ShowTellShare One Hundred and Ninety-Six

Show/Share: I wanted to share with you some more of the creative-based work from people involved in our second-day workshop at the Asylum Seekers Centre, last week

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As you can see, one woman made this *artisan* purse. It has both handmade elements (like the flowers and the ribbon strap), as well as being fully lined and assembled from her skills on the sewing machine. The fabric used is both eco-dyed cloth from our workshops down at The Rocks, as well as fabric remnants.

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And here is a fabric necklace made by another workshop participant. You can see the same use of the hand-sewn flower-making technique. Artist Nicole taught us the skill of taking fabric and twisting it into these chains. The result is a super strong, and quite unique chain, I think. Plus, it’s low cost as you can use fabric scraps. I love it!

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Thanks again to everyone involved at the Asylum Seekers Centre, especially Anna and Sandy, for welcoming us and giving us the opportunity to work together.

Speaking of working together, here’s me heading out to meetings on Wednesday this week. Thanks to The Social Outfit Pilot and the way it connected us to both ongoing supporters and new people, we have some new leads to follow-up on, and more professional people to talk with about our development here in Sydney.

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Tell: Vintage Versace shirt from op shop, The Social Studio felt jacket, Saba belt, vintage skirt from op shop, retail tights, sample Lacoste boots from outlet.

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And finally, our May The Social Outfit newsletter that showcases some of our recent *good* news… (If you click on the image itself, it will make it larger, and easier to read)…

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ShowTellShare One Hundred and Ninety-Four

Well the *good* news is things haven’t slowed down since we finished up with our Pilot; with more opportunities to meet people, hear ideas and think about The Social Outfit‘s next steps…

Recently I went to Auburn and met with some lovely people from the Australian Afghan Hassanian Youth Association (AAHYA), and then on Monday this week I met with a group of very welcoming women from Al Btool Inc, an Iraqi Muslim support group, in Bankstown. They hosted me, sharing their amazing home-cooked food, and we talked about The Social Outfit. Many of the women shared their sewing experience, as well as their love of colour, fashion, and making clothing. This week I’ve also been out to Fairfield High School, which has both an Intensive English Centre for newly arrived migrants, and also has a very high number of students from refugee communities. We’re developing some exciting ideas, especially when knowing how many young people positively respond to creativity and fashion.

Then yesterday, Nicole and I started another fashion workshop at the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown.

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The Asylum Seekers Centre has recently moved, so it was really lovely to be in a large, light-filled room working creatively with many interested people. We had women and men of all ages involved in making gifts and fashion pieces for their loved ones, or themselves.

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You may have noticed that when doing some workshops we don’t have photos or names of people involved. This is something we’re unable to do, so instead I try and capture the feeling of involvement, community and learning…

One young man, who has been involved in all our workshops, and is very keen on fashion, used a sewing machine for the first time. His stitching skills were amazing! He took to it like a natural…

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I love that he has been involved in every step of making these scarves; from hand eco-dyeing them in our Rocks pop-up space, to then sewing them together here in Newtown. We’re so pleased to be working collaboratively with the Asylum Seekers Centre, their wonderful staff and clients, who’ve all made us feel so welcome.

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I also finished up my university research work this week. As you know, thanks to the Vodafone Foundation ‘World of Difference’ program I can now go full-time on setting up The Social Outfit. Working at the University of New South Wales this past year has been amazing for further developing my research skills; and many of my colleagues have been really interested in The Social Outfit work too. Special mention goes to my manager, Kath Albury, who is a huge supporter of what we’re trying to achieve. She was brilliant to work with. And so here’s me and my colleague Paul – who has volunteered for The Social Outfit, especially for our November 2012 event – on my last day… And seeing as we both research media cultures, a dodgy, fun ‘selfie’ seemed appropriate:

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I’ll be back to show/tell/sharing full fashion outfit posts soon too… xo

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ShowTellShare One Hundred and Ninety-One

Show: A collection of images and anecdotes from The Social Outfit Pilot…

Susan is doing some paid work experience with us at the pop-up shop at The Rocks as a part of our City of Sydney Community Grants… It’s *lovely* to have you involved, Susan. We hope you’re enjoying yourself and learning some new skills too!

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Oboya also came down to The Rocks today to pay us a visit and hear more about our development. It’s wonderful to have our volunteer models from our November runway event keen to stay involved and very supportive of The Social Outfit‘s plans in Sydney… You *rock*, Oboya!

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This is Shannon from ING Direct. Some recent, VERY *exciting* news is that ING Direct have provided us with a grant to support our ongoing work and full business plan. Thanks ever so much! We’re very pleased to have some incredibly supportive philanthropic funding as we begin our set up here in Sydney. Shannon and I had a wonderful time together; she’s so nice and interested in our work!

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Here’s the talented artist, Nicole Barakat, who taught our second workshop series on eco-dyeing. And doesn’t she look so *splendid* in her The Social Studio necklace she purchased from our store?! Nicole is also going to teach another creative workshop series for us in mid-May, as part of a collaborative partnership with the Asylum Seeker’s Centre in Newtown. Hooray for the celebration of ethical art skills!

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Here’s a participant at work with the eco-dyeing last week…

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And some of the amazing, detailed, and highly-skilled work from a young man who took part in all the workshop days. He really enjoyed himself and we loved having interested people involved!

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This is me decked out in The Social Studio from last Wednesday when I started getting sick…

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And here I am, today (and a week later), finally on the improve. You can tell I’m getting better because I’m wearing *double-denim* AND The Social Studio… <3

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What can I say? I simply *love* being around the gorgeous The Social Studio stock, and working hard with people to make The Social Outfit a reality in Sydney. Together, I reckon we can do this really well!

So if you haven’t had to a chance to pop by, but are interested in seeing what’s happening, then *please* come down to The Social Outfit‘s Pop-Up shop this Friday 3 May from 6pm, to say hello, have a glass of sparkling water or wine, and see our little shop, stocked with ethically-accredited clothing from our sisters based in Melbourne, The Social Studio (including some new stock, too!).

Shop 2.03, 140 George Street, The Rocks (the old MCA entrance)… Hope we see you there! xo

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*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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