A Brief History of the Alliance

In April of 2006 several costumers held a meeting to discuss the possibility of starting an association for Costume Designers, Assistant Designers, Illustrators and Stylists. Ten individuals came to form the core group of founding members. More meetings followed and a mandate, mission statement and the official name of the Alliance were established.

The first general meeting was held in March of 2007, presenting the Alliance to fellow professionals. The name CAFTCAD was voted on and accepted. The decision was made to have CAFTCAD encompass all costumers within the film and television industries regardless of union affiliation or position.

The following year (2008) saw the establishment of the CAFTCAD blog, the passing of the constitution and the incorporation of CAFTCAD as a non-profit organization. The first bi-annual Movie Wardrobe Sales were held in July and October and were attended by over 1400 people. Luis Sequeira was made president, Ruth Secord vice president, Ian Drummond treasurer, and Joanna Syrokomla secretary. The first celebration of achievement in Canadian Costume in Film was held during TIFF at the Intercontinental Hotel.

In 2009 CAFTCAD released the first Members Savings Book offering hundreds of dollars in potential savings at participating vendors and costume specific services. The first ever CAFTCADEMY professional seminars took place in March, providing the costume community with a weekend long series featuring 11 speakers discussing subjects ranging from the artistic to the academic. The year’s TIFF celebration was titled CAFTCAD Celebrates Costumes in Film and was attended by over 350 people.

The Studio Services program was launched in 2010, providing members exclusive access to smaller boutiques in Toronto. In May 2010 the first issue of BeSpoke – CAFTCAD’s newsletter – was published featuring articles on members and costume related topics. This year also saw the birth and incredible reception of the Milestones Speaker Series, with an evening talk with Oscar nominated Costume Designer Monique Prudhomme.

In 2011 CAFTCAD exhibited Otherwordly: The Art of Canadian Costume Design in partnership with TIFF Bell Lightbox to celebrate the achievements of Canadian costume design. Exhibited in the Canadian Film Gallery from September 2, 2011 through to March 2012, work included costumes from The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the comic book Bulletproof Monk and other genres including sci-fi, horror and fantasy. The exhibit was curated by Sylvia Frank, Director of TIFF’s Film Reference Library and Special Collections. Over 11, 000 people visited the Otherworldly exhibit.

Luis Sequiera was re-elected as president, Joanna Syrokomla became vice president, Tamiyo Tomihiro treasurer, and Kristen O’Reilly secretary.

2012 saw the creation of COSTUME 101 for Film and Television, a two-day introductory course for people who want to work in costumes in the film industry. The course was held at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. A successful repeat of this series was held again in 2013.

Oscar nominated Julie Weiss was flown to Toronto for a sold-out evening of career antidotes and stories shared for Milestones in February. To add to achievements, the CAFTCAD Library and Resource Centre officially launched this year as well.

2013 saw the return of Milestones, CAFTCAD’s speaker series with Oscar nominated Costume Designer April Ferry. A new executive board was elected. Joanna Syrokomla became president, Loretta Chin vice president, Sarah Armstrong treasurer and Kristen O’Reilly secretary & communications officer.

Today CAFTCAD is proud to have over 100 members spanning all facets of the industry. With continued efforts such as CAFTCADEMY, Movie Wardrobe Sales, Milestones Speaker Series and networking events the Alliance is forging ahead with a clear vision for the future.

  • April 2006: First meeting held with industry professionals to discuss establishing an organization.
  • March 2007: First general meeting. Alliance name is approved.
  • May 2nd 2008: CAFTCAD incorporates as a non-profit organization.
  • July 2008: First Movie Wardrobe Sale held at Toronto Film Studios.
  • September 2008: First TIFF reception celebrating Costume Design in film.
  • March 2009: First CAFTCADEMY weekend seminar.
  • June 2009: Caftcad.com goes live.
  • April 2010: New executive board elected. Milestones Speaker Series with Costume Designer Monique Prudhomme takes place.
  • May 2010: CAFTCAD’s newsletter BeSpoke is launched.
  • February 2012: COSTUME 101 for Film and Television introductory course is launched. Milestones Speaker Series with Costume Designer Julie Weiss takes place.
  • January 2013: Milestones Speaker Series with Costume Designer April Ferry.
  • April 2013: New executive board is elected for the 2013-2015 term.

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