event – Passion for Fashion award
Thanks to Susan Langdon, I had the great opportunity to work with the Youth Employment Service’s Passion for Fashion program, produced in collaboration with the Toronto Fashion Incubator. The program was created to provide free workshops and mentors for young fashion industry entrepreneurs.
It was my first ever experience as a teacher – I taught the class on Visual Presentation for Fashion, and it was an incredible learning experience for me too. As a student, I don’t think I ever fully appreciated how much work it is to teach a class. The first time I did it, I was so nervous I finished over an hour ahead of schedule, it was awkward. By the fifth session, I discovered that teaching is something I really enjoy. The students are wonderful characters, curious and excited. Questions and answers are the most fun, and I found it especially delightful when the class would roll with the discussion and start helping each other.
I was also asked to be a judge for the competition portion of the program. Graduates of the program were challenged to put together a business plan and a visual presentation, to be pitched to a panel of judges for a chance to win a cash prize, TFI membership, and a significant mentorship program. This was also my first time judging a competition, and again, I felt intimidated. The other judges were also the other instructors – designers Jen Kluger of Foxy Originals, Kendra Francis of Franke, and business advisor Richard Healy.
Instantly the judging panel hit it off – they are all such smart and kind people – and I overcame my nervousness as we saw each of the finalists in turn for their short presentations. It was awesome to me how much work they all had put into their business plans – a huge task I myself have never done, and the passion and determination of all the finalists was incredibly inspiring. Choosing a winner was a difficult task for the panel. There were a number of great ideas, and some finalists were already well underway putting their plans into action. After much careful consideration, we selected Stephanie McNeil.
Stephanie impressed us all with the amount of energy she had already dedicated to her business, her eagerness to learn, and her sincerity. The judges all agreed that she would really thrive with the guidance and community of the Toronto Fashion Incubator behind her. We all felt very happy when she was presented with the award, it was definitely the right decision.
Here in the picture is Sinead McCarthy from YES, Richard, Kendra, Stephanie, me, Nancy Schaefer from YES, and Susan Langdon from the TFI.
Thanks to everyone (and Jen too who isn’t in the photo) I also want to send a super special important thank you to Gabrielle Zilkha at YES, who did so much great work putting this program together.
I’d also like to thank all of the wonderful participants of the Passion for Fashion program. Especially the finalists. Watch out for these names in the future – so much enthusiasm and hard work guarantees that these young people belong in the fashion industry: