The next time you’re at a dinner party and the debate about who the most important person working in Canadian fashion is, we suggest impressing the designer pants off of everyone by suggesting Susan Langdon. As the executive director of the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), Langdon is the reason why so many young designers even get their start in the industry to begin with. Intrigued? We caught up with Langdon to find out more about her unique career and current obsessions…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I’m a native Torontonian who loves fashion, culture and animals, especially my two cats, Petunia (Toonie) and Finn. I’m also the executive director of the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), an award-winning and highly-acclaimed non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and nurturing Canadian fashion designers and entrepreneurs. Established in 1987 as the world’s first official “fashion incubator,” the TFI model has been adopted by cities such as New York, Chicago, London, Paris, Milan, Perth and Melbourne.
What are the biggest challenges and best rewards about what you do?
Running a non-profit that’s not health-related or child-related is a huge financial challenge. People ask why they should support “fashion” because it’s so glamorous or frivolous. The reality is that TFI creates Canadian jobs, helps keep manufacturing local, encourages consumers to buy local and aspires youth. The best part of what I do is watching designers become successful and knowing that TFI played a role in making that happen.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Toonie and Finn (they’re a bonded pair so they can count as one, can’t they?), a lint roller (natch) and moisturizer.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…it’s my hometown, it’s where I live, studied and work, and because it’s one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
I love Hashimoto because the food is exquisite and so unexpected but it’s very expensive and out-of-the-way. So my go-to place these days is Bar Mercurio on Bloor because they make the best salads and the servers make you feel at home.
What’s one of your favourite go-to designers/brands or accessories lines and why do you sport their fashions?
I’m a long-time advocate of wearing Canadian not just because of my profession, but also because I used to be a fashion designer and know all too well how difficult it is to survive in this business. I love wearing Marie Saint Pierre because her cuts are so simple yet ingenious and she uses very innovative fabrics. For accessories, I have a weakness for Shay Lowe jewellery because every piece is gorgeous and stunning. When you want to feel like a star, wear one of Shay’s statement necklaces!
What products are always in your beauty/grooming bag?
I swear by Crest 3D WhiteStrips for the fastest and whitest results, L’Oreal’s Voluminous Million Lashes mascara for lashes so long they don’t look real, and M.A.C Viva Glam VI lipstick is the perfect nude shade for my skin tone. For skincare, I use Shu Uemura’s cleansing oil with my Clarisonic and La Mer moisturizer for the face and body.
What style trends are you obsessed with right now?
I’m obsessed with black leather corsets and harness belts. They’re both somewhat restrictive and I love the way they accent different parts of the body.
What’s your favourite spa or service?
I go to Tips Nail Bar on the Danforth for the best mani/pedi in the city and to Daniel Fiorio at Salon Daniel in Yorkville because he is an expert at the art of the cut. For therapeutic massage, I see Robyn at the Stillwater Spa because she instinctively knows which muscles need attention even when I’m not aware of any pain yet.