The Toronto Fashion Incubator is a shining beacon of light for those who want to launch their careers in fashion. Since its launch in 1987, this non-profit organization has provided guidance, support, resources, and the space for the creative and ambitious talent that want to break into the fashion industry but have no idea how to do so. As the first official fashion incubator in the world, the Toronto Fashion Incubator continues to play an essential role in the growth and promotion of the Canadian fashion industry. Many of the nation’s most successful fashion brands to emerge from the Toronto Fashion Incubator include womenswear designers Sid Neigum, Joeffer Coac, and David Dixon who currently serves on the organization’s Board of Directors as an advisor and mentor to the organization’s new and eager designers.
How do the Toronto Fashion Incubators Help the Fashion Community?
This business resource centre offers various support services such as educational seminars and one-on-one consultations, along with a plethora of marketing, trend, and sales resources. The Toronto Fashion Incubator provides different solutions for its members who are at different stages in their careers. For that reason, the Toronto Fashion Incubator offers two levels of membership: Resident and Outreach.
For the designers (accessories, clothing, or fashion student), the Resident membership provides private work studios inside their headquarters on the Exhibition Grounds at a very low rent cost . These studio spaces include access to state-of-the-art equipment, 24/7 access, and a chance to network with fellow designers who use the facilities to create and design. The biggest benefit with this membership is the exclusive consultation with Susan Langdon, the Executive Director for the Toronto Fashion Incubator and a veteran in the Canadian fashion industry. The Outreach membership is for those who want to launch their business but either lacks the funds and/or knowledge to get started. Aside from offering exclusive professional one-on-one consultations and insider information on the Canadian fashion industry, the Outreach members receive full access to the fashion business resources, an extensive listing that can take the member through each step of launching their own fashion business, from finding a supplier to actually marketing the line.TFI New Labels Design Competition and Show
While the Toronto Fashion Incubator offers a plethora of wonderful benefits for its members, the TFI New Labels Design Competition and Show is an amazing opportunity for designers looking to skyrocket their brand into the spotlight. Since 1992, this annual competition displays the hottest up-and-coming design talent from across the country. Heralded as one of the top 100 events by BizBash Magazine, the TFI New Labels Design Competition and Show attracts many retailers, buyers, and editors to see the new crop of talented clothing designers. For six grueling months, the competitors create their own collections and receive guidance and feedback from the judging panel on the many aspects of launching a fashion business. The four designers left standing present their collections in a high-end runway show in a room full of prestigious and well-known figures in the Canadian fashion industry. Aside from gaining experience in running a successful collection and knowledge in the business aspect of the industry, the competitors vie for the grand prize of $25,000 cash from Suzanne Rogers (fashion philanthropist and socialite), a full-page editorial in Flare Magazine, and a guaranteed opportunity to sell their collection in major retailers. Sarah Stevenson, the winner of the 2013 TFI New Labels Design Competition, will exhibit her Fall/Winter 2013 collection in Target stores in 2014. Her collection features a range of ready-to-wear garments and accessories with intricate romantic floral prints and classic silhouettes.
Keeping the Canadian Fashion Industry Alive
For over twenty-five years, the Toronto Fashion Incubator has been a long-standing pillar in the Canadian fashion industry. Not only does the non-profit organization nurture and support their members in their fashion careers, it places Canada on the map as a fertile ground for emerging, talented designers who could become next Proenza Schouler, Dsquared, or Smythe. Designers such as Christopher Paunil Ltd. and David Dixon credited their success to the guidance and valuable support of the Toronto Fashion Incubator. As long as there are creative individuals who want to pursue their passion into the fashion world, the Toronto Fashion Incubator will continue to provide them with the space and resources needed while ensuring that the Canadian fashion industry is alive and full of fresh new talent. For more information, please visit the Toronto Fashion Incubator website.