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Ann Kaplan, finance entrepreneur and TV star, establishes initiative in partnership with Fashion at The Creative School

The new initiative aims to advance social justice within the fashion industry through education
October 26, 2021
Ann Kaplan wears a taffeta gown of yellow, pink and grey and is seated in a room with classic wood furniture and elaborate drapes

Dr. Ann Kaplan Mulholland. Photo credit: Kayla Rocca

Oct. 26, 2021 (Toronto,ON) - Television personality, CEO and President of iFinance Canada Inc. Dr. Ann Kaplan Mulholland, external link, opens in new window is partnering with Ryerson University, opens in new window on a new initiative to promote social justice within Canadian fashion. The AnnKM Fashion & Social Impact Initiative will support institutional inclusion initiatives at the School of Fashion, opens in new window such as student groups focused on representation in fashion education, speakers from justice-seeking groups and projects that advance the cause of social justice. The generous philanthropic commitment will also support students from underrepresented communities who study Fashion at The Creative School, opens in new window, Ryerson University's faculty of media, design, and creative industries. 

“Fashion is such a powerful form of creative self-expression and has played a very important role in my life,” said Kaplan of the new initiative. “The new initiative will help foster an inclusive fashion platform by supporting fashion students in ways that promote equality of access and opportunity. By supporting diverse emerging creative talent we can help them break into a competitive industry while encouraging them to understand the important voice they have to create positive change.”

Kaplan transgresses boundaries; self-styled in more ways than one, she is known for her idiosyncratic and playful sartorial style, and her easy blend of haute couture and DIY. The multi-hyphenate FinTech entrepreneur, public speaker, author and philanthropist has a history of supporting fashion causes, including Fashion Cares (having published a commemorative retrospective book celebrating the event). 

The AK Fashion Initiative will fund social justice initiatives responsive to the needs of students from underrepresented communities who are enrolled in Fashion at The Creative School throughout the next four years. In doing so, the gift will further the social mission of the school in alignment with its three guiding principles; inclusion, decolonization and sustainability.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Ann Kaplan to bolster underrepresented and systemically disadvantaged people and communities through the The AnnKM Fashion & Social Impact Initiative,'' said School of Fashion Chair Joseph Medaglia. “It is clear that the School and AnnKM share a common perspective --- that fashion is a powerful mechanism for change.” 

“By supporting diversity of perspectives and approaches we are preparing the next wave of fashion talent that will in turn shape the industry,” said Charles Falzon, Dean of The Creative School. “Ann Kaplan’s gift will allow for a significant expansion of ambitious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion initiatives supporting representation and innovation in fashion. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges to an already highly competitive industry, so this will only bolster student preparedness for fashion’s progressive future.”

A leader herself, Kaplan’s professional success has garnered her more than 40 business awards, including twice being named Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, and recognition as among Canada’s Top 100 Women in Business, as well as being inducted into the Hall of Fame as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. The generous gift will help support the next diverse generation of design leaders to launch fashion careers. 

About The Creative School at Ryerson University

The Creative School is a dynamic faculty making a difference in new, unexplored ways. Comprised of Canada’s top professional schools and transdisciplinary hubs in media, communication, design and cultural industries, The Creative School offers students an unparalleled global experience in the heart of downtown Toronto.

About the School of Fashion

Entering its third decade, Fashion at The Creative School is shaping the future of fashion by equipping aspiring fashion creatives to RE-DESIGN THE WORLD. The School of Fashion aims to transform the industry by centering inclusive, decolonized and sustainable approaches to fashion through teaching, research and creative activities as well as significant industry and community partnerships. Taking a global perspective the School values new creative design processes, techniques and methods that honour tradition while critically challenging convention and social norms.

Link to PDF press release PDF filehere, opens in new window.