September 24th, 2019, Saskatoon, SK - The Saskatchewan Fashion Association Inc. (SFA), the first registered fashion association within Saskatchewan and Canada, has officially launched. As a not-for-profit, membership-based organization located in Saskatoon and serving all of Saskatchewan, SFA is committed to developing and promoting the Saskatchewan fashion sector regionally, nationally, and internationally. Creative entrepreneurs within the sector, such as designers, boutique owners, models, photographers, hairstylists, makeup artists, and beyond will benefit through resources, programming, and showcase opportunities as we assist in the development and promotion of their creative work here in Saskatchewan and on a global scale.
The mission of the Saskatchewan Fashion Association is to expand the awareness and business opportunities for Saskatchewan based fashion talent by providing education, training, and showcase opportunities to the sector, thereby facilitating business growth on a regional, national, and international level.
This mission was seeded from the former Saskatoon Fashion and Design Festival (SFDF). A decade ago, Mandy Pravda of Mane Productions and Jacqueline Conway of TrendBlazer Studio, founded Saskatoon Fashion and Design Festival, an annual 4-day event in Saskatoon, SK. The festival was committed to building awareness, sales and networking opportunities, events, showcases and runway events for fashion designers, boutique owners, models, stylists, and all other sector contributors. Over the years it became apparent through the voice of the community the fashion sector needed more opportunities for furthering education, funding resources, networking opportunities, marketing support, mentorship, financial planning, and business development.
The newly formed Saskatchewan Fashion Association (SFA) is undertaking a yearlong analysis of the province’s fashion sector, with support from Creative Saskatchewan. The SFA will investigate the potential of the fashion sector to become eligible for Creative Saskatchewan’s grant, equity and industry association funding programs. SFA will also implement programming and initiatives that the sector is demonstrating a need for.
Creative Saskatchewan currently invests in commercially-viable projects undertaken by businesses and individuals in six creative sectors as identified within The Creative Saskatchewan Act and The Creative Saskatchewan Regulations: screen-based media, book publishing, music, craft, visual art, and live performing arts. Investments in creative entrepreneurs help support production, marketing, business expansion, and export activities.
“Much like the creative entrepreneurs we invest in, entrepreneurs in the Saskatchewan’s fashion industry face the unique challenge of balancing business acumen with artistic skill, creativity and inspiration, in addition to untapped manufacturing and export opportunities” said Greg Magirescu, CEO of Creative Saskatchewan. “We’re pleased to be the first province or territory in Canada to actively explore an investment partnership in the fashion sector by partnering with the Saskatchewan Fashion Association. This partnership will amplify our ability to assess the viability and measure the fit of the commercial fashion sector for our agency’s mandate to grow the creative economy in Saskatchewan.”
As a member based provincial organization in scope, the vision of the Saskatchewan Fashion Association is to increase the viability and recognition of the fashion sector as a vital element of our economy, thus solidifying the association’s place within the cultural identity of Saskatchewan and Canada.
“As the first fashion association in Saskatchewan and Canada, we see a bright and prosperous future ahead for the sector. With the past work of Saskatoon Fashion and Design Festival and Saskatchewan Fashion Week, we have a strong foundation for the industry to create and cultivate a dynamic and viable creative industry for our province. This is a big shift for the fashion industry within Canada and we have big plans for what the future will bring for the country and the partnerships that will come, eventually on a global scale. If all goes as planned and as projected by both SFA and Creative Saskatchewan, we are creating the knowledge and data for a reason to access funding avenues and access to a resource network for Saskatchewan entrepreneurs within the fashion sector. Funding and career advancement is the biggest hurdle for most entrepreneurs. Members of SFA having access to government funding and resources will have a major impact on the economy and not only in the fashion sector,” says Mandy Pravda, President of Saskatchewan Fashion Association.
The SFA’s two-year strategic plan will assist in the business and funding development and promotion of Saskatchewan fashion designers and all industry members on a provincial, national and international level. The organizations primary objectives include:
Providing resources, opportunities and a platform to showcase the fashion sector to expand member brand awareness and businesses internationally, while amplifying the local economy;
Creating ongoing awareness and programming for the sector that drives professional and personal growth and the development of an annual awards ceremony for the sector;
Creating a digital resource hub for the entire sector at saskfashion.com;
Developing partnerships with funding agencies, entrepreneurial organizations, and other associations within and outside of Saskatchewan;
Conducting further research aimed to introduce the sector’s ability to apply for funding through grants and other recourses, which at this time are not available to them under the six creative sectors identified within The Creative Saskatchewan Act and The Creative Saskatchewan Regulations.
“Having an association which can assist in creating the opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn and expand their business without taking on mass debt and investing several years before seeing any return, and furthermore not having to leave Saskatchewan will increase the number of industry professionals,” says Jacqueline Conway, Vice President of Saskatchewan Fashion Association.
Members are expected to see benefits rollout in 2019, such as a member directory for public access, private industry resource directory, one-to-one career consultations, educational workshops, marketing support, export and import assistance, global networking opportunities, and membership partner offers. With a 5-year strategic plan in place, SFA has big plans for the future and the local fashion sector. This is only the beginning!
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