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The Future of Toronto's Fashion Industry: An Interview With Co-Founder of "When Fashion Mee

"Success doesn’t come overnight but with motivation

and determination you will reach your goals and dreams."

A few years ago - when I created this magazine - I was on the (desperate) hunt for networking events in the Toronto fashion industry that could not only propel my brand but also help me find like-minded people. It was tough - to put it simply. Not only was there a lack of networking events, but the networking events that did exist weren't what I imagined them to be. The attendance was sparse and the whole event itself was just mundane. Needless to say, I strayed away from networking events for a while.

That was until a good friend of mine suggested Toronto Fashion Industry: When Fashion Meets 2 months ago.

To my surprise this FREE networking event was different. Fun and eccentric, Toronto Fashion Industry had an amazing group of talented and like minded people that I felt comfortable talking amongst. And as the events continued over the months, I was always in attendance.

Toronto Fashion Industry is a platform that gives creatives in the fashion, art and beauty industry an opportunity to network, promote and launch their existing or new products and services - and whats more, it's actually FUN. It's an amazing way for people to be and feel more connected in the fashion and creative industries here in Toronto.

This past week I had the honor of interviewing Erika Enyolu, Co-Founder and PR & Marketing Director of Toronto Fashion Industry. As the co-creator she had some great insight into the fashion world of Toronto, shedding some light on important issues in the Canadian fashion landscape and teaching some valuable lessons on how to network effectively.

So without further ado, here is my interview with Co-Founder and PR & Marketing Director of Toronto Fashion Industry, Erika Enyolu:

Thank you for doing this interview, let's start off with telling the readers a little bit about yourself. What is your connection to the fashion industry here in Toronto?

I am a serial entrepreneur and public relations power-house servicing the fashion, lifestyle and entertainment industry. I have successfully spearheaded strategic public relations and marketing campaigns for many local and international fashion brands & events.

My diverse fashion portfolio includes clients featured in local and international Fashion Weeks and various media outlets including; Vogue, CNN, Forbes, Fox, Huffington Post Canada, CBC, and CTV just to name a few.

What is your favourite thing (or are your favourite things) about the fashion industry in Toronto?

I love many things about the fashion industry here in Toronto, specifically the diverse nature of consumers and professionals.

Similarly, what do you see as major road blocks in the fashion industry in Toronto today?

There are definitely road blocks in the fashion industry here in Toronto. I find the industry is too dependent on our American neighbours, therefore smaller local brands have major barriers to compete in and stay relevant. To stand out you have to work twice as harder and really think outside of the box.

When did you first create Toronto Fashion Industry - or when did you start thinking about creating it?

My creative partners and I thought about creating a platform to support the growing fashion industry about 6 months before actually launching the very first event series of When Fashion Meets in October 2017.

Why did you start it? What was the main motivation for creating it?

As creatives in the industry, we wanted a consistent platform to network with other fashion professionals in Toronto. We needed to have an avenue to launch and promote new/existing products and services, which is vital to the growth of our fashion industry here in the city.

When you started creating it what was the one thing you wanted to see come out of this event?

One major outcome we wanted to achieve from this event was the ability to help creatives grow their brands and reach their direct target market.

Who should attend this kind of event? (ex. models, photographers, investors, magazines)

Key industry figures that are welcome to attend include: models, photographers, videographers, investors, bloggers, media outlets, designers, event producers, beauty professionals (hair stylists & makeup artists), buyers, casting agents, retailers, e-commerce owners, manufactures and pretty much all creatives, consumers and overall fashion lovers.

This event is about networking, what are some tips to network for people who have never been to a networking event before and are looking to try it out for the first time?

  • Introduce yourself

  • Discuss commonalities and goals

  • Don’t be shy, ask lots of questions

  • Have a purpose

  • Keep an inviting posture

  • Be a good listener

  • Give your full attention

  • Smile

  • Always shake hands

  • Make sure you have enough business cards in hand and exchange business cards

  • Follow up within 72 hours with contacts you’ve met

What are one (or some) success stories that you’ve heard or seen come out of this event?

We’ve had many success stories including:

  • Creatives who have enjoyed growth in sales in their business and increasing their social media channels because of the event

  • Photographers who have collaborated with models to build their portfolios

  • Retailers who have scouted models for their look books and new campaigns

Tell us a little bit about this months - January 25th's - event?

We’re still working on a few surprises for our first free networking event of the New Year but we can confirm it will be a full house with some great swag bag items for attendees to take home as usual. In addition, for those not familiar with the event what sets When Fashion Meets apart from other networking events, is that we feature an exclusive fashion related Brand of the Month that gets the opportunity to promote their new and/or existing brand, product or service to our audience.

What do you see for the future of the Toronto Fashion Industry, and the fashion industry in Toronto as a whole?

The future of the Toronto Fashion Industry is bright and growing at a rapid pace. We have a booming network of over 2500+ contacts generated since our first launch event in October 2017. We also have a growing number of international brands reaching out to us, to feature at our event later in the year. We’re also working on a few special events which are top secret but when we reveal them we know they will be a hit. The fashion industry in Toronto as a whole is powerful, diverse and positioning itself to be a leading market for fashion creatives in North America.

Lastly, if you could give one piece advice to people who are looking to break into the fashion industry - to follow their passion - what would you tell them?

To succeed in the fashion industry, one must be consistent and stay true to their brand identity. No matter how hard it may seem in the beginning, stay persistent and align yourself with other creatives who are where you want to be. Success doesn’t come overnight but with motivation and determination you will reach your goals and dreams. Never give up and remember why you started.

"The fashion industry in Toronto as a whole is powerful,

diverse and positioning itself to be a leading market for fashion

creatives in North America."

You can attend Toronto Fashion Industry on January 25th by RSVPing here: www.whenfashionmeetsjan.eventbrite.ca

Follow Toronto Fashion Industry on social:

Instagram: @TorontoFashionIndustry

Facebook: @TorontoFashionIndustry

Snapchat: @WhenFashionMeet (no s)

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