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Alumni Profiles

Kelly Drennan

Kelly Drennan

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Year of Graduation: 1998
Program: Journalism - Print

Eco-fashion Leader

Kelly Drennan is on a mission to help the fashion industry become more sustainable. Through her company, Fashion Takes Action (FTA), Kelly is devoted to making change within an industry known for its many negative social and environmental impacts, including labour practices and the use of energy, water and toxic chemicals. “You may think a dress is cute, but what’s the story behind it?” challenges Kelly. “How was it made? What’s it made from? Who made it and how much were they paid?” If we don’t like the answers, we need to pressure the industry to act responsibly, she says.

A media go-to eco-fashion expert, Kelly has been featured in the Globe & Mail, the Toronto Star and Flare Magazine, which named her one of 30 women to watch in Canada in 2009. Kelly also writes the green column for Canada's fashion industry magazine, Trends, and is a contributor to two of the top US sustainability blogs, Elephant Journal and Eco Salon. Among her speaking engagements last year was the keynote address at the Ministry of the Environment’s fashion show fundraiser for the United Way.

Earlier in 2010, FTA established the first eco-fashion design award in Canada and for 2011 it is expanding to include US designers as well. Design Forward 2011 will officially launch in April. Check out the FTA website for more info: http://www.fashiontakesaction.com

Although Kelly has found the fashion industry slow to move on environmental change, she has seen a shift, particularly in the past year. “Four years ago when I started talking about sustainable fashion in Canada, it was hard to get anyone to listen. Now, Fashion Takes Action has the ear of many, and we look forward to continuing our collaborations with so many great organizations that help us spread awareness.” 

Before coming to Sheridan, Kelly received her BA from the University of Guelph. “I always loved to write, and I can sell pretty much anything that I am passionate about. So I realized at Guelph that I should be in Communications,” explains Kelly. “I chose Sheridan’s print journalism program because it was very in-depth for a one year post-grad program and I’m so glad I did. I learned a great deal and, although I went into advertising and PR straight out of school, I am now back to my journalism roots, writing for a number of outlets,” she says. 

After graduating from Sheridan, Kelly worked in sales and marketing before starting her public relations company, Third Eye Media, in 2002 that focused mainly on fashion and lifestyle brands. While working with local designers, Kelly realized the need to promote awareness for eco-fashion and thus held Canada’s Greenest Fashion Event, the Green Gala in 2007. FTA officially launched as a members-based non profit in April 2009. Kelly has since successfully aligned the company with many leading businesses and social organizations, including Fashion Fights Poverty, Environmental Defence, Earth Day Canada and Fashion Group International.