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  • Writer's pictureChristal Earle

E05 | Kelly Drennan on The Journey of Fashion Takes Action

Have you encountered a difficult truth in the world that you can't ignore? Then you are going to want to learn about Kelly's journey to building "Fashion Takes Action".

Kelly Drennan founded Fashion Takes Action in 2007. It came to life through her desire to create a better, more sustainable future for her two daughters. Her role at FTA is to identify the barriers to sustainability that exist for both industry and consumers, and do what she can to remove them.

Determined to make fashion circular, Kelly co-wrote Canada’s textile recycling feasibility report, and is now leading a group of national stakeholders in a mechanical textile recycling pilot.

From 2018-2020 she convened the Ontario Textile Diversion Collaborative (OTDC) which was a group of more than 30 stakeholders (municipalities, charities, collectors, retailers, NGOs, policy makers and academics) committed to increasing textile diversion, through a collective impact framework. Kelly is a strategic partner in the Circular Economy Leadership Canada, an advisor to the Textile Lab for Circularity in Vancouver, and was a member of the City of Toronto’s Circular Economy Working Group where she brought her sustainability expertise to their Fashion Industry Advisory Panel.

In 2014, Kelly created the annual World Ethical Apparel Roundtable (WEAR) Conference, and in 2020, the WEAR webinar series. She has hosted hundreds of industry experts in sharing practical insights to thousands of global attendees through these forums, and is a sought-after speaker herself, having given hundreds of presentations to industry, academics and consumers, including a TED talk as part of the Global TEDx Countdown event focused on climate action.

Kelly is passionate about collaboration and bringing together multiple perspectives in an effort to take action. In 2019 she co-created the Sustainable Fashion Toolkit in partnership with PwC Canada, and she oversees FTA’s youth education program My Clothes My World that she created in 2014 for students in grades 4-12 — delivered to more than 25,000 students in classrooms across Ontario and in Vancouver – and which is now being delivered virtually.

In 2017, Kelly was the recipient of the prestigious Clean 50 award given to Canada’s climate leaders, where she was recognized for Education & Thought Leadership, and was the first recipient of the award for the fashion industry.

In this episode, Christal, Rafik and Kelly discuss:

  • Kelly's aha moment that came at an unlikely moment in her life

  • What it looks like to build a movement that is based on a common value and the thread of hope that we can find

  • Where Kelly sees the greatest potential for sustainable change

  • Learning to do and be better with our choices, one by one

  • Some exciting products and collaborations that Fashion Takes Action is launching with major brands in Canada


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