Startup Fashion Week™ (SFW) is launching its first showcase of fashion & tech startups in Montreal with a runway fashion show on the 22nd. A media/opening party at Santos Tapas Bar Restaurant in Old Montreal kicks off the three-day event followed by a business in fashion conference the next day and later a rooftop industry schmoozer at the Alt-Hotel on Peel Street sponsored by entertainment law firm ARTY LAW. The inaugural #SFWMontreal Runway Fashion Show on Friday evening caps off the affair at the Crowley Arts Centre. The idea is to bridge the gap between the growing fashion and tech sectors in Canada and to focus on aiding, launching, and accelerating sustainable startup businesses in a brand new intersecting platform.
SFW is the brainchild of Jodi Goodfellow. The Winner of Toronto’s Waterfront Award for 2018 in Business Entrepreneurship, Jodi’s been the executive producer of Toronto’s SFW for the past four years. “We’ve been running our event in Toronto since 2014 and we’ll be expanding our event this year in Montreal,” she says. The “we” refers to her creative team consisting of three colleagues and a few volunteers. SFW hosted a couple of networking events in Montreal in 2016 and 2017 to gauge the level of interest in Montreal’s fashion community and was not disappointed. “We felt that Montreal was the right fit for us to build that extension,” she says. “We get a lot of designer applications from Montreal to showcase in Toronto.” It was inevitable that SFW would move on to Montreal where some emerging designers from TO could also showcase their creations. “Fashion is a global platform,” she says. “We don’t exclusively showcase from one area. We wanted SFW in the two fashion capitals of Canada.”
SFW is no mere fashion event in the usual sense although several of the most promising designers will be making an appearance. The Montreal launch will also be showcasing “wearable tech start-ups.” Huh? This is a new collection of mobile technology, Jodi explains. The stunning 42-year old blonde who could easily pass for a model (she isn’t) doubles as a high school art teacher in her day job so she’s used to explaining things. One such innovation makes use of a mobile GPS tracking app that syncs to a lotus-shaped clip-on. Another works like Tap2Tag’s medical alert system utilizing a client card with a microchip to retrieve contact information from someone else’s cell phone by tapping it. No need anymore for antediluvian devices like a pen and paper!
On the apparel side, SFW Montreal will be showcasing six collections: four womenswear, one menswear, and one bridal collection. The runway show will also feature three mini-collections in swimwear, outerwear, and accessories. The latter, of course, includes “wearable art” made from found objects – unique jewelry, which is both functional and aesthetic. Perhaps not surprisingly, given her art background, this fashion entrepreneur began her journey in an unconventional way. Jodi’s first foray was in e-fashion. She launched a website similar to Kijiji eight years ago called Fashion Forward so that people could buy and sell gently used clothing. She built a lot of connections in Toronto but after three years still wasn’t able to get the necessary investment. She decided to opt into another business model. “I was networking in both fashion and technology, but seeing that these areas were disconnected,” she says. “The fashion industry in Canada was very fractured and exclusive. I wanted to infuse that ecosystem with the collaboration and resourcefulness from the tech industry.” Voilà! SFW was born bringing fashion, business, and tech innovation together in one creative platform.
Startup Fashion Week™