We are Canada’s premiere non-profit organization, established in 2007 to advance sustainability, ethics and circularity in the entire fashion system.
Fashion Takes Action advances sustainability, ethics and circularity in the entire fashion system, which means we work with those who make, sell, buy, wear, dispose, reuse, repair, rent and recycle clothes. Our role is to remove barriers to sustainability through education, awareness, research and collaboration.
We support and encourage diversity, equity and inclusion. We are deepening our learning, and examining how our programs can contribute to the fight against systemic racism and oppression.
We recognize that our team and Board do not currently represent the full diversity of the Canadian population, and that this is an obstacle we are determined to overcome.
We are fully committed to making staff, contract and Board positions accessible and welcoming to all potential team members, regardless of ethnicity, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender or identity. Our goal is to create an inclusive and equitable environment where everyone can meet their full potential, and we are taking proactive steps to create opportunities for historically marginalized groups.
FTA has an official DEI policy that holds all team members accountable for furthering these values (available on request). We have a newly appointed DEI committee within our Board, whose mandate includes DEI training for our executive director, reviewing policies, hiring practices and procedures, as well as reevaluating criteria for the suppliers, speakers and program facilitators we engage with, to ensure we are applying and working through a DEI lens throughout our organization. This work is in progress. Our next step is to ensure the sponsors we engage with and promote are also committed to this work.
FTA operates internally, externally and determines formal relationships with these Guiding Principles in mind. FTA is:
Since 2007, FTA has worked with thousands of apparel businesses – from micro through to multi-national in size. We have hosted over 200 events, participated in many more, conducted research with academics and industry partners, convened multi-stakeholder groups through a systems change approach, collaborated and supported several local and global NGOs, start-ups and other industry stakeholders. Our youth education program has been delivered to over 32,000 young people aged 8-17, and we frequently guest speak at several post-secondary institutions globally. We look forward to continuing in this way, working to advance sustainability, ethics and circularity.
Addressing the entire fashion system puts us in a unique position. Members based fashion industry organizations work solely with brands, retailers, service providers and academics. Sustainable, ethical fashion NGOs work with citizens, governments and academics. But at FTA we cater to the entire system – anyone who makes, sells, buys, wears, cares for, disposes, reuses, repairs, rents and recycles clothing.
Our annual World Ethical Apparel Roundtable (WEAR) which began in 2014, became a monthly webinar series in 2020, and in 2022 we held our first hybrid conference. Our youth education program, My Clothes My World, is currently delivered to students in grades 4-12, in person and virtually – across Canada and in Europe and has reached more than 32,000 students to date.
From 2017-2020, we convened the Ontario Textile Diversion Collaborative (OTDC) which brought together over 40 stakeholders – charities, collectors, retailers, brand owners, academics, NGOs, policy makers and municipalities – in an effort to increase textile waste diversion and uncover solutions for reuse and recycling. In spring 2021 we published Canada’s Textile Recycling Feasibility Report, with financial support from Environment & Climate Change Canada. In 2021/22 we led a mechanical textile recycling pilot with a local supply chain to produce an end product that is consumer-facing and aesthetically pleasing – a laundry hamper made from 40% post-consumer polyester textiles, 50% recycled plastic bottles and 10% virgin polyester. Alongside the pilot, we convened a stakeholder learning group with more than 20 participants from across the country so that they could learn, on a deeper level, and potentially replicate or scale our pilot. We have published a guidance document that details each phase of the pilot, provides learnings and considerations, as well as recommendations.
In 2023 we launched the Canadian Circular Textiles Consortium, a national platform that unites all stakeholders across the value chain in an effort to reduce duplication and accelerate action. We have four working groups that will help us achieve our intended impact: Policy & Legislation, Education, Landscape Research & Data, and Applied Research & Pilots.
It is no secret that the fashion industry is facing many challenges, including but not limited to: the use of pesticides and fertilizers to grow cotton; the highly toxic chemicals used to process and treat fabric; sweatshops and unfair labour practices; enormous amounts of water required to make clothing; the unethical disposal of contaminated water; and the fast fashion frenzy that is contributing to the growing number of textiles that end up in landfill each year.
We realize that perfection doesn’t exist. There are still so many questions and not enough answers; and there are many ways for fashion businesses to become sustainable. Our goal is to present the industry with fair and accurate information, remove barriers to sustainability, and to build capacity within the entire fashion system to make smart decisions and take action where possible. If we all make one small change in the right direction – a responsible direction – then collectively we believe it can have a positive social and environmental impact.
Our friends and partners – both local and global -are growing, and so we plan to have a dedicated page for them very soon that will describe in more detail how we support one another, partner or collaborate together in an effort to future-proof the fashion industry. They include: INLAND, PwC, KenDor Textiles, Seneca College, Circular Economy Leadership Canada, Accelerating Circularity, CSA Group, Toronto District School Board, Eco Schools Canada, Textile Exchange, Conscious Fashion Campaign, Good on You, Fashion Revolution, Remake, Value Village, H&M, Environment & Climate Change Canada, City of Toronto’s Circular Economy Working Group and Fashion Industry Advisory Panel, Retail Council of Canada, Textile Lab for Circularity, and LUSH.