Canadian fashion shares spotlight in first-ever Commonwealth Fashion Exchange at Buckingham Palace


Industry advocate and member of the Commonwealth Fashion Council,
Robin Kay presents Canadian designers Lucian Matis and Triarchy in London

TORONTO, ON – This Fashion Month, Canada is making its mark on the Commonwealth stage. Robin Kay, founder of Toronto Fashion Week and fashion industry advocate, announced her support as an official board member on the Commonwealth Fashion Council (CFC), a non-profit organization focused on the advancement of Commonwealth fashion industries, recently accredited by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

During London Fashion Week, the CFC will jointly host the first-ever Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, a major showcase of collaborative pieces created by established and emerging designers and artisans from across the 52 Commonwealth countries. The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange will be revealed in a celebration at Buckingham Palace on February 19, in the presence of HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and HRH The Countess of Wessex. Canadian womenswear designer Lucian Matis will represent Canada with a single gown, showcased alongside artisans from the Namibian Omba Arts Trust and chosen by the Woolmark Edit endorsement.

The exhibit will then be displayed at select locations across London starting February 21, including Australia House, before eventually travelling to select Commonwealth countries. It will also live online through a digital platform hosted by Google Arts & Culture. 

“I am honoured to be a part of the CFC’s inaugural London event alongside our established Commonwealth fashion partners,” said Robin Kay. “The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, rich in collaboration and creativity, is a testament to the global tapestry that makes up our industry. I believe Canada’s involvement in the CFC will generate a new conversation and positively enlighten our homeland fashion identity, providing direct insight into how other countries endorse and identify their fashion sectors. There is an urgent need for policy adjustments within the creative cluster to ensure the sector’s future as a viable pillar of culture and commerce.”

“The modern Commonwealth is young and creative and represents a third of the world's population, 60 per cent of whom are under the age of 30. Fashion represents a powerful common language and platform through which to influence young people around key issues,” 
said Baroness Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of The Commonwealth. “The Fashion Exchange has collaboration and partnership at its heart, forging new networks and making the Commonwealth Summit themes of prosperity, sustainability and fairness very real and tangible."

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange will champion the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and highlight sustainability.

Each high profile Canadian delegate demonstrates these mandates as industry innovators in their own spheres. As an expert of intricacy, Lucian Matis uses clever cutting and embroidery to complement his glamorous gowns. His VIP clientele, including Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, have brought Lucian international recognition. Triarchy, showing February 20 at New Zealand House, has revolutionized the industry with its sustainably made, low water consuming denim alongside its Atelier line, comprised of repurposed vintage denim. The brand champions true sustainability, down to the fine details of recycled leather labels and repurposed hardware.

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is an ambitious project with long term aims being developed in partnership with Swarovski and The Woolmark Company. Retail partner MATCHESFASHION.COM will launch an edited collection resulting from the Exchange in September this year. The project is being managed by Eco-Age with the support of the newly accredited Commonwealth Fashion Council and The British Fashion Council.

About The Commonwealth Fashion Council
The Commonwealth Fashion Council (CFC) is a not-for-profit, Commonwealth-accredited organization.  The CFC works to support and advocate sustainable development, education, youth and gender empowerment in the current and emerging fashion industries within the 52 member Nations of the Commonwealth.

About Robin Kay
Robin Kay is one of Canada’s unyielding supporters for the fashion industry. A self-taught designer, she ran a successful eponymous brand for 25 years that held 600 wholesale accounts across North America, and 22 stores across the country. This journey led her to pioneer the largest Fashion Week in Canada. She transferred ownership of the event in 2012 to focus on the larger work of Fashion Design Council of Canada (FDCC), a not-for-profit dedicated to supporting the Canadian fashion industry she helped establish. Since then, Kay has been tirelessly working to engage government in conversation to identify the fashion community as a pillar of culture and commerce in Canada and create a new national policy that acknowledges all designers’ contributions in this country.

For more information please contact:
Sheri Clish, rock-it promotions, inc., 416.656.0707 X 122
Andrea Mears, rock-it promotions, inc., 416.656.0707 X 117