Applications open for prestigious Toronto Fashion Incubator Resident program
The Toronto Fashion incubator (TFI) is a longstanding champion of Canada’s fashion industry, providing a platform for designers to grow their brands into viable businesses. Launched in 1987, its mission is to help emerging fashion entrepreneurs learn more about the business of the fashion industry.
TFI serves as an essential guide, helping designers navigate the ever-changing and increasingly restricted fashion landscape, with the support of the City of Toronto. Since its launch 35 years ago, the incubator has had a hand in creating over 18,000 industry jobs across Canada. Today, over 35 fashion incubators globally use the TFI model. TFI’s inclusive community is comprised of 83% women-led businesses, 22% BIPOC and 15% LGBTQ2S.
The organization offers industry expert mentoring, insights on the latest grants and loans, discounts on production essentials, specialist-written guidebooks and educational webinars. Better yet, TFI provides Resident members with 24/7 studio space and equipment access, such as single-needle machines, a coverstitch machine, industrial irons, cutting tables, sergers and more. Not only that, but Residents enjoy unlimited mentoring and exclusive hours with Susan Langdon, TFI’s Executive Director.
Some notable alumni you may recognize are Sid Neigum, Christopher Paunil and Joeffer Caoc. Since their residency with TFI, these Toronto brands have grown to achieve international acclaim and become celebrity favourites.
“TFI’s Resident program offers an exceptional opportunity for fashion entrepreneurs to launch and grow their business with customized, hands-on guidance. By taking advantage of subsidized studio rates and working in our co-sharing space, brands can apply their savings to hiring workers or creating a professional lookbook to accelerate their business growth,” says Susan Langdon, TFI Executive Director.
Adam X comes to TFI by way of London, England ― working at renowned design houses like Alexander McQueen, Burberry and Christian Dior Couture. Adam launched Adam X Atelier in 2014 and takes inspiration from both the East and West, combining soft tailoring and draping to offer eclectic and elegant works. The brand expertly handcrafts its pieces with the finest materials, such as silk lamé, Bouclé, wool and cashmere. Adam X Atelier was recently spotted on the Toronto International Film Festival’s red carpet, worn by Woman King actress Chioma Antoinette Umeala.
“I met Adam when we held our first pop-up shop and was instantly taken by his charm, humbleness and eagerness to learn. During the event, he asked me how to grow his sales and get a grant. When I mentioned I could mentor him post pop-up if he joined TFI’s Resident program, he seemed to love the idea,” says Langdon. “Upon joining the program, I helped Adam with a Starter Company grant application and he got the grant! Adam is a very talented designer and I hope that we can help him to achieve his goals.”
Adam X Atelier is joined by ARIANOIR, an independent apparel and eyewear brand made “by designers for designers”. The Toronto-based luxury label, founded by Jai Jind in March 2022, is on a mission to create the perfect equilibrium of pretty and practical. ARIANOIR creates a wide range of “sacred geometry” products, including sunglasses with 18 karat gold accents, pullovers made from 100% pure Peruvian baby Alpaca wool and shoes designed for walking in all environments.”
“Jai came to TFI for a Residency tour and to learn more about the program. During my presentation and walk-through of the space, Jai asked some excellent questions about sales, distribution outlets, exporting and how to grow his business. I was very impressed with his business acumen and marketing strategy. I knew he would make an excellent candidate for the Resident program. Approaching fashion as a business is absolutely critical if you want to be successful,” says Langdon.