When were you a TFI Resident?
I was a Toronto Fashion Incubator resident from 1995 to 2000. In 1995, I was tired of working for other designers and quite simply, was ready to get paid for my work and vision. At that time, my former Ryerson University professor, Susan Langdon, told me about this new resource center to help new designers. Susan was the executive director, and wanted to recruit qualified new designers to the center. I took the chance to start my business through the TFI, largely because it was a great resource and the TFI New Labels show was enticing. It was really a matter of synergy and timing that I started at TFI.
How has the TFI experience helped your career?
The TFI was such a great experience for me that I remain affiliated with the Incubator, sitting on the Board and acting as a mentor for new designers. I enjoyed being a resident; the New Labels show was definitely the launching point for my career, along with other Canadian designers such as Joeffer Caoc.
Overall, TFI was the perfect place to start a clothing business because it offered practical and creative advice and opportunities. On the practical side, it was a unique resource with little overhead. Without having to pay for expensive machines and rent, it was easy to start a business. Creatively, I received an education through observation by being in an environment with other designers. Not only did the communal workspace encourage friendly competition, but I also learned why, for instance, buyers were buying certain clothes from other designers.