Kelly Drennan is a systems thinker, thought leader and disruptor devoted to making change within the fashion industry. In 2007 she founded Fashion Takes Action, out of her desire to create a better, more sustainable future for her, then, two young daughters. Her role at FTA is to remove the barriers to sustainability that exist for the entire fashion system – for those who make, sell, buy, wear, care, repair, reuse, collect, rent, resell and recycle clothes.
Kelly’s efforts to make fashion circular began in 2017 by convening the Ontario Textile Diversion Collaborative (OTDC) – a multi-stakeholder group (municipalities, charities, collectors, retailers, NGOs, policy makers and academics) committed to textile diversion, reuse and recycling. Since then, Kelly has co-wrote and published Canada’s textile recycling feasibility report; and currently, Kelly is leading a national stakeholder group through a mechanical recycling pilot, with a consumer-facing end product. A strategic partner in Circular Economy Leadership Canada (CELC), and collaborating partner of Accelerating Circularity, Kelly is also an advisor to the Textile Lab for Circularity, and was a member of the City of Toronto’s Circular Economy Working Group.
In 2014, Kelly created the annual World Ethical Apparel Roundtable (WEAR) Conference, hosting hundreds of industry experts in Toronto in an effort to motivate and inspire brands across North America. Through both the WEAR conference and WEAR webinar series, Kelly has reached thousands of global industry stakeholders through these forums, and is a sought-after speaker herself, having given hundreds of presentations to industry, academics and citizens, including a TED talk as part of the Global TEDx Countdown on climate action, and twice a speaker at Elevate.
Kelly is passionate about collaboration and bringing together multiple perspectives in an effort to take action. In 2019 she co-created the Sustainable Fashion Toolkit and she oversees FTA’s youth education program My Clothes My World that she developed in 2014 for students in grades 4-12 — delivered to more than 30,000 students in classrooms across Canada – and which is now available digitally.
Kelly continues to bring her sustainability expertise to Toronto’s Fashion Industry Advisory Panel, and to various fashion colleges and their curriculum committees. She regularly contributes to government discussions on textiles and circularity, and most recently is on the selection committee for the Canadian International Fashion Film Festival (CANIFFF).
In 2017, Kelly was the recipient of the prestigious Clean 50 award given to Canada’s climate leaders, where she was recognized for Education & Thought Leadership, and was the first recipient of the award for the fashion industry. In 2022 Kelly won the Sustainability Award given out by the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA). She resides in Toronto with her husband and two daughters.