FASHION TAKES ACTION IS CANADA’S ONLY NON-PROFIT FASHION INDUSTRY ORGANIZATION FOCUSED ON SUSTAINABILITY. WE WORK WITH INDUSTRY AND CONSUMERS, WITH THE GOAL TO SHIFT BEHAVIOUR TOWARD MORE POSITIVE SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS.
Fashion Takes Action began in 2007 as a Green Gala fundraiser event in support of one of our favourite ENGOs, Environmental Defence. The event featured ten of Canada’s leading fashion designers, who each made three outfits from sustainable fabrics. The goal was to demonstrate the potential that sustainable fabrics have to make high end, evening wear garments – both to the consumer and to the fashion industry. The result is still to this day, Canada’s Greenest Fashion event. We held a second Green Gala in 2008, to an audience of over 500, further demonstrating that eco fashion is just as stylish and high end as conventional fashion.
Over time however, it became increasingly obvious that there was a need for an organization to support the sustainable fashion movement, and not just in Canada, but globally. After some initial market research and focus groups, we jumped in with both feet to better understand the social and environmental impacts of the conventional fashion industry. We uncovered many challenges around labour, supply chain (lack of) transparency, toxic chemical use, water pollution and use, energy and waste. We officially launched as a members based organization on Earth Day 2009 and received non profit status in March 2011.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
FTA operates internally, externally and determines formal relationships with these Guiding Principles in mind. FTA is:
Fashion Takes Action advances sustainability in the entire fashion system through education, awareness and collaboration.
WHAT WE DO
Over the years we have worked with more than 400 apparel businesses and entrepreneurs, participated in over 50 events, collaborated with academics and NGOs and received tens of millions of media impressions. We look forward to continuing in this way, providing support to our growing membership base and continuing to raise awareness with the public. We are excited about our annual industry conference, the World Ethical Apparel Roundtable (WEAR) which we host in the fall, as well as our education program, My Clothes My World, currently delivered to students in grades 4-12, in 8 school boards across Ontario. In 2016 we relaunched Design Forward, a sustainable runway show featuring the top designers in Canada. For 2017 we are introducing an award component to Design Forward, where one winner will receive a prize valued at over $50,000 that will help them take their business to the next level.
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, and to build the capacity within our members 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.
We achieve our goals through social media and PR, public speaking engagements, conferences, working with students and teachers, hosting fashion shows, and participating in trade shows, We believe it is just as important for consumers to understand the Buy it to Vote mentality, and the power that they hold within their wallets. The more consumers demand and pay for ethical, sustainable fashion, the quicker we can get to where we need to be.