Job title: Chief Design Officer, FA design
Why he's a 2016 Top 40:
Ansara’s Calgary-based outerwear company is building a worldwide reputation as the best gear for snowboarders by blending high quality and high fashion.
photograph by Jared Sych. photographed at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary.
Frederick Ansara will tell you that he creates the best outerwear on the planet. And the executives at Canada Snowboard quite possibly agree with him. Ansara, owner of FA design, just signed a four-year, eight-figure deal to exclusively outfit the country’s alpine, snowboardcross and para-snowboard teams, including those at the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in South Korea.
“There’s not really anybody in the same realm or thinking the same way as us,” Ansara says. He adds that FA design is unique in the market, merging quality, performance, style and an emphasis on local production like no outerwear company has done before.
For Ansara, it all started when he failed grade three and made friends with a new group of boys who introduced him to snowboarding. “When I stepped on that board for the very first time, I couldn’t sleep at night,” Ansara says. “I couldn’t wait for the next day.”
Ansara went on to become a professional alpine snowboarder. When a long-time corporate sponsor dropped its support for his team, he felt like he had lost part of his identity, though he continued to snowboard. Despite knowing nothing about the fashion or outerwear industry, in 2009, he decided to create something of his own.
Ansara’s designs started with basic sketches and a sewing machine, and soon led to a large order from South Korea, a contract with the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors and placement in retail locations in nine countries around the world. Ansara quickly realized FA design was carving its place in the industry by merging function and fashion.
The quality of Ansara’s product is getting worldwide attention, with invitations coming in for fashion shows in New York City. He employs nine people in Calgary and 70 people in Vancouver and is opening flagship stores in Japan and China. All of his apparel is designed in Canada, and materials are sourced as locally as possible as part of his commitment to quality and reducing his ecological footprint.
Ansara says the passion that came from his very first ride is what gives him the drive to succeed. “I want people to experience what real outerwear should be,” Ansara says. “I want them to focus on what’s important, and that’s snowboarding.” — Nicole Halloran