ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Thirty-Seven

Show: Hello! Yes, I’m still here, working hard, and wearing outfits, of course! …

I was excited to meet with the Mayor of Marrickville Council, Jo Haylen, just over a week ago to talk about The Social Outfit‘s move into Newtown soon. She, and her staff, are very supportive of our work to celebrate the creativity of the Inner West’s diverse communities…

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And given it was a meeting about our fashion work developing in the local community, I was *super pleased* to be wearing our ‘The Social Outfit loves Dragstar‘ silk dress, designed by Celia Morris for us. Got to just *love* the Pac-Man characters in vintage fabric (and first worn by me in Japan)!

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Tell: Glasses from Japan, earrings and ‘black and white’ necklace from op shop, Tatty Devine ‘giant zipper’ necklace, ‘The Social Outfit loves Dragstar‘ dress from Colour Chameleon, TS14 dress, Black Milk leggings, Fluevog shoes.

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Then last Sunday, we headed out with dear friends to the Sydney Opera House for a series of talks on positive psychology, neuroscience and philosophy. You might see the apple in my hand – which I didn’t take along for all the teachers – instead just for me and my own thinking brain!

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Tell: Glasses from Japan, earrings from Japan, Tatty Devine ‘comic’ necklace, Tatty Devine ‘Gilbert & George’ brooch, retail cardigan and singlet, ‘BHS’ vintage skirt from op shop, retail tights and socks, Fluevog sandals, Linda Jackson vintage bag.

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My Tatty Devine necklace says, ‘Comics Can Change the World’… and that’s because I really think they can! And just like I believe The Social Outfit could change the world too, one piece of clothing at a time…

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So here’s a slightly longer story about last Wednesday night, with pictures. The Social Outfit had the welcome chance to pitch at The Funding Network event, at Macquarie. We were invited to talk for 6 minutes exactly (then 6 minutes of questions) about what financial support would mean for us, along with three other *wonderful* charities: Fighting Chance, Palmera and Ngroo.
Just as I was heading over, the Barangaroo construction site right next door to Macquarie caught on fire, which meant my cab couldn’t get anywhere near our venue. The whole event was very close to being cancelled, as buildings nearby were being evacuated and the whole area was filled with smoke. So due to the CBD traffic chaos, I ended up hopping out of the cab at Pyrmont because we just couldn’t get any closer in a timely fashion. I decided the best option was to find somewhere comfy to wait for an update on the event. Unfortunately I had more than one person could carry, so thanks to the kind cab driver’s assistance I found myself and The Social Outfit’s mannequin at the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel. Heads were turning, I can tell you!

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Anyway, with the fire still burning across the bridge, too much stuff to carry on my own, and the roads still at a stand-still, I get word that the event will be going ahead on schedule. I ask the publican if he’ll stash our mannequin for the night, and take to foot over to the venue with about four bags in the late summer heat. Once there, we set up our stall, and all pitch our stories; trying our very best. It was nerve wracking! But the crowd was *really lovely*, and given that some people had to travel for over 2 hours to the venue because of delays, they really wanted to be there! Plus, it resulted in us receiving some very welcome financial support, which is exciting! As always, I’m super grateful for the support of people; and the audience loved our ‘Colour Chameleon‘ fashion collection too… Thanks The Funding Network for the opportunity to get involved!
I got to wear three of my favourite labels for the pitch event: Ken Done, The Social Studio and The Social Outfit!

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Tell: Glasses from Japan, handmade earrings, Tatty Devine necklace, ‘The Social Outfit loves Ken Done‘ silk dress, Saba belt, The Social Studio leggings, Fluevog sandals.

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And I must have been feeling the Ken Done love for a *good* few weeks now, because here I am again, wearing it with a smile and some sunshine yellow …

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Tell: Glasses from Japan, handmade earrings, Tatty Devine necklaces, The Social Studio silk dress, ‘The Social Outfit loves Ken Done‘ leggings, odd socks, Fluevog sandals.

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Odd socks, for fun, learning times…

Hope you’re fabulous! xo

ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Thirty-Six

Show: 

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IMG_6118Share: As per the quote above, I like the idea of fashion representing both “social change” and “social cohesion”; it fits well with what we’re trying to achieve at The Social Outfit this year…

And as for fashion “speaking for us” – if it did speak for me in this outfit – it would be saying, “I love the 1980s and Tokyo-style”… check out my t-shirt from Galaxxxy in Shibuya, Tokyo, and the wonderful peeps modelling on the front. It’s like *ace-ness* personified! In fact, I liked the look so much I copied the eye-makeup! 😉

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Tell: Glasses from Japan, ‘Pearls before Swine‘ earrings from the MCA, ‘Galaxxxy‘ t-shirt from Japan, Saba belt, Dragstar denim skirt, retail tights, Happy SocksFluevog loafers from Sole DevotionKen Done vintage bag, Tatty Devine glasses charm bracelet.

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Share More: These photos are actually from a week ago. The busy-ness has continued, and that included going to Brisbane this week for my Vodafone Foundation ‘World of Difference’ training (NOTE: Tomorrow is the last date to apply for WOD2014, people! So recommended!), and then I came home and got sick momentarily.

But before then, and the week before, I went to the launch of the Social Enterprise Manifesto, hosted by the School for Social Entrepreneurs in Sydney, and launched by SIEEA secretariat and all-round legend, Meredith Turnbull (not that I’m biased at all, right?!!). As part of the invitation we were asked to wear ‘social enterprise’ clothing, and my friends and old colleagues, Kirsten (left) and Sally (right) came wearing The Social Outfit. How lovely of them! Don’t they look *smashing*? xo

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The quote that this post starts with is actually from an exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum that we went and saw recently. The words are on a poster next to this *subtle* costume piece by Ron Muncaster for his late partner, Jacques Straetmans. Given that this weekend is Mardi Gras in Sydney, again I like the idea of fashion as “social change” and “social cohesion”. And I tell you what: if I was offered to wear this piece, you’d have me in it within a nanosecond!! xo xoIMG_3236

ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Thirty-Three

We spent the end of 2013 taking a holiday in Japan. It was *brilliant*!

When I was 19 years old, I lived in Japan for a year and since then I have loved the uniqueness of the country and culture. I especially adore the way so many Japanese people embrace art and creativity into daily life. That includes the fabulous combinations of that which is serene and simple, to that which is *totally kitsch* and over-the-top! This trip we went to some of Japan’s best-known modern art galleries, starting with the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo…

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The sculpture is Sebastian Masuda’s “Melty-Go-Round” Christmas Tree. This art gallery is on the 53rd floor of the Mori Tower in Roppongi, so it has a *spectacular* view of the metropolis that is Tokyo and beyond.

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… and, as I’m not always the hugest fan of heights, the glass of champagne, and my newly gifted heart brooch from the Tatty Devine team helped embolden me to take in the 360-degree views from up on high!

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A highlight for me of Japan is its train system. I *love* the bullet trains that whizz up and down the islands, and mean you can visit towns far and wide really easily. Here we are passing the cultural icon that is Mount Fuji on a clear winter day…

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This trip we visited Naoshima. It’s a small island that was historically a fishing village, and has now re-invented itself as an ‘art island’. Many of the installations here are breath-taking. One of my favourite artists is Yayoi Kusama, and her two pumpkin sculptures welcome the ferries coming to the island…

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Here’s the Hawaiian First Officer at the castle in Okayama. It’s known as the ‘crow castle’ because of the black detailing, and the day we visited, actual crows were circling and the sky was quite dark and gloomy. It was perfect-creepy!

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These trees are in Kanazawa Gardens, and I fell in love with the ingenuity of the rope supports so that the tree boughs don’t break in winter with all the heavy snows.

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And here is just a little reminder of the sheer size of the population of Japan on what is such a small land mass… this is just one bike lock-up area in a small town.

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Here I am on New Year’s Eve in our hotel room in Shinjuku, Tokyo. I have no idea how we managed it, but we *lucked* a room with this gorgeous *cheesy* pink vintage couch! I celebrated the beginning of 2014 wearing ‘The Social Outfit loves Dragstar‘ dress and leggings from our Colour Chameleon collection. Nothing like heralding in a new year with the *fashion hope* of good things for The Social Outfit in 2014…

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Wishing you the *best* for 2014!

And, I look forward to sharing our stories and staying in touch xo xo

ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Twenty-Nine

Note: I know this post is actually published in 2014, but please just read it like it was still 2013 🙂 …

Show: Hey, hey it’s *Catch-Up Fashion and Fun Times!* With the end of the year looming and the supremely welcome news that The Social Outfit will open our doors in 2014, I’m winding things down now to take a break. But before the holidays begin, here’s some things I’ve been doing, and clothes I’ve been wearing for the last week or so…

The Social Outfit had our first ‘Annual General Meeting’ as a NSW-based Incorporated Association on Thursday 5 December. The Committee of Management all got together to be re-elected for ongoing service and to reflect on our last 18 months.

I like to not only reflect mentally, but also with my dress choice; thus wearing both the early days of The Social Studio’s work (my skirt) as well as our much more recent, ‘The Social Outfit loves Linda Jackson’ silk dress (as shirt) and leggings…

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At the very end of November to early December I was in Melbourne for the Vodafone Foundation’s ‘World of Difference’ training as a part of my year of paid-charity leave. It was also a chance to catch up with my family down south. Here’s me and my two lovely older brothers, spending some *welcome* family time together…

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In Melbourne I also got to catch up with my dear friend Bridget and her daughter. We visited the Ian Potter Gallery as a part of the NGV, and saw the *brilliant* exhibition called ‘At Home with the Hotham St Ladies’. Why did I think it was fabulous? Well it’s a sculptural exhibition and the artwork is made from piped cake icing! That sign behind is made entirely of cake-icing; and the artwork is fun, colourful and frivolous.

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And here, just for a bit of fun, is me sharing photos my Dad tried to take whilst I was in Melbourne for the blog. Bless him, I’ve not yet quite trained him on keeping the phone still enough to *catch* the fashion blog obligatory photo!

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ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Twenty-Eight Reasons to *Celebrate*!

What a way to end a year; with the fantastic news that The Social Outfit now has enough funding to open our doors! In 2014 we’ll begin a design school and retail store in Sydney’s Inner West. We’ll be able to have a base from which to grow our creative work with people from new migrant and refugee backgrounds.

We’ve been working hard, and it’s so lovely to celebrate now and thank people for the support so far. For approximately 2 years a diverse group of committed people have been working together to make The Social Outfit start up a reality in Sydney. Over this time we’ve also had financial support from a wide range of philanthropists and foundations who have believed in our dream. Now, thanks to the recent generous funding from the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and Dusseldorp Skills Forum we have raised enough investment so we can set up ‘shop’ for real.

In 2014 we hope you’ll stay involved, show your ongoing support, and help us build our goals. We’re celebrating now, as well as knowing that our next stage of growth is going be challenging and will require the dedication again of many people. We hope you can be part of this. Showing support at The Social Outfit can look like many things, and we look forward to communicating with you next year as we plan and progress with ways to get involved.

In the meantime, we wanted to share this amazing ‘tipping point’ news, and THANK YOU for your part in The Social Outfit community so far. The Social Outfit exists to celebrate the skills and styles of diverse cultures in Australia. In 2014 we’ll be working hard to enrich the educational and employment opportunities for people from new migrant and refugee backgrounds in Sydney. And we can’t wait to share with you this next phase of our story…

And, more personally, given my story of starting support for The Social Studio in 2010, and it turning into building The Social Outfit since then; the feeling of celebration and *thanks* is very, very high. As I hope you know, I’ve always wanted to do *good in a fashion*: with a love of creativity, art, ethics and collaboration. So naturally I celebrated our funding news with some *Ken Done Love* …

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Tell: Glasses from op shop, handmade earrings, zipper earring from V&A Museum found in an op shop in Melbourne, Ken Done vintage jacket, Tatty Devine cat bracelet as necklace, ‘The Social Outfit loves Ken Done‘ silk scarf, dress and leggings, Happy Socks, Fluevog shoes. Rings: Tatty Devine and others.

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… And I’ll have more outfits and photos from my recent time in Melbourne from last week to early this week. But for now, I just wanted to share our very exciting news with you all, so …

THANK YOU and HOORAY!

xo xo xo

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ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Twenty-Six

Show: Enjoying the company of good friends and coloured eyebrows last Sunday …

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Tell: Glasses from Japan, handmade earrings and necklace, Rockmans cardigan from op shop, re-purposed vintage dress from op shop, Sportscraft belt, Spin Dance petticoat, tights from Japan, retail socks and Fluevog boots. Ring from Italy, Museum of Contemporary Art gallery shop, op shop and Tatty Devine.

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Share: Last weekend the historic, and locally-famous ‘Marie Louise’ Hair Salon in Enmore was finally open to the public to see inside. I think it was all the *fabulous* pink and purple that subconsciously influenced my colour-combination choice that day…

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Aaaaaaaaand, The Social Outfit is back at Fairfield High School, this time also working with parents. Hooray! Meet four of the women Emma and I are working with on our second sewing project:

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These women are already accomplished at machine sewing, and so we’re very excited about what we can produce together over the coming weeks. We had a great first session together on Wednesday: getting to know each other, learning English terms for garment production, and I’m slowly being taught some Arabic phrases. Fun times!

And given we’re so pleased to be back at Fairfield High School, of course I was wearing something from our Colour Chameleon project to celebrate…

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Tell: Glasses from op shop, handmade beaded necklaces, Katies shirt from op shop, fluro singlet from op shop, Oroton belt from op shop, TS dress, ‘The Social Outfit loves Nina Maya‘ leggings for Colour Chameleon, retail socks and Fluevog boots.

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Then this was me yesterday, when I met up with my Vice-Chair, David Hardie and we continued final preparations for The Social Outfit as this year comes to a close. Things are slowing down after what has been a very *exciting* and busy year; but we’re not quite finished up yet… and here’s hoping there’s still more *good* news to come before the business-end of 2013. xo

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Tell: Handmade earrings and necklace, Saba cardigan, vintage dress as top, Dragstar denim skirt, belt borrowed from the Hawaiian First Officer, retail tights, Happy Socks, Fluevog shoes from Sole Devotion. Tatty Devine hand and cockatoo ring.

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ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Twenty-Five

Show: Have you seen our short film of The Social Outfit‘s recent ‘Colour Chameleon‘ project? As I’ve been saying to people, I’m so pleased it captures the positive spirit and creativity in the room that night. And what a *wonderful* example of people coming together to celebrate the skills and styles of diverse communities here in Sydney …

The Social Outfit’s Colour Chameleon from The Social Outfit on Vimeo.

I also realised I could probably find an image or two that better shows off the *ace* fabric-combination skirt Emma-Kate made for me of all the designer’s work; from top to bottom: Ken Done, Linda Jackson, Dragstar (Celia Morris) and Nina Maya.

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Tell: Glasses from op shop, re-purposed earrings from Shag Melbourne, Tatty Devine necklace, singlet from op shop, The Social Outfit ‘Colour Chameleon’ skirt, Spin Dance petticoat, Jonathan Aston tights, Fluevog boots, 1980s gold bag from op shop. And below, also wearing my own Carla Zampatti silk jacket to pay respects to our Guest of Honour at ‘Colour Chameleon’.

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From left to right: me, Oboya, Mogahid and Opia. These young people are part of the *amazing* Afro Contemporary Youth Dance group. (I’m also so pleased that we had make-up provided by students at the Australasian College Broadway. So fun!)

Here also, our earlier short-film from our project at Fairfield High School. We start stage-two of this project next week, and will also now work with parents at the school. I’m so pleased too because many of the young people involved in stage one are staying on to gain more sewing skills, and learn more about the Australian fashion industry…

The Social Outfit and Fairfield High School Fashion Project from The Social Outfit on Vimeo.

And here is me from Thursday this week. I spent the day out meeting talented people as we continue community-building and refining our work. Essentially this outfit for me was about celebrating my new-vintage 1980s Jimmy Pike ‘Desert Designs‘ cropped t-shirt. Another piece added to my *love*-collection of 1980s Australian designers; and I’m particularly pleased about the inclusion of Pike’s fashion to help represent and celebrate the *fantastic* design elements of Aboriginal artwork, as Jimmy Pike was a Walmatjarri artist from Western Australia.

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Tell: Handmade earrings and necklace, Tatty Devine necklace, Jimmy Pike ‘Desert Designs‘ vintage crop t-shirt, The Social Studio silk dress gifted by Jo, TS dress underneath, vintage belt from the UK, retail tights, Happy Socks, Fluevog sandals.

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ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Twenty-Three

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Show: The Social Outfit loves all these designers! And all the young people who volunteered at ‘Colour Chameleon’! And The Social Studio! And everyone who supported us, and came along to have fun on the night! … As you might tell by all the exclamation points, I *absolutely* loved our experience with Colour Chameleon on Friday 18 October 2013. A night to remember! What an evening we had at ‘5 Eliza’ in Newtown, Sydney. Here’s a small selection of just how much *talent*, *creativity* and *passion* was on show…

Below are some of our volunteer models showcasing the ‘Colour Chameleon’ fashion; many of these young people are also dancers with the Afro Contemporary Youth Dance group, who did a great musical performance at our event too…

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Photo by Mark Sherborne.

Representing Fairfield High School, here we can see the senior hospitality students and teachers, and Haitham Jaju (on right) who coordinates the Parents’ Cafe, which provided delicious catering on the night…

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Photo by Mark Sherborne.

Gasp! So many of my own fashion and designer *inspirations*… Linda Jackson, Ken Done, Celia Morris from Dragstar and Nina Maya. I had such a happy smile on my face all night, thanks to the effort and dedication of everyone involved!

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Photo by Mark Sherborne.

Carla Zampatti was our Guest of Honour and she spoke about creativity, design and fashion as avenues to work collaboratively and cross-culturally.

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Photo by Mark Sherborne.

You can see more photos from the event at The Social Outfit’s website here: http://thesocialoutfit.org/?p=308

It was a magnificent time, and the culmination of many people’s hard work. xo

For me, however, there wasn’t much time for rest and respite… because on the Sunday after the event I was off to the Nexus Australian Youth Summit conference. As you can tell, I was still wearing my smile, and now I also could show-off some of the ‘Colour Chameleon’ designs myself…

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Tell: Ken Done glasses, Tatty Devine earrings, beaded necklace gifted from my Grandmother, The Social Studio silk dress, ‘The Social Outfit loves Nina Maya’ silk scarf and leggings from our ‘Colour Chameleon’ project, Trippen shoes from Berlin, vintage Oroton purse from op shop.

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On Monday the conference continued, as did my ‘Colour Chameleon’ fashion inspiration…

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Tell: Glasses from op shop, handmade earrings, Tatty Devine ‘giant zipper’, ‘The Social Outfit loves Linda Jackson’ silk dress and leggings, retail socks, Fluevog shoes.

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I spent the rest of the week with my head down, back at my kitchen table with important funding applications.

Right now, I feel like I’m *almost* caught-up again on all our work… almost…

But one thing is very clear; I’m *loving* building The Social Outfit here in Sydney with everyone involved, and fingers crossed that every day we’re getting closer and closer to setting up our store, school and community space in this fine, fabulous city… xo

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