Driven: Susan Langdon
October 1, 2011
Susan Langdon is the unofficial torchbearer of the Canadian fashion industry. She is an industry veteran with experience in fashion design and teaching, and a leader in the community. As Executive Director of the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), Langdon has helped launch the careers of many well-known Canadian designers and continues to nurture new and promising talents.
Does working with Canadian designers influence your style/the way you dress? Having been a Canadian fashion designer for many years and knowing how difficult it can be to establish a brand, I wear Canadian to show support for designers and for our industry. I enjoy wearing the following brands because they reflect my style, my lifestyle and they fit me well: Marie Saint Pierre, Greta Constantine, David Dixon, Joeffer Caoc, Shay Lowe and Roxx Jewels.
What is your favourite part about working with emerging designers and brands? I love being at TFI because it’s incredibly fulfilling working with new and emerging fashion entrepreneurs. Everyone is so passionate about what they do and I enjoy helping people who are just as committed and dedicated as I am. My favourite part of the job is looking at a line’s concept sketches and then helping designers pull everything together into a cohesive collection.
Tell us a TFI designer success story – someone who has made it big since joining the TFI. We have so many success stories coming out of TFI but one person who stands out as being an excellent role model for new designers is David Dixon. David began his affiliation with TFI as an Outreach member and by participating in our New Labels competition and show. After New Labels, he moved into a 24/7 studio at TFI and that’s when he really started to make sales and gain media attention. After his first year at TFI, David was named New Designer of the Year by the City of Toronto. After 3 years, he hired his first full-time employee, a talented Ryerson grad named Arthur Mendonça (another TFI talent). Since leaving TFI, David has enjoyed licensing deals with big corporations like Mattel and Town Shoes, he designs a diffusion line for The Shopping Channel and another for The Bay. To this day, he continues to give back to TFI by volunteering as our non-profit’s President and as one of our online business mentors. David’s example of giving back is what makes him a leader in our community.
Tell us about your most memorable day or moment at the Toronto Fashion Incubator? On a personal note, 1996 was a stellar year for me at TFI. I received two prestigious honours related to my work at the Toronto Fashion Incubator: The City of Toronto’s Industry Achievement Award and Ryerson University’s Alumni Award of Distinction and induction into Ryerson’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
What advice would you give an designer straight out of fashion school? My advice to a new fashion grad would be to work hard, be responsible, be ethical and always give 110% to everything you do.
How are you celebrating the TFI 25th anniversary? May 3, 2012: Mark the date! Our black tie gala at the Royal Ontario Museum is going to be spectacular! The evening will include a VIP dinner, celebrity appearances and the TFI’s New Labels show where one lucky designer will win The Suzanne Rogers Award for Most Promising New Labels (a cash prize of $25,000), a 24/7 studio at TFI sponsored by TNT boutique and a feature in FLARE magazine.