Startup Fashion Week Toronto Talks Fashion, Gender, and Entrepreneurship

For members of Toronto’s up and coming fashion scene, Startup Fashion Week is an absolute must-attend event. With insightful discussions from some of the city’s top entrepreneurs, as well as networking sessions and a final runway show, the opportunities to learn and connect with other entrepreneurs are endless. Taking place in both Toronto and Montreal throughout the year, SFW is paving the way for tomorrow’s top designers and tech companies.

This season, we had the chance to attend Startup Fashion Week’s panel discussions on Fashion and Gender, as well as their Business of Fashion talk. Both events were held in intimate spaces, perfect for letting the panelists and audiences get up close and personal. Following each talk with a networking session made it easy it easy for attendees to chat with the speakers, and get to know each other as well.

Business of Fashion Panel

At the first talk of the week, this theme of collaboration was highlighted in entrepreneur Keith Beckles’ panel discussion. Keith’s company Tap2Tag Connect specializes in wearable technology that keeps track of your complete medical history, making it easy to share your information with medical professionals or emergency responders. “I feel one hundred percent that businesses such as mine, in order to succeed, we need to collaborate with others,” Beckles says. “Startup Fashion Week gives us such a great opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs, and also get our names out there”.

With a diverse panel of speakers that hailed from industries such as law, PR and social media, to branding and design, virtually all aspects of starting a new business were on hand to answer any and all burning questions. This multi-speaker event served as a crash course on ensuring that new companies are prepared for the journey of entrepreneurship and all of its challenges. As SFW founder Jodi Goodfellow closed the night with a discussion on her personal successes and failures, the feeling of camaraderie and collaboration between businesses was certainly felt throughout the room.

Fashion and Gender Panel

For the first time in its five-year history, SFW also hosted a panel focused on fashion and gender. Keynote speaker Kristin Rankin of The Dress Code Project (an alliance of salons providing safe spaces for the LGBTQ community kicked off the night by sharing her message of inclusivity and optimism about the future of the fashion and beauty industry. The discussion that followed was filled with insightful conversations around creating brands that cater to divers needs of the community, as well as how to instil inclusive language and creating safe spaces into the core values of new companies.

Conversations like these are definitely needed in order to push the industry forward, and to create connections between businesses and members of underserved communities. Thanks to the resources that Startup Fashion Week is able to provide new designers and brands, we can expect plenty of innovative and boundary pushing fashion for seasons to come.

Be sure to stay up to date on all upcoming Startup Fashion Week events at!


Full list of speakers and where to find more information:

Business of Fashion Panel

Keith Beckles, Tap2Tag Connect

Elle Bulger, Pinch Social

Rick Amaral, Jacknife Design

Cyril Guirguis, Stylify App

Innessa Radostin, Mod Mode Designs

Ben Rogul, Bennett Bespoke Clothiers

Graham Topa, Aird & Berlis LLP

Jilian Naiberg, Jonah Jay

Niki Papaioannou, Niki Inc.

Eni Buiron, Lulu et Gigi

Selo Karakatsanis, Ageselao


Fashion and Gender Panel

Kristin Rankin, The Dress Code Project

JayJay Kings, Makeup Artist & Model

Stacey Gonder, The House of Sass & Magic

Becca Love, Becca Love Counter Culture Fashion

Tynomie Banks, Drag Queen

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

You May Also Like


As we honour National Indigenous History Month, it’s essential to highlight the incredible efforts being made to support and celebrate Indigenous cultures and education....


Each month, we choose some of our favourite products in ‘the edit’ to share with you! Follow along and discover these gems that you...


Welcome to our Designer Profile, where we uncover the stories of the visionaries shaping the fashion landscape. Join us as we journey into the...


Check out our summer 2024 roundup! These are some of our favourite picks for the season! Read more below, and shop yours today! Parent/Baby...