ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Ten

Show/Share: We start our Fairfield High School Fashion Project this week, and I’m feeling equal parts excited and nervous! I’m so pleased we’re able to work with everyone at the school on this project, and I can’t wait to meet the young people, and embark on some *fashion fun* with them… Given all of this, it’s also well about time that you meet the *spectacular* fashion educator The Social Outfit has engaged to do this work with me. Please meet the absolutely lovely, and talented, Emma:

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These photos are actually from over a week ago – when I was in Sydney – and Emma and I held a planning day together. (And just a moment before I share with you Emma’s wealth of experience, please also notice her own finely tuned op-shopping expertise: that vintage green jacket is an amazing find of hers, yes?! Style Queen!)

Here’s what is *good* to know about Emma-Kate Wallace, in her own words:

I am a National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) trained costumier and theatrical tailor with ten years experience in pattern-making, costume construction and craftsmanship.

I use these skills in my current role as co-founder and director of WEFT shop: a Sydney-based incorporated non-profit enterprise working with refugee women artisans on the Thai-Burma border to create contemporary, handmade textile accessories, incorporating traditional techniques such as appliqué and metal beading, for sale in Australia. My work with refugee artisans on the Thai-Burma border began in 2006, and I have now facilitated and taught more than 30 workshops with more than 100 women from a variety of ethnic groups.

My approach to teaching is highly collaborative with a respect and appreciation that we all have skills to share; we just need to create a space that makes this possible. I am also passionate about skills preservation and working with the skills each ethnic group has to offer.

Needless to say, we’re SO excited to have Emma involved in our work. As you already know, I’m a fan of WEFT shop and I think there are so many fabulous possibilities ahead for us! I can’t wait to keep you posted as this project develops.

Now onto some outfits…

IMG_1440Tell: Lafont glasses, The Social Studio silk scarf, vintage silk suit jacket from second hand store in Tasmania, Uniqlo skivvy, dress from op shop, leggings gifted from my Mum from Germany, Fluevog boots.

Here’s also an outfit post from my time in Melbourne this last week. And as you can imagine, there is *always* a certain somewhere I like to visit:

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Now, I’ve been eyeing-off the amazing ‘No Waste’ The Social Studio dresses, since we had some stock in our pop-up pilot project, in The Rocks in April and May. Well, finally, I have one to call all my own… and it’s bronze!

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Tell: Wool hat from Melbourne, earrings from Japan, vintage Linda Jackson silk scarf, Esprit skivvy from op shop, The Social Studio ‘No Waste’ dress, Estillo leather belt, Fluevog boots.

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Please stay tuned too… there’s some very exciting updates coming soon! As I hope you well know, here at ShowTellShare and at The Social Outfit, we’re always working hard to do *good in a fashion* xo

ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Two

Show/Share: So the *exciting* news I have today is that we have another fashion project in progress … Following on from our pilot pop-up project down at The Rocks (and funded by the City of Sydney Council), this time The Social Outfit will be working with young people from refugee communities who are attending Fairfield High School. This project is funded by ING Direct, and we’ll kick it off in Term 3, late July. We’ll be on site at the school one half-day per week for over 8 weeks learning together fashion and design skills with about 15 students.

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Yesterday morning I headed out to south-west Sydney to meet again with some of the fantastic leadership team at Fairfield High School, including the Principal Bob Mulas and the head teacher of the Intensive English Centre, Sonia Durney. (We learnt all about Fairfield High School‘s fabulous work from our long term supporter, Meredith Turnbull, and Board Member Sarah Chisholm and intern Kit Shutt have all helped in our developing relationship). Turns out we’re all super keen to work together, and here’s just a couple of *great* things to know about Fairfield High School:

  • There are over 20 nationalities represented at the school.
  • As well as a being a high school with over 1000 students, this school also has a community hub on site, particularly for parents from newly arrived and refugee communities.
  • The community hub includes a cafe and garden which grows produce from many of the student and family’s countries of origin.
  • The Fairfield High School Parents’ Café provides opportunities for newly arrived refugee parents to engage with the Australian education system and gain more information about available services, community organisations and pathways to training and employment.
  • This school has one of the highest representation of students from refugee communities anywhere in Australia, and they are dedicated to providing opportunities for students attending their school, including those students who undertake the ‘Work Skills’ equivalent to the HSC.

The Social Outfit’s project with Fairfield High School is our chance to keep working directly with young people from refugee backgrounds in fashion-related work. We can work on site at the school, and hopefully celebrate the skills of the young people and their cultural traditions, as well as developing their skills in clothing production and design.

Very soon I’ll be putting a call-out for a fashion-trained educator to help me with this project, so if you know anyone who is qualified, and wants to get paid for *doing good in a fashion*, please help me spread the word!

And here’s today’s outfit as I travelled around from Fairfield, to Sydney city, and beyond…

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Tell: Tatty Devine earrings, handmande necklace, vintage apple brooch from op shop, Uniqlo skivvy from Japan, Laura Ashley dress from Bondi op shop, vintage leather belt, retail tights and socks, Fluevog boots. Detail below also shows The Social Studio felt jacket and brooch from Japan.

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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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