By Hannah Yakobi
Photography by Darrell Diljohn, LoveLost Photography
Toronto Fashion Week kicked off early last week, with a special event organized by the local branch of Fashion Group International. Although it was not affiliated with the World MasterCard Fashion Week, this was a perfect start to a very busy five-day stretch. Titled, Power Breakfast to Celebrate a Power Player, the event was held to honour the accomplishments of Susan Langdon, and present her with the Fashion Visionary Award.
Many of our Canadian readers will know Langdon, as she is one of the central figures in the country’s fashion industry. She may also be familiar to our global readers, since she is the Executive Director of Toronto Fashion Incubator — the world’s first official fashion incubator, whose model has been adopted by over 30 other major cities, including London, Paris, New York, Milan, Amsterdam, Melbourne and Chicago.
TFI was established in 1987 by the City of Toronto. It is an award-winning and highly-acclaimed not-for-profit organization, dedicated to supporting and nurturing Canadian fashion designers and entrepreneurs. Under Langdon’s leadership, TFI has helped many major designers grow and expand their careers, including David Dixon, Sunny Fong, Joeffer Caoc and Arthur Mendonça.
“Susan, a long-time member of FGI and executive director of TFI, works tirelessly to provide emerging fashion designers with guidance and opportunity,” said Ashlee Froese, who is the co-chair of FGI Toronto. “She is an incredible asset to the Canadian fashion industry.”
“My motto has always been to ‘lead by example’, so I hope that this very special honour will inspire others to follow suit and to follow my lead,” said Langdon.
To celebrate Langdon’s accomplishments, many renowned Canadian fashion personalities were in attendance, including Holt Renfrew’s Lisa Tant, David Dixon, Jeanne Beker, model Paul Mason, as well as some of the country’s top publicists and many resident designers of TFI.
David Dixon delivered a special speech, noting how happy he was that Langdon was receiving the award. He emphasized that nobody works as hard as she does to help promote Canadian fashion talent at home and on the international stage. He said that she has been an inspiration to him for many years, and added that her sense of humour is second to none.
Following his presentation, Langdon delivered a very touching acceptance speech. She talked about her ancestors and explained that her family has been in the fashion industry for several generations. The audience greeted her with a huge applause, and Langdon truly spoke from the heart, tracking her career from a high school fashion aficionado to an award-winning designer and then the director of TFI. She highlighted the struggles that local designers face and the importance of supporting the Canadian fashion industry due to the incredible diversity and talent it offers. Many guests lined up at the end of the event to offer their gratitude and thanks to her in-person, shaking Langdon’s hand, congratulating her with a huge smile or giving her a hug.