October 20th, 2017 by Anouk Bertner No Comments

By Marla Fletcher

Whether you’re a fabric- or fashion-mad or you love to create things from textiles, Ottawa’s Vanier ward is the place to be next Friday, Oct. 27.

Eco-Equitable is hosting a unique day-long Textile Summit that brings together some 60-70:

  • fashion designers
  • fabric suppliers
  • textile manufacturers
  • small-enterprise clothing, accessory-makers
  • tailors, seamstresses
  • equipment vendors, repair people
  • marketers
  • pattern-makers
  • and more

There are workshops, panel discussions and keynote presentations from top-notch fashion designer-creators who have muscled their way to international success. Students of fashion design and related fields are especially welcome; there’s a discount if you’re quick to register!

Problem-solving, with no shortage of optimism

It’s all about community-building — and a dream come true for Eco’s executive director, Anouk Bertner. After five years working with the sewing- and recycled fabric-based social enterprise, Anouk says the summit grew from her frustration with trying to  ‘get things done’ locally.


“I find working in textiles is really, really hard (here)… and I’d love it to be easier, if we (can) just work with each other,” Anouk states.


After countless conversations with contacts, suppliers, colleagues, students and others in the field, she drew up a proposal for a Canada 150 grant. The idea was to host an event that would identify and bring together players, stakeholders and supporters. When the grant was awarded, the Textile Summit was born!


Anouk points to the refreshing, collaborative mindset she often encounters in the not-for-profit and charitable sectors. If there’s a sense that something isn’t working or is broken, those in the field feel it’s up to them to fix it. “We need to pull our resources together and … support each other.” The result will be a stronger, vibrant community, she predicts, with opportunities to collaborate on projects, achieve economies and better supply/delivery systems, have inspirational exchanges and back-up support to call on when you need it.

Come to learn, come to be inspired

Two passionate speakers relate personal stories about climbing to the top, and have plenty of advice and encouragement to share.

Stacey Bafi-Yeboa of Kania Couture kicks off the day with tips about and how to ‘make it’ in the ultra-competitive fashion world. She relates how she pioneered a strong brand and fashion line from humble Ottawa-based beginnings. Partner sponsor for this keynote is Creative Mornings, an international outreach initiative offering free breakfast lectures for creative people in select local venues.

Later, hear what wedding and haute couture designer/entrepreneur Justina McCaffrey has to say about self-care and preservation in the dizzying whirlwind that can include fashion week shows, fashion line design and production, promotion, running multiple business/manufacturing tie-ins, and everything in between.

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