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 impact of the conventional fashion industry. We uncovered many challenges around labour, supply chain transparency, toxic chemical use, water, energy and waste. We officially launched as a members based organization on Earth Day 2009 and received non profit status in March 2011.
In 2010 we launched Canada's first eco fashion award, Design Forward. It no longer made sense for us to promote one off events with designers who may or may not continue working with sustainable textiles. We had seen the industry grow exponentially in Canada, from a handful of designers in 2007, to 50+ by 2010. Design Forward was more in line with our values as an organization in that it allowed us to promote and reward the designers who are pioneering the movement in Canada.
In January 2012 we moved our office into the Distillery District where we now operate a retail showroom for 16 of our current members.