design forward jury member & mentor

robin kay

Founder, Toronto Fashion Week; President, Fashion Design Council of Canada

Robin Kay is one of Canada’s unfaltering voices for the fashion industry. A self-taught designer, she ran a successful eponymous brand for 25 years that held 600 wholesale accounts across North America, and 22 stores across the country.

This journey led her to build the 5th fashion week at the time of only “London, Paris , Milan and New York.” Toronto Fashion Week grew over the 12 years under Ms Kay’s direction to be the 2nd largest event in North America when sold in 2012 to IMG Global / New York. Since then Kay has tirelessly sought to ratify the current federal definition of a creative industry, and has met with federal government policy makers to include the fashion community in this essential description. Without the endorsement and identification for the fashion sector, its very foundation is unstable and its future is uncertain.  Canada is the only G20 country that does not include fashion as a cultural industry and it therefore has become an “orphan industry”. Kay hopes that by the end of 2017, the fashion sector will be fully accredited as the pillar of culture and commerce it has been for the past 150 years.

Kays ongoing mentoring work with individual designers and collaborations within the business of fashion is of keen interest and an honour for her.