(By: Emily Srebotnjak)
Fashion is all about exploring options and taking chances, but most importantly: thinking of fresh ideas.
Created in partnership with Ryerson University, the new Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation aims to give fashion entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their businesses by giving them the proper environment and tools to do so.
The new centre, located in the 10 Dundas building right beside Ryerson is a part of Ryerson’s Fashion Zone, which was modeled after Ryerson’s DMZ (Digital Media Zone). The DMZ is Canada’s top-ranked incubator program, and with the goals that the fashion centre is planning to achieve, it looks like the partnership will be on its way to attaining success as well.
The program is funded by a $1 million grant from The Joe Fresh Fund, and is aiming to develop up to 21 upcoming businesses throughout the next four years. The Joe Fresh Centre will provide an 18-month mentorship period during the time in which the entrepreneurs chosen to participate will get the opportunity to learn from business and academic experts, including Joe Fresh executives.
Participants will also have access to a large workspace, equipment, seminars, meeting rooms and network events to help their emerging businesses thrive.
Robert Ott, the academic and executive director of the Fashion Zone and Joe Fresh Centre says that the goal of the centre is to take “fresh ideas” from Canadians across the country and help these entrepreneurs take their ideas to the next level in the fashion world.
“Even though the Joe Fresh Centre is about fashion, it’s not really about clothes. It’s about the ideas and social responsibility,” he says.
“It’s about creating awareness and critiquing the fashion industry itself and taking a fresh new take on that. This kind of approach is really necessary for the creative and fashion sector to thrive in Canada.”
Applicants to the Joe Fresh Centre can be from any department related to the fashion industry, ranging from designing and advertising to technology-based sectors. Full details on the application process are available at joefreshcentre.com
For more info on the Fashion Zone itself, check out Ebony-Renee Baker’s video as she speaks with Robert Ott and the co-founder of “Coat and Shelter”, one of the zone’s student startups.