*Guest Post* ShowTellShare One Hundred and Ninety

Guest Post by supporter, Meredith Turnbull:

Poor Jackie is terribly sick with a rotten lurgy. After days of pressing on regardless last week, on Sunday she finally submitted to a day of rest at home and handed over the keys to the shop to Kit and me. 

It’s a funny thing to go from being a cheerleader to The Social Outfit on the sidelines, to then being the public interface with the community. Since Jackie introduced me to The Social Studio in the What Ken Be Done year, it, and The Social Outfit have become very precious to me as examples of doing social good. So on Sunday, I felt a big responsibility in representing The Social Outfit, and an even bigger challenge in filling Jackie’s colourful Fluevog shoes! 

So what does a day in the pop-up shop look like? What I quickly learned is that a bit of eye contact, a big smile and an invitation to enter the space works wonders. Once inside, people are interested and inspired by the story of The Social Outfit. Also, by asking questions I discovered just how many people have an interest and compassion, or a direct connection to refugee issues.

Sundays are always busy in The Rocks. Some of the highlights of the working day was a lovely woman from Melbourne who had seen an article about The Social Studio in The Age (here). We talked about many things and unexpectedly at the end she said, “I would like to donate some money.” Jasonne was so cool, she even offered to link us up with an intern program through her work…

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Later in the morning a woman dropped in with her partner, and she later came back with her daughter too. She loved one of our t-shirts (unfortunately it wasn’t in her size), but in the process of chatting I learnt that she had worked at the social enterprise OzHarvest, and had friends who volunteer with Asylum Seekers Centre

In the afternoon three younger people were wandering past. One of them was quite taken by the gorgeous yellow dress that was in the window…

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She and her friends came in and she tried it on and loved it! She then tried on a blue and orange dress and loved that too. Kit and I had made our first sale for the day, and it was a double! 

Later in the afternoon a woman who used to work in a fabric wholesale business dropped in on her way to meet friends. After Kit told her about The Social Outfit’s plans, she vowed to go away and chat to her networks in the fabric world. 

Many other people dropped in and Kit and I did our best to describe our hopes for The Social Outfit and our sustainable business model too. Everyone was different and some people loved everything about our plans, others liked the use of excess and recycled fabric, others appreciated the importance of assisting people from refugee communities to find meaningful education and employment opportunities. 

But my favourite moment of today was when I was reminded of an experience I had at The Social Studio in Melbourne. I was sitting in their cafe, The Cutting Table, eating an ‘zlabia‘ (an African Donut) and having a coffee. On the street-side seating just outside my window there was a young student at The Social Studio having a tea, and next to her was a customer having a coffee. The customer was joined by a friend with a gorgeous puppy, and soon all three people were all talking and laughing and continued to do so for half an hour.  During that time people of all types stopped and joined in and then kept on wandering. I don’t know how you measure the value of that, but I do know that it is not something you see very often: people joyfully engaging across difference and being part of a community. 

That is why I support Jackie and the team every step of the way, and why I believe The Social Studio and The Social Outfit are so precious and important. They are making the world more like the one I want to live in. 

I just wish Jackie had told me I’d have to wear a Ken Done handbag in order to help!

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ShowTellShare One Hundred and Eighty-Nine

Show: Here’s some of The Social Outfit‘s volunteers – Kit and Sharon – helping out at the Pop-Up Pilot on Sunday. As you can see, two very happy people making sales, showcasing the clothes, and waving goodbye to this particularly *gorgeous* The Social Studio pink shirt dress to a new customer. Apparently the new onwner is a “lovely woman with blonde hair” who follows this blog; so a *BIG* thank you for supporting us, (as yet, unnamed) dear reader! If you’re keen, we’d love to a photo of you wearing this shirt in your own style soon… xo

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And here’s me on Sunday, having had a few hours off to catch up on sleep, and then get back into the world to see Sydney’s first ‘Cherchez La Femme‘ event… a great chance to hear some interesting feminist thoughts and ideas, and especially support fellow fashion-blogger, Frances Lockie of Corpulent.

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Tell: Glasses from op shop, handmade beaded jewellery, Tatty Devine necklace, retail shirt, vintage 1980s Australian designer ‘Mary Shackman‘ skirt (worn as dress) which I found in a Randwick op shop, Saba sample belt, Black Milk leggings, Fluevog boots and Tatty Devine ‘leather balloon’ purse. Beaded bracelet from The Social Studio.

And now to get ready for the *fun* of this week; especially Nicole Barakat‘s eco-dyeing workshop we are hosting as a part of our pilot. Exciting!

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ShowTellShare One Hundred and Eighty-Eight

Almost a week of radio silence from me to you, dear readers, but that’s just because we’ve been *working so hard* to get here: The Social Outfit Pilot Project!

We’re down at The Rocks, and we’re ready to say hello to you and your friends…

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From this week until Saturday 11 May, we’ll be at Shop 2.03, 140 George Street, The Rocks (Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am-5pm). Of course, we’re not doing it all alone: we’re proudly supported by our sister organisation, The Social Studio; we’ve had *fantastic* funding from the City of Sydney Community Grants Program; and our spot is thanks to the The Rocks Pop-Up initiative.

Let’s take a little tour of our space, shall we? …

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We’re also running creative workshops with people from refugee backgrounds. This week is hat-making with Catherine Kelly of Embellish Atelier, and thanks to donations from Hatters Millinery Supplies. From scratch, people have been making these millenary pieces: look at the results in just a few dedicated hours!

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With things being so busy, if you want to check out what’s happening on a more regular basis, good spots for information are:

In the meantime, hoping to see you at the shop (if you’re in Sydney); hoping you enjoy what we’re trying to do (if you’re further afield), and thanks as always, for showing your support as The Social Outfit  (NEW WEBSITE!) progresses each day. xo xo

And here’s me – looking exhausted, really – but living life to my fullest…

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I’m too tired to tell you about the outfits in any great detail… but rest assured, naturally I’m wearing The Social Studio (leggings in picture one, *super* cape in picture two…) xo

ShowTellShare One Hundred and Eighty-Seven

Share: If at first you don’t succeed…

Some of you may recall in 2012 I made it to the top 10 of the Vodafone Foundation’s World of Difference Program. In the end, I didn’t win the funding, and so I kept working away voluntarily for the year part-time, doing my very best to keep us progressing. Well, the *wonderful* news this time for me and The Social Outfit, is that I’VE BEEN SUCCESSFUL in 2013! That’s right: The Vodafone Foundation is supporting me to take a year’s Paid Charity Leave, through the World of Difference Program! In real terms this means from May I’ll be  going full time on The Social Outfit, and I’m going to keep working harder and harder to make us be the success we all dream we can be… Hooray!

Guess my elevator pitch turned out OK, and I think I’m going to have a lot of this kind of practice in the year ahead!!

*BIG* thanks to everyone who has been supportive so far, especially Grace at The Social StudioThe Social Outfit entourage, and you dear readers! It’s a team effort!

Show:

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Tell: Tatty Devine earrings and necklace, The Social Studio silk dress, Black Milk ‘Woman in Red’ leggings, retail socks, Fluevog shoes.

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But this is not a time for resting: we have a Pilot Program to get up and running! Here’s our space as part of The Rocks Pop-Up, and we open on Tuesday… *Exciting and EEEEK!*

IMG_1024Yes, we have a lot of work to do, but we’ll get there! xo

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ShowTellShare one Hundred and Eighty-Six

Share: Meet Nina Maya, The Social Outfit‘s very own *new* board member!

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We’re all really excited to have Nina involved; check out how amazing she is:

Nina Maya Skrzynski is one of Australia’s most outstanding designers renowned for creating collections with an emphasis on quality, silhouette and finishing. Since the launch of her Nina Maya label in 2006, she has developed a strong following from industry, celebrity and consumers alike. Completing a design degree, majoring in textiles at the College of Fine Arts Sydney, Nina has always held a strong penchant for fashion. Following this, she set off for London for an internship at a leading textile firm, before relocating to Italy where she worked for a luxury fashion house. Nina was honoured by an invitation to design her own range for the company, which was produced shortly after. Following her work abroad, Nina returned to Australia to establish her own business and further her self-titled label. Created with a style and design philosophy against the trend of disposable fashion, her focus on sustainability and a desire to create investment pieces have served as a solid foundation for the label’s success. Nina’s desire to push the envelope in design has seen her develop an artisan-like approach to her label. 

In July 2009, the Nina Maya label was selected by MYER to be included in their stable of designer collections and is now stocked nationally. The brand has developed strong working relationships with a select group of celebrities, most notably creating one-off red carpet designs for Jennifer Hawkins, Rebecca Twigley and Delta Goodrem. The resulting recognition of this saw the introduction of the Nina Maya Bespoke service in which customers have the opportunity to have demi-couture designs created personally by Nina for a specific occasion or event. 

Nina Maya has now extended the 
application of her skills to launch Nina Maya Interiors. After returning from London to Sydney, Nina Maya Interiors was launched in early 2012. Since then, Nina Maya has completed residential and commercial interiors design projects in Sydney and Beijing, China. 

In terms of philanthropic work, Nina is a Trustee of the Sky Foundation, a founding member of the ‘10 x 10 Project’ (aimed at engendering a culture of philanthropy and giving within the young professional and creative communities), and a member of the New Gen initiative at Philanthropy Australia.

Welcome Nina!

Show: And here’s some photos from last Friday, as a bunch of us were preparing and working hard at The Rocks Pop-Up spaces, in what will soon be The Social Outfit‘s new home whilst we run our pilot project

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There is a tonne of work to do: Eeeeek! But rest assured I’m making a real effort to make sure our creative workshops, exhibition space and ‘The Social Studio‘ pop-up store are *super interesting* for you to come and visit! For more details as we develop, check out here

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Tell: Earrings handmade, ‘Tokyo Kamen‘ brooch from Japan, ‘Promenade’ shirt from op shop, The Social Studio singlet, TS14+ dress, Black Milk leggings, Fluevog boots. All rings from Italy.

And this is today…

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Tell: Wa-Nyika earrings, scarf from op shop, handmade necklace, dress from secondhand store, vintage leather belt from secondhand store, Spin Dance petticoat, retail tights and socks, Fluevog sandals. Vintage Australiana bag from secondhand store.
Check out  also the First Hawaiian Officer’s *lovely* vintage shirt (below); we’re wearing matching retro-greens… And a BIG *thanks always* to the FHO for such great photos!
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This mini-comic says it all, really …
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ShowTellShare One Hundred and Eighty-Four

This Sunday in Sydney, where the summer-weather just keeps sticking…

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I hope you’re enjoying yourself too! xo

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Tell: Tatty Devine earrings, necklace, and rings, robot pendant from Young Blood Designer Markets, The Social Studio silk dress, singlet from op shop, Black Milk leggings, Fluevog boots. Vintage Ken Done tote bag, vintage Ken Done silk scarf.