I just returned from five days in the Big Apple where I attended Fashion Group International's regional directors' conference. FGI is a professional, not-for-profit organization made up of executives, designers and entrepreneurs founded in 1930.
A group of 17 women, including Eleanor Roosevelt and Vogue's editor-in-chief, created FGI at a time when most women didn't work, and those who did rarely had high profile positions or the respect of men. Talk about progressive. (Sadly, women today are still undercut by the gender bias - just read Tina Fey's new book Bossypants for 21st century proof.)
"Each held a job of consequence in the business of fashion, each held all the others in high regard and together they held a belief that fashion needed a forum, a stage, or a force to express and enhance a widening awareness of the American fashion business and of women’s roles in that business."*
There are now 30+ chapters worldwide helping to advance all professionals working in fashion, beauty and interior design. Diane Von Furstenberg and Anna Wintour sit on the Advisory board. The organization is led by Margaret Hayes, who was the first female senior vice president and general merchandise manager at Saks. (Again with the progressive women!) Toronto's chapter was founded in 1956 and is one of the largest and most successful. While in New York, our group won an international Merit Award for 2010 programming. I'm proud to be the incoming regional co-director for 2012. Until then, I will continue to promote our FGI news and efforts here.
You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And if you are interested in becoming a member, check us out here or contact me at leesa[at]fgitoronto[dot]org.
Join us May 18th for i2i: Insights into Interiors at John Paul & Co. (122 Avenue Road, south of Davenport). The event is open to both members and non-members and begins with a networking cocktail hour followed by a panel discussion.
* From the official Fashion Group history.