ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Thirty-Six

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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 Twenty-Two

Show: Here’s what hope and generosity from our community of supporters looks like…

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And what came with this gorgeous card of support? Why it was the baby-lock overlocker we recently requested…

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When Emma and I crafted this call-out a few weeks ago, it was with the hope that someone who knew us maybe had a second-hand overlocker in their possession, that they realised they didn’t need anymore, and were happy to re-gift to us. So imagine our *delight* and joy when Joasia called us recently to offer us a brand new overlocker. She’d seen our call out and wanted to help; so with the *fantastic* support of her friends they all pitched in to raise the money needed. We had no idea this was happening until she contacted us, saying, “and how does this Bernette overlocker sound?” I’m so very grateful for this kind of community spirit and belief in what The Social Outfit is trying to build here in Sydney.

Here is Joasia and me together, when she handed over the *amazing* donation on behalf of her friends this weekend…

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So to Tayah, Shawn, Margaret, Dominique, Caterina and Joasia: THANK YOU!! On behalf of all of us at The Social Outfit, we *super* appreciate you coming together to help us out. We also can’t wait to show you what’s possible with this generous help. Hooray!

And I can assure you, we’re hard at work. Below is intern Steph, me and our sewing teacher, Emma working hard on more work, and event preparations last Thursday. On a *balmy* 39-degree-day, Emma and I headed to Fairfield High School to meet with Principal Extra-Ordinnaire, Bob Mulas. We talked through our next possible fashion project with the new-migrant community involved at the school. We’re very excited to keep working with the parents, students and community at Fairfield. In the afternoon Steph joined us in Newtown to do some sewing for our up-coming ‘Colour Chameleon’ event. It’s *great* that even after a busy and hot day, we can still smile and laugh for photos to capture all the work (and thanks heaps Meredith Turnbull, as always, for the loan of your office space, and the great green backdrop: we almost look cool in temperature here)…

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Here’s me earlier in the day, before I was blasted by the Sydney spring-heat. Even on a hot day, I can’t help but layer a little. Otherwise, there’s just not enough colour for my liking!

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Tell: Tatty Devine earrings and necklace, vintage dress from op shop, The Social Studio digital print silk scarf, tights from Japan, Fluevog shoes, Mozi bag from op shop in Fairfield.

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And although you might not be able to tell, inside the ‘Mozi’ bag is an iron and also some digitally printed silk fabric sent up from The Social Studio in Melbourne… turns out at the moment I’m like a mobile factory for The Social Outfit, as we work on some production here for the ‘Colour Chameleon‘ collection, as well as being well-supported by our sister studio in Collingwood, of course. Speaking of which, this coming week is our event, so I best keep organising the plans. I hope we get to celebrate our work so far, plus what’s possible in the future with The Social Outfit! xo

ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Twelve

Show/Share: What a busy week! And, it’s set to be like that for a little while, with many plans and preparations underway at The Social Outfit. So let’s catch you up on this last week, shall we?

On Monday I was invited to speak with participants attending the School for Social Entrepreneurs ‘Accelerator’ Program. It was a lively session in which we discussed leadership style, taking social action and my hopes for The Social Outfit. I really enjoyed meeting the group of 15 people; all leading projects on issues they care about.

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Tell: Earrings from op shop, handmade jacket from op shop, The Social Studio silk dress, Katies skirt from op shop, retail tights and socks, Fluevog shoes from Sole Devotion. Robot necklace from Young Blood market.

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On Tuesday I had some important meetings, about a project The Social Outfit will be announcing very soon. I can’t wait to tell you all about this, and it won’t be long until I can share all the fun; I promise!

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Tell: Country Road jacket from op shop, vintage Ken Done shirt, The Social Studio silk scarf, Uniqlo leggings, Fluevog boots.

Then on Thursday it was back to Fairfield High School for our second session in our fashion workshop series. Emma and I were lucky enough to have Australian Fashion Designer, and The Social Outfit Board member, Nina Maya along for the day. The students really loved meeting Nina, seeing her beautiful clothes and hearing all about her own fashion story:

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Nina also showed us about draping as a fashion technique. What’s great about draping is that it is easy to have a go, and really, there are no mistakes. We’re using fabric that’s been donated by Celia at Dragstar; it’s just a plain cotton perfect to explore different draping methods with, as you can see…

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Here’s what the students came up with after working with Nina. They took to the workshop with absolute *gusto* and loved making shapes that look elegant. It’s harder to see, but the third mannequin from the left is actually about draping on men’s pants, and men’s hats and scarves. We had a great time together, and Emma and I can’t wait to continue working with the young people. Thanks for being involved too, Nina! xo

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Here’s what I wore on Thursday, including wearing an eco-dyed scarf from our pilot project earlier this year.

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Tell: Handmade earrings, Uniqlo skivvy, eco-dyed silk scarf from The Social Outfit pilot project, top from op shop, Estilio leather belt, vintage skirt from op shop, Spin Dance petticoat, retail tights, Fluevog shoes.

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And on to Saturday. Thanks to some volunteer *brilliance* I worked on The Social Outfit‘s upcoming event we’re heading towards in October. Long-term supporter Meredith Turnbull lent us her office space to work from in Newtown, and David Moutou helped me with planning out the event in detail. This is what David and I looked like after hours of strategising and thinking: all *wide eyed* with good ideas and a very full to-do list!

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A *BIG* second thanks to Meredith who also attended on our behalf, the recent ‘National Forum on Children and Young People from Refugee Backgrounds‘ conference, hosted by MYAN and the Sydney University Law School. A fantastic learning opportunity for us.

… Oh, and this is what I looked like earlier on Saturday morning, wandering the Inner West back streets, with colour and *fun* in my step…

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Tell: Handmade earrings, The Social Studio silk scarf, handmade necklace, Ken Done 1980s vintage jacket, vintage ‘Ghita Philip Paris’ top from op shop (check out in the photo below the 1980s women’s profile and sequin beading. *GOLD*!), Sportgirl skirt from op shop, retail tights, Happy Socks, Fluevog shoes.

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And now, it’s already Monday all over again… so best get moving on all the activities of this week. See you round! xo

ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Three

Show/Share: This Saturday night some of us from The Social Outfit group went out to thank our volunteers, Chloe and Kit for all their help and support. Volunteers For the Win! Below is Chloe, me and Michael, who is the owner of the *fantastic* Vietnamese restaurant in Marrickville, Bau Truong. He is also a supporter and friend to The Social Outfit. We had an amazing night of laughs and fun at Bau Truong. Michael is a truly gracious host and the food there is divine.

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Below, from left: Darren, me, Meredith, Sarah, Antonia, Chloe, Stu and David.

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Here’s also some dressing detail…

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Tell: Anna Davern earrings, The Social Studio silk scarf, Uniqlo skivvy from Japan, velvet top from op shop, handmade necklace, family brooch, The Social Studio silk scarf, Lacoste boots. Oroton bag from op shop.

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On Friday last week I caught up with my mentor and ally, Paul Bide. He always has a *good* bit of advice and encouragement for our start-up plans. I also met with friend and designer, Wanyika. She’s just come back from Kenya with some fantastic fashions and ideas.

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This was Friday’s outfit:

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Tell: Handmade earrings, Uniqlo skivvy from Japan, The Social Studio kimono dress, scarf gifted by Susan, Black Milk leggings, Trippen shoes from Berlin outlet.

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Hoping you’ve had a lovely weekend too 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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*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 Twenty-One

Show/Share: What a busy week, including catching up with members of the Sydney Outfit last night for a meeting:

L-R: David Hardie, Meredith Turnbull, Antonia Ruffell, and David Ajak Ajang. Grace McQuilten called in from Melbourne, and I got to catch up with Sarah Chisholm earlier in the day. It takes a team!

As well as having a meeting with the Sydney Outfit to continue with our business planning, I also met again with The Social Outfit’s own volunteer, Chloe Wilson. I’m so *excited* that I have some more hands-on help with our growing work.

Plus, another couple of meetings with professionals in the Not For Profit and fundraising sectors: seeking strategic advice as we put together our best model for having a version of The Social Studio here in Sydney. We’ve got to get it right, and that takes time.

And all this work undertaken on a 30 degree day, with me wearing socks, sandals and of course, The Social Studio!

Some lovely detail from my op-shopped Fiorucci vest:

Tell: Glasses from op shop, earrings gifted from Jenni, Tatty Devine necklace, vintage Fiorucci vest from op shop, The Social Studio silk dress gifted from Jo, stockings from Japan, Camper Sandals.

And just another quick sneak of an outfit earlier in the week, from Tuesday, because my nephew gave me the silver bracelet (which can also be worn as a necklace). Bless his ability to already spot *fun fashion* for his aunty at 8 years old! xo

Tell: Glasses from Japan, Norman Hartwell dress from op shop, Sportscraft belt, Fluevog boots.

 

ShowTellShare Ninety-Eight

Show/Share: Each day, celebrating another step ahead… Today’s big news is that we now legally exist, for *real*! That means The Social Outfit is registered as a Not-For-Profit organisation in NSW. Next stop, getting charitable status! We’re a sister organisation to The Social Studio, and we have exactly the same purpose: to provide education and employment opportunities to people from refugee communities, and to celebrate young refugee’s talent and creativity…

A *BIG* thanks to Meredith Turnbull for handling the process of our incorporation; so lovely to have a seasoned professional in both Not-For-Profits and social enterprise overseeing that all the paperwork is in tip-top-order! xo

Now to find out more, check out our latest news, in my favourite format, A Comic Newsletter:

And you know me, I always do *love* some comic book creativity xo xo…

Tell: Earrings from US, Diane Freis 1980s shirt, Tatty Devine necklace, Saba belt, Miss Shop dress from op shop, Black Milk ‘The Woman in Red’ leggings, Fluevogs.