson and MMCrystal can be found at By Tocca in Oakville and Eleven Boutique in Toronto.

It's hard to see from this photo but Bonnie is wearing a limited edition, digitally-printed dress by Amanda Emmanuel for House of Eenah that's available exclusively at Ursula B in Montreal. 

Many thanks to all of the designers and models for making our in-studio debut at Breakfast Television a huge success!  Also, many thanks to TFI Office Manager Nina Facciolo who met me at TFI at 5:00am to greet everyone!  Nina, you are a huge asset to TFI and I don't know what I'd do without you. xoxo

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2011
Excited for tomorrow

Blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: SusanAtTFI
We're holding our first Branding Clinic at TFI with Gail McInnes from Magnet Creative and it will be fabulous!

Over 2 hours, twenty fashion entrepreneurs will receive 5 - 10 minutes of quick branding advice to help them achieve greater consistency and presence. It'll be crazy busy but there'll be a lot of positive, creative energy! Can't wait for it!

If you missed the call to sign up, contact TFI and get on the list for the next session (November).

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2011
WGSN Night

Blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: SusanAtTFI
I feel enlightened today after an inspiring presentation by Carly Stojsic, Canada's market Editor for WGSN (Worth Global Style Network), the world's leading online service for global trend analysis.  It's always great to hear Carly speak as she's so bubbly and enthusiastic which is contagious! 

Carly shared key cultural trends for 2012 and macro trends for fall 2012/13. 

Among the highlights:

-Science will be sexy 
-We will be on a quest for our best self
-We will De-Tech by making time away from technology & creating a greater life balance
-The new emerging middle class in countries like Africa will drive consumer demand
-3 key fashion trends will emerge: HYPER CULTURE, RADICAL NEUTRALITY & ECO-HEDONISM

All of the information Carly shared is available through access to WGSN which we have at TFI.  If you're a TFI member, book some time in the Resource Centre to browse through WGSN for FREE. If you're not a member, what are you waiting for?  Sign up today! The cost of a TFI membership is about .4% of the cost of a WGSN subscription.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2011
ICFI Perth 2011

Blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: SusanAtTFIMy sincerest apologies for not posting any blogs since August but it's been a crazy time. I just returned from Perth, Australia, after attending ICFI The 3rd International Conference of Fashion Incubators. 52 hours in flight is not my thing, but the conference was well worth the trip & jet lag.  

I met 100 people, all passionate and committed towards fashion incubation and helping fashion entrepreneurs grow and build their businesses.  I was inspired by the results of Karen Webster, who was Festival Director of the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, I learned about the Gateway School of Fashion in South Africa from Shelagh Wright and I was shocked to hear from Lexy Moji-Eyes (cool name!) that there are no retail outlets in Africa.

Many, many thanks to Carol Hanlon, Conference Convener, for organizing a fantastic conference!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 2011
The Breakfast is ON

Blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: SusanAtTFIFacebook: TFI Toronto Fashion Incubator

The judges have met and their votes are in!  On October 6th, TFI will be hosting its annual Press & Buyers Breakfast boutique trade show and we've got a GREAT line up of new lines to showcase. I can't say who they are right now but stay tuned for more news. 

Meanwhile, I'd like to thank our FABULOUS event sponsors for their contributions to our Breakfast event:

-City of Toronto Economic Development (we love you Laurie!)
-Popchips (oh so yummy & good for you too)
-John Freida (so we can all look great)
-Jennifer Borgh Events (delicious take-home cakepops on a stick) 

If you're a retail buyer or fashion media and would like to attend, please complete and send in our Buyer/Press accreditation form here and we'll get back to you. Meanwhile, mark the date! 




WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 03, 2011
TFI Mentor Questions

Blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: SusanAtTFI
We've been receiving a lot of online mentor questions through the TFI website recently and it's great to see so many people using this free online community service. 

If you're looking for a specific answer regarding your fashion business or career, try using the "search" function and entering a key word search such as "stylist" or "school". Here's the link:
http://www.fashionincubator.com/mentors/search.php

Or, if you'd like to submit your own question, please complete our fast & easy form:
http://www.fashionincubator.com/mentors/ask_a_question/index.shtml

Cheers & have a great day!
Susan

TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2011
Meet & Mingle Night

Guest blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter:  SusanAtTFI
Many thanks to everyone who attended TFI's Meet & Mingle event last night. Almost 40 members & their guests networked, socialized and met some very interesting guest speakers. 

On hand to share their knowledge and advice were:

Ashlee Froese, a branding and fashion lawyer at Keyser Mason Ball LLP.  Ashlee practices in trade-marks, copyright, domain name, packaging and labelling laws.  Along with being a fellow TFI Outreach member, Ashlee is an executive member of the Toronto Intellectual Property Group, as well as a committee member with the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada.  Ashlee is a frequent guest lecturer on branding law at the University of Toronto, York University, Osgoode Hall Law School, Seneca College and Sheridan College.  Ashlee also operates a website www.CanadaFashionLaw.com that examines legal issues surrounding the fashion industry.  Feel free to follow her on Twitter @brandfashionlaw.

Jenifer Forrest is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Fashion Design program. In 2003, she launched Bennie and Olive, an accessory design company that has been featured in magazines such as InStyle UK, Italian Elle, and Fashion. She served as an advisor at the Toronto Business Development Centre where she mentored new entrepreneurs through their first year of business and she's presently a Fashion Masters student at Ryerson University studying the effects of globalization on Canadian dress identity. Jenifer is currently updating TFI and the City of Toronto’s retailer databases, which are useful resources for designers looking to connect with retail buyers. Last night, she discussed the challenges designers can face when approaching buyers.

Glasgow-born, Toronto-based Gail McInnes is the owner and principal of Magnet Creative Management, a marketing, promotions and events management company founded in 2010. She's also the program coordinator for A Passion for Fashion, a free six-part fashion entrepreneurship program for youth aged 16 - 29 and she talked about the benefits of participating in PFF.  Having been involved in Toronto’s fashion scene for fourteen years in such areas as model and artist management, casting, retail market research, fashion show coordination, marketing, promotions, sponsorship, event planning, trend forecasting, and fashion reporting, Gail also answered some general questions about the fashion industry. Last month, Gail was nominated as “Communicator of the Year” by the prestigious Scottish Fashion Awards, in association with VOGUE.com.

Of course, I was also here answering questions about TFI's annual Press & Buyers Breakfast event taking place October 6, 2011. This once a year, invitation-only, boutique-style trade show featuring just 20 juried exhibitors (all TFI members) is a fantastic way to meet retailers and fashion press one-on-one. Applications to participate in the Breakfast are now available by request at 416.971.7117 or via email. Application deadline is August 19th so be sure to get your application ASAP. 

It was GREAT to see so many people last night and I hope that you'll join us in November for our next TFI Members Meet & Mingle. Stay tuned for the event date.



WEDNESDAY, JULY 13, 2011
TNT Gives Back To Fashion
$10,000 Donation to TFI

On June 28, 2011, TFI presented a seminar with Arie Assaraf, owner/buyer of TNT luxury boutiques at the TNT location in Hazelton Lanes.

Passionately speaking from his heart, and sharing valuable advice gleaned from 20 years as a successful fashion retailer, Arie captivated the audience which was comprised of 60 local fashion and business entrepreneurs. 

Just before the seminar began, Arie presented TFI's Susan Langdon with a $10,000 donation.  Speaking on behalf of the non-profit organization, Susan referred to Arie as a pillar of Canada's fashion retail community and thanked him for his generosity, kindness and support.  Said Langdon, "Many thanks also to TNT customers and staff for their wonderful contributions. The TNT donation will be used towards community programming offered by our non-profit organization."

If you attended TFI's seminar, check out your photo here: http://www.tntfashion.ca/tnt-gives-back-to-fashion/



Above, Arie captivates everyone's attention



Susan Langdon accepts TNT's $10,000 donation to the Toronto Fashion Incubator


TUESDAY, JUNE 21, 2011
Fashion Insider Getaways on FLARE.com

Blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: SusanAtTFI
It's officially the first day of summer so check out these vacation getaway ideas and travel tips from fashion insiders (including moi) http://bit.ly/jK8KSA

FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2011
Don't Cry For Me Argentina

Blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: susanattfi

If you were following my tweets earlier this month, you knew I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was one of 200 international delegates invited by the government of Argentina to attend the MICA cultural and design festival which showcased the work of the country's emerging creative talents.

I was the only representative from Canada from the fashion industry, but I met buyers from New York as well as people from around the world engaged in the music, publishing and film/tv industries. 

Every day for 3 days, we each met with 30 Argentinian companies eager to learn more about our markets. I explained to everyone I met that I wasn't a buyer, but that I could give insight into the Canadian market and if their product was right for our climate. Mostly it wasn't; the apparel designers I met with underestimated how cold it can get in Canada (I saw fall 2011 lines since it's already winter there).  Wool and wool felt coats were gorgeous and innovative, but not nearly warm enough for when it gets below zero degrees. 

Everyone was gracious and appreciative, even if we had language problems. I don't speak Spanish (other than the basics of hola, buenos dias, si and gracias) so it was really interesting trying to have a business meeting when the other party didn't speak English! 

MICA held a fashion show featuring something like 90 designers - yes - NINETY. A lovely woman I met from the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC joined me in catching the show which was held outdoors even though it was only 6 degrees. There were no heaters so we huddled with a thousand others and sat on cold concrete steps for about 2 hours to watch the show.  Despite missing our bus back to the hotel, we enjoyed a great evening and I was very pleasantly surprised to see the high calibre of fashion design.  Watching the show, I was also happy to see that the universal "Rule of Three" exists everywhere!  

(The Rule of Three: a design element should repeat at least 3 times in a collection to add consistency and cohesiveness to the line.)

Here are some images from the show; I apologize for the image quality as I was probably shivering at the time:




Designers from Argentina love working with felted wool that they've hand-created. I love the fact that this garment pays homage to its South American roots through styling and by incorporating design motifs.



Is this not a fabulous, contemporary design? Look at the silhouette, the detail and the accessories. I'm not sure who the designer is but she or he created both of the looks above. 

The fashion show included some entertainment too; below is a shot of a wonderful menage a trois tango scene. Did you know that the tango was created in Buenos Aires?
Even the dancers' dresses and hats were stunning!



I may not ever visit Argentina again but if I do, I must remember these travel tips (learned the hard way):

1. Never pick up a taxi off the street. There are "real" taxis and "fake" taxis but to a tourist, you'd never know the difference until you're ripped off.  My friend, a buyer from MOMA in New York, and I got robbed by a fake taxi!

2. If you go in June, take gloves. It was 30 degrees celsius in Toronto the day I left and while I knew it would be winter in the southern hemisphere, I didn't expect the weather to be as cold as it was.

3. Learn some Spanish. Especially important to know how to say "I don't speak Spanish".  Someone told me to say "No say" (which loosely means I don't understand) and that seemed to get the message across but it didn't help with the communication.

4. Coming home, at the airport in BA, there was a booth outside offering to shrink-wrap luggage for $12 a bag. I kept seeing all of these shrink-wrapped bags and wondered why anyone would bother. Now I know why:  my suitcase was broken into twice at the airport. At first I thought it was for a security check but I was told by a local that no, it was someone looking for valuables and electronics. Best advice: go for the shrinkwrap, no matter how ridiculous or ugly it appears.

5. Leave the stillettos at home. Cobblestones everywhere, ladies. I have a hard time in flats (being vertically challenged) but I wore my gunmetal DKNY wedge sneakers a lot more than I thought I would. Lifesavers!





SUNDAY, MAY 22, 2011
TNT Turns 20

Blogger: Susan Langdon
Congratulations to Arie Assaraf and his outstanding team at TNT Toronto for hosting a fabulous 20th anniversary party on May 12th. Nicole Richie was among the VIP guests who attended the star-studded event. 

Guests enjoyed an open bar featuring TNT-inspired cocktails, sushi from Blowfish and a 25% savings on all store merchandise by making a $20 donation to TFI.  Arie hosted a similar event and TFI fundraiser at his Montreal store on May 19 as he's pledged to raise $10,000 for TFI! 

Thank you Arie! Everyone at TFI is sincerely grateful for your generosity. 




Above, the party entrance just before guests arrived.



TNT created a private courtyard at Hazelton Lanes



Arie (right) with Nikki Wirthensohn from Narces (centre) and a model wearing a dress from her New Labels fall 2012 collection



Arie with family, friends and TNT staff (Kat in red, Sarah, far right)

FRIDAY, MAY 06, 2011
The Art and Value of Face-to-Face Networking

Guest blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: susanattfi
This past Tuesday, we held a seminar at TFI on Financing Your Fashion Business and about 30 people attended. While I'm confident that seminar attendees learned about traditional and new sources to fund a business, many people lost out on the networking opportunity at the start of the evening. 

Looking for a job? According to the Robert Half Management Resources agency, 70 to 80% of all top level jobs are acquired through who you know. Hoping to snag a new client or close a deal?  Face-to-face networking is the most effective way to develop a business relationship and as we all know, people prefer to deal with people they know and like.

I realize that creative people tend to be shy and introverted; as a designer by trade, I'm naturally that way too. But through experience I've learned that opportunities just don't present themselves; you have to make them happen. So at the next TFI event, I'd love to see everyone standing and chatting; not sitting quietly alone. Think you're up to the challenge?
To help you out, here are some tips and advice for the shy entrepreneur.

http://freelancefolder.com/the-shy-freelancer%E2%80%99s-guide-for-face-to-face-networking/ 

http://www.youthedesigner.com/2008/03/12/face-to-face-business-networking-101/

THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2011
TFI New Labels

Guest blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: @susanattfi
I cannot believe it's the end of April and that I haven't updated you on what happened at TFI's annual New Labels event which was held on April 14th at the Design Exchange.

I'm sure you heard by now that there were three talented finalists up for the grand prize: Caitlin Power, Nikki Wirthensohn for Narces and Golnaz Ashtiani for Ashtiani. 
The judges had a tough time making a decision; I know, I was there in the deliberation room!  With the pressure on to decide a winner in mere minutes, after a brief debate, the judges made their decision and Golnaz Ashtiani (below, centre) was awarded the grand prize of $10,000 cash and a feature in an upcoming issue of FLARE magazine.



Ashtiani also received a one-year TFI membership renewal and the opportunity to design a piece for Sears Canada.

The event ran very smoothly and relatively stress-free. There were about 300 attendees and other than a model showing up almost an hour late and nearly missing the rehearsal, no major technical or logistical glitches occurred.  I guess those countless nights of planning, planning and more planning paid off!

And the icing on the cake?  Not only did buyers from Holt Renfrew, The Room, TNT, Sears and Jean Machine attend, but at a meeting with TNT the morning after the show, it was confirmed that the store will feature items from all three New Labels finalists in the Hazelton Lanes store this fall!  Major SCORE!

Congratulations to all of the finalists, thanks to all of you who purchased an event ticket and many, many thanks to our event sponsors:

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 2011
Fashion Week Fall 2011

Guest Blogger: Susan Langdon

It's day three of the official LG Fashion Week calendar but unofficially, the fall fashion show season started two weeks ago. That's when a few designers started to show off-site & off-calendar.  

There's been hushed chatter and several conspiracy stories circulating this week about why some have chosen not to participate in LGFW but, and maybe I'm naive, I believe there are a few honest reasons why this is happening.

First, there will always be; has always been, designers who want to show their collections in a venue that expresses their inspiration for the season. Remember TFI resident alumna Crystal Siemens and some of her unexpected venue choices?  A parking garage (she was the first one to show in one in Toronto), among the trees at Cherry Beach, in a deserted warehouse and in the deserted Crystal Ballroom at the King Edward. 

Secondly, there may be a sponsor conflict. If a designer is being sponsored significantly by a company that is not one of LGFW's sponsors, there's likely a exclusivity conflict in play that's complicating matters. When you enter a sponsorship agreement with a company, there are benefits and deliverables that must be honoured and I can see where both LGFW and the designer would want to do what it takes to keep their sponsors happy. No sponsors = no show!

Finally, some people just don't like to conform to rules, regulations and responsibilities that come with a shared environment. I see it all the time from running TFI, where everything is shared, and from our group events.  I don't mean to say that everyone thinks this way; clearly there are many, many people who are happy to enjoy the cost-saving benefits of a shared environment in return for having to follow a few rules & regs.

So stop worrying people. Let's focus on the business at hand, and that's the business of fashion.

FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011
Thought for the weekend

Guest blogger: Susan Langdon
TFI member Jennifer Borgh sent me a message today and I thought I'd share it with you. It's a message of hope and heaven knows we can all do with more positive reinforcement in our lives. Thanks so much Jennifer!


Dear Susan,
The other day someone on Twitter was asking what you wished your parents had told you.

I think I wish that my parents would have told me that rejection can mean nothing.

Sometimes it's a sign that you need to move on but sometimes it's a sign that you just need to ask someone else:) Sometimes it just means something better is right around the corner.

It’s important to look at your business with objective eyes and get feedback from others to make sure you are on the right track but if you are certain that you are, then don’t get discouraged by the many no’s you will hear in your lifetime.  I think that Fashion designers, Singers,  and Actors are told NO more than any other careers.  Shows such as Canadian Idol and Project Runway have become inspirational and popular.  They give hope to all of the designers and talented artists that are trying to get a start in the business.

I love looking at success case studies just to prove this point. Hope this is inspirational and encouraging to all of you who are struggling to get start your business:

MAC makeup was told NO by Eatons and moved on to the Bay to be one of the most popular make up lines

JAY Z was told no by all record labels then he created his own

Here are some other fun rejections turned into success:

http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/

Jennifer Borgh
President & Lead Planner
Local & Destination Weddings
Honeymoons & Travel
647-203-3602
Jennifer Borgh Events
www.jenniferborghevents.com
jenn@jenniferborghevents.com
Twitter: @jennborghevents

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 06, 2011
DIY Buyers Kit

Guest blogger: Susan Langdon
A while ago, we put together a video on how to put together an effective press kit without spending a lot of money. Watch the video here.

A buyer's kit is very similar to a press kit but with these important changes:

1. Get rid of the CDROM or DVD and instead, place at least three, fabulous, colour-laser printed images inside the right pocket of the kit. The images can be from your latest collection or from some press you've generated. The reason? A buyer, who likely has received a hundred kits each season, doesn't have the time to open the disk, load it into the computer, wait for the images to open etc. etc.

2. Add your order form as the last page on the right side of the pocket. The reason? A buyer can't place an order if you don't make it easy for her or him. 

3. if you make products from fabric (apparel, accessories, home decor) add fabric swatches and label them (quality name, fibre content, care instructions) so the buyer can immediately see what types of materials you're offering in your line.

Good luck with this easy DIY project and remember, consistency and professionalism is essential. After all, it's your brand you're representing through all of your communication and marketing materials.
 

THURSDAY, MARCH 03, 2011
Do You Love Ontario? Casting Call for Ontarians

Guest blogger: Susan Langdon
Do you remember that old song that promoted Ontario? "Give us a place to stand and a place to grow, we call this land Ontario..." I used to love that song when I was a kid because not only was it a catchy tune, it made me feel patriotic.
 
Patriotism is something that we as Canadians don't demonstrate as well as our American neighbours but here's your chance to pay homage to the land where you stand & grow. There's a casting call for a "My Ontario" commercial where you or your family can earn $1000! Deadline to apply is March 7 http://on.fb.me/f4E349

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2011
It's Oscar Night

Guest blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: susanattfi

Once a year the stars come out and shine at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, and once a year I park myself in front of the TV taking in all of the pre-show, red carpet hits and misses. Sure, I watch the Golden Globes, Emmys and Grammys but for some reason, there is no other awards show more magical to me than the Oscars. Maybe it's because when I was a budding fashion designer I had dreams of becoming a Hollywood costume designer like Edith Head and attending the Oscars. 

At this time of year, I also find myself fondly remembering a former TFI Resident, Dana Gornitzki, who had a budding fashion PR firm. She loved and appreciated TFI so much that she started and organized her own annual fundraiser for our non-profit called "Oscar Night in Toronto". 

The event included a red carpet cocktail party featuring Oscar-worthy Canadian designer gowns and a live telecast of the Academy Awards. Using savvy negotiating skills, Dana secured The Courthouse in Toronto as the official event venue for three years, as well as models, catering and other event sponsors. It was a fabulous event that raised much-needed funds for the Toronto Fashion Incubator. 

Dana is now living and working in the U.K., living her dream as editor-in-chief of Mien magazine. I still have dreams of attending the Oscars and maybe one day I might still get there. Perhaps not as a famous costume designer now, but as a guest or observer. It's good to have dreams. What's yours?

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2011
Guilty Pleasures Sale at The Drake

Guest blogger: Susan Langdon
Twitter: susanattfi
We had a GREAT meeting at The Drake Hotel tonight; a pre-event meet-and-greet and venue orientation with some of  the vendors who'll be selling their wares on Feb 5th from 9am to 4pm

We've got a fabulous line up of local designers from jewellery and shawls to indie fashion to lingerie!  In addition, there will be a silent auction of 20+ outstanding items such as a beauty gift basket from P&G Beauty and a collection of signature striped goodies from the Hudson's Bay Company. 100% of the proceeds from the silent auction will benefit our non-profit organization so please come out and support TFI and our fantastic designers. We'll be at The Drake Hotel from 9am - 4pm on Saturday, February 5th. See you there!

SATURDAY, JANUARY 01, 2011
Welcome 2011!

Happy New Year! 
I hope that 2011 brings excellent health, great joy and peace on earth to everyone. 

From everyone at the Toronto Fashion Incubator
Twitter: torontofashion and susanattfi

 

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