We’re super excited to announce that we’re working with Startup Fashion Week (Oct 6 -11) as a media sponsor! A five day event like no other, SFW combines inspiring guest lectures, conferences, workshops, network events and runway presentations to create an immersive and informative one-week program for entrepreneurs in Fashion design, Fashion-Tech and Wearable-Tech.

Starting today, we’ll be profiling our favourite emerging designers and key SFW movers and shakers, starting with founder Jodi Goodfellow.

How did the idea for Startup Fashion Week come about?

JG: I launched a Fashion-Tech Startup a few years ago (Fashion Forward) and in my efforts to make it a success I attended as many events as possible to learn from other entrepreneurs.  In fact, as a strategic way to promote my own business I began to host events, such as ‘Fashion in the Digital World’.  This particular event created a buzz with a growing interest in the collision of Fashion and Technology.  While my business was unfortunately failing (due to lack of funding) I did what any entrepreneur would do – I pivoted.  I took the knowledge and networks that I gained and created a bigger event to support startup entrepreneurs like myself.  Startup Fashion Week is a 5 day event that provides a Media Launch / Opening Party, a Business of Fashion Conference, a Fashion Career Forum, a Fashion Tech Forum and our Future of Fashion Runway Show.  It is the only Fashion Week in the world that deviates from a traditional ‘runway only’ platform and the purpose is to bring an entire community of people together to build better business in Fashion, support startups and explore the intersection of Fashion and Technology.

What, in your opinion, is overrated in the fashion industry?

JG: The glamour. Business is not glamorous, not even in Fashion. The motions of starting a new venture is pretty much the same as becoming a new parent: sleep deprivation, lack of social life, irregular eating, financial stress, etc. – except you still have to look à la mode in order to be taken seriously.

Can you tell us about three designers/innovators who are currently doing amazing things that we NEED to know about?

JG: There is so much talent in Canada and this is an exciting time to be supporting startups because I get to see them launch and grow!  Toronto alone is a hub for creative entrepreneurs and a huge source for innovation.  Right now I am really excited about Zvelle, a luxury shoe company that launched 2 months ago in Toronto and social purpose apparel startups such as She Native, Wear Your Label and Peace Collective.  (That’s 4 but it’s hard to choose!)  They will all be participating in Startup Fashion Week this year!

What do you hope participants take away from SFW? 

JG: Resources and networks! Networking is your Net Worth – I can’t stress this enough to startups.  Last year it was incredible to see all the developments and connections that were made from our event.  I received a lot of follow up emails from people sharing how much of an impact our event had on them personally and professionally.  It was overwhelming and exciting to see these types of results.

Where do you hope to see the Canadian fashion industry in 5 years? 

JG: I hope to see more funding opportunities and collaborations available for Startup entrepreneurs in Fashion Design, Fashion-Tech and Wearable Tech.  Many startups in Fashion get financial support through Futurpreneur and/or attain resource support through Enterprise Toronto, a city funded program.  These are both amazing sources of support.  It would be great to also see larger corporations ie: Retailers building collaborations with startup enterprises. 

What’s been your biggest obstacle in getting SFW off the ground, and how did you overcome it?

JG: Supporting startups is not an easy feat because they are going through a whirlwind of high stress situations day to day – as am I.  The logistics of working with so many people is tough and with only a small volunteer team to support me, it can get overwhelming.  Human resources is key in business, which is why I choose to surround myself with quality people (over quantity).  Choosing the right people to support SFW has no doubt been the key to survival!  On a sidenote, I also have an Advisory Board, which I recommend to every entrepreneur.  This is a group of individuals that I hand picked based on their own individual strengths to keep me focused and guide me in the right direction throughout the planning process of this event.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? 

JG: Start small, think big and accept failure as an opportunity to learn.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

JG: My parents.  They are the most selfless, well respected people I know; they have inspired and helped so many people.

If you had a day, free from obligations, to spend in the city, what would you do? Where would you go for a walk/take a yoga class/eat/catch up with friends/shop?

JG: There are so many adventures to be had in Toronto!  I love trying interesting activities such as virtual golf, axe throwing, dragon boating or riding on a mechanical surfboard (Surfset Fitness)…but I equally love staying at home to watch a film, chilling with my cat.

For more info, check out www.startupfashionweek.com, and be sure to follow the action on Twitter @StartupFW and on Instagram @startupfashionweek.