University Fashion Week is a social enterprise focused on promoting grassroots designers, community expression, social awareness, and development of entrepreneurial skills within the fashion industry within the greater Canadian landscape.
(A) by promoting grassroots designer through show and ecommerce platform we are producing more entrepreneurs that are interested in shaking up and shaping Canada’s fashion landscape. We want to promote the pride, diverse style, creativity, and unique identity of grassroot designers within each campus as well as add to the growing image of Canadian talent and global production.
(B) through our blog/e-commerce/ online presence we act as fashion/culture/trend curators – The integrated online platform acts as a cross marketing marketplace for both emerging fashion entrepreneurs and models to gain access to the larger global industry while promoting their respective products; it also gives local established retailers who subscribe to UFW to get a sense of emerging trends, brands and conversations occurring straight from this new urban connected socialite culture.
(C) Seminars, Workshop,Discussions we can address contemporary social issues within this industry that’s often taboo on commercialized city platforms. Our aim is to create a distinctive community of individuals that are not just passive consumers of fashion, but active, engaged and aware participants in the culture of branded attire.
(D) by being on the planning team we are giving opportunities for students to develop business skills such as leadership, social advocacy, marketing, branding, sponsorship, operation management and much more.
UFW has in the past and to date been funded by revenue raised from ticket sales and community sponsorship, with the platform being free for student designers, the project has struggled to continue it’s growth and operations into the vision of expanding into various chapters across the country. As the project has been evolving organically through the support of it’s volunteer community, as well as ability to acquire the respective resources to evolve the project, any funds raised from UFW goes back into the operations of UFW which requires a great deal of funding to support the vision of the project. Chapters are awarded license to produce xFW events at their school with limited autonomy. Any decisions associated with governance of a xFW event is subject to the respective license agreement governing the chapters and related affairs. As UFW continues to grow, funding and resource support will enable the ability for the platform to hire much needed senior management team as well as put in place necessary infrastructure to progressively give the chapters continued and ongoing support to continuously drive community impact, as UFW grows, so will its revisions and updates on operations and policies.
With the success of it’s flagship week at SFUXFW, UFW is now spreading to UBC in 2017 with hopes of expanding into other universities across the nation by 2018.
University Fashion Week was founded in 2013 by Kayode Fatoba, a Health Science Alumni from Simon Fraser University. Recipient of the prestigious TD Canada Trust Community Leadership Scholarship, former Vice President of the Simon Fraser Student Society, and most recently the Artistic Director of Vancouver’s African Descent Festival. With so much involvement in his university, Kayode saw the vision of building a platform that promotes the participation of students in the Canadian fashion scene.
The initial vision was born through SFU Fashion Week which arose from a need Kayode noticed in his friends in the fashion industry for exposure outside their immediate friends circle. Kayode saw the university ecosystem as the perfect launch pad for the works of up and coming designers, as well as a place they can get validation for their design concepts and creations. He believed the best way to achieve such a goal was in creating an environment that encourages a different type of learning, one that’s more practical and saw the confinements of the academic community as having culture, and environment of its own. He envisioned a platform that would work with, and be an integral part of the university by contributing to positive school spirit, engaging dialogue, and helping to promote the university’s branded merchandise.
With SFU Fashion Week moving into its fourth year of production and gaining traction within the SFU community and alumni, along with receiving invitations from several UBC students to expand to its campus; Kayode decided to scale SFU Fashion Week into a Canada wide initiative. Thus, coining University Fashion Week as the umbrella project to spread the vision of the flagship event across Canada and get more young Canadians involved in fashion.
Keeping to the tradition of the flagship event, the last week of March has thus been coined as University Fashion Week.
The initiative is funded out of pocket, with sponsorships from local businesses, grants from community groups and tickets all helping to keep the project sustainable and reach it’s growing potential.