ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Fifteen

Show/Share: Welcome to our newest volunteer, Mathura Sinnappurajar! Here’s her own *lovely* introduction:

Hi everyone! Just to fill you in on a little about me. I have just moved to Sydney to start my postgraduate study at Macquarie University. I was raised in Canberra, and spent a few years living in Papua New Guinea with my family. I tried out a few different courses at university before deciding that I wanted to do a Bachelor of Arts degree. I chose a particular combination of majors as I am interested in supporting the humanitarian and human rights issues related to refugees. I have been lucky enough to travel overseas and teach English in South Africa and Turkey, and have also had the opportunity to assist a teacher at a school in Sri Lanka. I am excited to work with Jackie and the wonderful team at The Social Outfit!

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We’re so very pleased to have Mathura join our growing team of supporters. And already she’s joining in and helping me with funding applications and planning for upcoming events.

Now, for something a bit different, last week’s outfits… backwards. Here’s me on Sunday, on a warm Sydney afternoon, heading out to meet up with friends. This vintage dress was just one of my *gold* finds at the NIDA hosted, costume market stall, as part of a WEFT-shop fundraiser, held on Monday last week. Raising money for a fabulous fashion social enterprise, and old costumes: I was in my element!

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Tell: Handmade earrings and necklace, brooch from op shop, gifted shrug, vintage dress from NIDA / WEFT-shop fundraiser, Jenny Kee vintage bag found in an op shop in Penrith, vintage bracelets from second hand store, Fluevog boots.

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This was Thursday, sporting vintage Hawaiian and denim for our fifth Fairfield High School fashion workshop.

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Tell: gifted earrings, Uniqlo skivvy from Japan, Hawaiian shirt (Magnum’s infamous junglebird design, to be precise) gifted by the Hawaiian First Officer, The Social Studio singlet, Dragstar denim skirt, Spin Dance petticoat, boots from op shop.

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And last but not least, back to last Tuesday, when I met with Rachael, Sascha and Alyssa from Vodafone, and they helped me develop some communications frameworks for The Social Outfit. They were super supportive of our work! And then I met with Mathura for our first working day together. So you see, if you start at the beginning, or the end, my time is always about working together with *good* people, all in the hope of moving The Social Outfit forwards! xo

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Tell: The Social Studio silk scarf, kitten brooch from Japan, cardigan from op shop, Uniqlo skivvy from Japan, vintage Sportscraft tartan wool skirt from NIDA / WEFT-shop fundraiser, retail tights and socks, Fluevog shoes.

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ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Fourteen

Show/Share: Another week to catch you up on, and I wanted to start particularly with this lovely photo:

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Check out some of the young people at our Fairfield High School fashion project, hard at work on the sewing machines. To think that they’d never been on machines before, and just four sessions later here they are: super keen to learn, to have a go, and already sewing their own garments! This project is really such a pleasure: the young people are really engaged and fun, and working with Emma from WEFT shop is fantastic learning for us all. But before I tell you more about Fairfield, let’s start back at Wednesday…

This was me on Wednesday last week when The Social Outfit was invited to the launch of the Marrickville Community Fund in the evening. Given that we’d love to set up shop in the Newtown/Enmore area longer-term (thus next to, or in, the Marrickville LGA), we loved being invited to this new fundraising initiative of the Sydney Community Foundation. We wish them all the best with their fund, and the projects they are looking to support. You can read more about them here.

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Tell: Tatty Devine earrings, ‘Viva La Wombat‘ scarf from op shop, handmade necklaces, The Social Studio silk kimono dress, Saba belt, Black Milk leggings, Fluevog boots.

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Then of course on Thursday Emma and I were back at Fairfield High School working with the great bunch of young people who signed up for our project. Here’s Emma as we were on the public transport routes; she had a great *vintage flight attendant fashion vibe* happening that day…

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Clearly there was also a subconscious memo to us both about blazers, and some sort of ‘semi professional’ fashion approach…

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Tell: Lafont glasses, handmade earrings, vintage brooch from op shop, Carla Zampatti silk jacket, The Social Studio shirt, Katies skirt from op shop, retail tights and socks, Fluevog boots.

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Here’s another image from our day on Thursday, in the classroom: showing both patten cutting and also some of our plaiting preparatory work.

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On Thursday night I popped down to Dragstar in Newtown as they were launching their new website. Celia Morris, the founder and owner of Dragstar is lovely, and she’s been an absolute supporter of The Social Outfit from the word go. So of course I wanted to personally congratulate her, her team, and the whole of the Dragstar label on their ongoing success. Just imagine in the future if The Social Outfit could be a fashion store with a 20+ year history too…

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Next up on Friday I had the pleasure of welcoming a new volunteer to The Social Outfit group. I’ll give you the full update on her soon, but in the meantime, please meet Mathura Sinnappurajar. We’re so very pleased to have you involved, Mathura!

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Friday’s outfit was one of those times where the ‘look’ kind of made itself as I went along; I just kept trying to add more yellow and blue, then more blue and yellow… until I ended up looking like a 1980s real estate agent? Bank Teller? Whatever it is, those *high* jacket shoulder pads were pretty fun!

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Tell: Ken Done vintage glasses, handmade earrings and necklaces, ‘Skirtmaster Sydney’ jacket from op shop, ‘Back to the Future‘ vintage brooch (that still has the Hawaiian First Officer’s full name and address on it from the 1980s! Prized possession!), Dragstar silk shirt, Uniqlo skivvy from Japan, vintage belt from the UK, Anthea Crawford skirt from op shop, The Social Studio digital print leggings, Happy Socks and Fluevog boots.

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Then on Friday evening I was treated by my friend Althea to my first ever manicure; we went to this fantastic Korean nail place in Strathfield. The shop has this huge TV screen playing K-pop the whole time. Naturally, in celebration, I had a *touch* of sparkles added to my ‘nail art’! Here’s me and my nails out for lunch on Saturday with friends…

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Tell: Glasses from op shop, earrings from op shop, handmade necklaces, Anthea Crawford dress gifted by Susan, Saba top, Estilo belt, Review skirt, Spin Dance petticoat, retail tights, Happy Socks, Fluevog sandals.

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And finally, I found this bag in an op shop in Mornington a few months ago. I loved the fun design with the crest, and handle, but what really sold me was the label inside. It reads: “It’s Sheldon with the Lucky Cent. N.S.W’, and there’s the *lucky* Australian one cent coin in its own little pocket. Classic! So let me finish here with many *LUCKY* wishes to us all for this week ahead! xo xo

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ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Thirteen

Show/Share: While I’m running the Fairfield High School fashion project with Emma, as well as organising some other *fun* projects The Social Outfit is working on; updates here may have to move to a longer weekly catch up. Still, you’ll get all the news and a *bunch* of outfits all in one go!

This is me on Tuesday last week. I met with a potential volunteer with The Social Outfit, and also caught up with my Vice Chair, David Hardie, to keep progressing our work. Just shows how much we rely on a group of supporters to get our work done. I’m so grateful too, when people show an interest in helping us out.

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Tell: Hat from Melbourne, earrings from op shop, handmade beads, ‘Sherby Fashion’ shirt from op shop, ‘Stephanie Ricaldi, Made in England’ vintage jacket gifted from Jessica, Sportscraft belt, The Social Studio silk dress gifted from Jo, retail tights, Happy Socks, Fluevog shoes from Sole Devotion.

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Then this is me on Thursday when the Vodafone Foundation team, and the other ‘World of Difference‘ participants came out to Fairfield High School for the day. The school was amazing as a host, and we even had our lunch catered by the school’s ‘Parents Cafe’ (a new social enterprise catering service). Fantastic food!

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Tell: Tatty Devine earrings, Vodafone scarf, Uniqlo top from Japan, The Social Studio dress, Saba belt, Fletcher Jones skirt, retail tights and socks, Fluevog shoes.

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Everyone from the Vodafone Foundation group came to meet the young people involved in our fashion workshop, and we shared some stories together. Plus, there was a film crew on site too; so even though I don’t have a heap of pictures to share just yet, many will be coming. I did manage to get a couple of photos of us as a group cutting out patterns, and researching fashion online.

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Below is the Vodafone Foundation ‘World of Difference’ team for this year. We got to welcome Kat Armstrong from the ‘Women in Prison Advocacy Network’ (WIPAN). Many of my own friends have been long-term supporters of Kat and WIPAN, so it was *brilliant* to meet with her in person and begin to work together. Then, of course, there are also the other two delightful members, Juliette from Givit, and Loren from Missing Person’s Advocacy Network (MPAN). Loren just recently filmed an information clip for Missing Person’s Week with Australian icon and actor, Debra Mailman. You can read more about everyone’s work and hopes for this year, here.

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There was more filming on Friday as well, so I wore my slightly re-mixed Vodafone shirt for the day. (Surprise, surprise, I’m not really a t-shirt kind a gal!) I’m actually feeling pretty shy about when the videos go public: it’s one thing for me to take my own photo a lot, but quite another when you’re recorded live with lots of talking and opinions. I hope I just make sense! Plus, I hope I can convey how much I want The Social Outfit to be a success.

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Tell: Glasses from Japan, handmade earrings, Tatty Devine ‘giant squid’ necklace, Slade cardigan from op shop, Vodafone Foundation t-shirt, Sportscraft belt, vintage Diane Freis shirt, The Social Studio silk dress, Birthday Suit leggings, retail socks, Fluevog boots.

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There was more work on Saturday too, so by the time it got to Sunday this last weekend, I just wanted to chill out, see some friends and enjoy this warm Sydney weather. And nothing says ‘Sunday Relaxing’ to me quite like a high-waisted denim skirt! I hope you had a *great* weekend too. xo

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Tell: Handmade earrings, handmade necklaces, silver necklace from op shop, ‘Leesa’ shirt from op shop, American Apparel top, The Social Studio belt, ‘Paris Blues’ denim skirt from op shop, cotton petticoat from op shop, retail tights and socks, Fluevog boots. Jenny Kee vinatge bag.

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ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Six

Show/Share: Phew, things are busy! Sorry for the delay in posting this week, but it’s been one of those times when I’ve either been in meetings, or head-down on paperwork. It all really started from last Saturday when The Social Outfit Committee of Management met for a planning meeting. We had a great working day, agreeing as a group on a working plan for the next 12 months (coinciding with my funded year as part of the Vodafone Foundation ‘World of Difference’ program). It’s *action-stations* for us all!

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Below is me on Thursday when I met with our *great* supporter, Shannon Carruth from ING Direct, who is helping us with financial planning. Also, do you happen to notice my new The Social Studio digital print silk scarf? Designed by students accessing our Collingwood sister studio, young people use their creative skills to also learn about computer literacy. Genius. I love this pattern and style so much!

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Tell: Handmade earrings, Uniqlo skivvy from Japan, Miss Shop dress from op shop, The Social Studio ‘Eva’ silk digital print scarf, vintage beads, skirt from op shop, stockings from Japan, retail socks and Fluevog shoes.

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I also wanted to share with you what has become *quite a thing* of late: to drop into The Social Studio when visiting Melbourne, get your picture taken, and then send it to me! I love it! And *naturally* people always have such supportive and great things to say about The Social Studio. Many people comment on it being creative and inspiring; encouraging us to keep working on our Sydney version. Here’s Alexis from a local supporter cafe, Scrambled, showing how happy she is to see our sister studio in person. She bought a summer dress and says she’ll share the photo soon…

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And of course, Vice-Chair David Hardie is always happy to pose and show his support! Apparently that blue/grey t-shirt looked great on him and he went home a happy customer too. xo

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Then on Thursday night I got to do another favourite thing of mine which is to talk about comics. I’m a proud comics nerd; studying it as a part of my university degree. I was part of a panel event, so naturally wanted to wear some ‘comix’ for the night. It was great fun!

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Tell: Ken Done glasses, handmade earrings, Tatty Devine necklace, ‘Romeo Pour Juliette’ 1980s jacket from op shop, skivvy from op shop, Badsville ‘vintage horror comix’ skirt as top, Kmart skirt, Badsville ‘vintage horror comix’ leggings, Fluevog boots.

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And then off on a date last night to celebrate a busy, and great working week….

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Tell: Wa-Nyika earrings, handmade necklaces, ‘Claire Pain Paris‘ brooch, vintage Hawaiian dress from US second-hand store, recycled stockings as gloves, Estillo belt, retail tights and socks, Fluevog sandals, vintage Linda Jackson bag.

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And that pretty much gets you up to speed; until of course I have more news and fun to share about next week. Until then, hope you’re all grand! xo

ShowTellShare Two Hundred and Five

Show/Share: This is us saying goodbye to Kit, who heads back to the UK this weekend. We were joined by Kit’s sister Becky, who has been here for the past few weeks on holiday. Even though we’re all smiles here, The Social Outfit will miss all of Kit’s hard work and *go get ’em attitude* very much. Safe onward journey lovely ladies …

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Below is some of what Kit wrote about her experience being involved with The Social Outfit:

I have learnt a great deal while working with The Social Outfit, and I feel it has made my experience in Australia what it has been. I have gained more self-assurance … I now feel passionate about working closely with the coming together of communities, and believe this is a skill I would like to use in my career in the future. 

We’ll miss you, Kit. Thank You! xo

And this is me yesterday, looking *quite* a bit like a 1980s bank teller, or maybe flight attendant… Although actually what I was doing was meeting with some very warm and welcoming staff at the Red Cross, Migration Support Programs in Sydney city, as well as with the Metro Migrant Resource Centre in Campsie. The meetings went very well, and I’m so pleased to be talking with people who are interested in collaborating, and welcoming of what The Social Outfit is hoping to achieve.

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Tell: Handmade earrings, scarf from op shop, Tatty Devine giant zipper necklace, The Social Studio top, ‘Di Bazzato’ vintage men’s shirt from an op shop in Blacktown, Katies skirt from op shop, retail tights, Happy Socks, Fluevog boots. Detail below: vintage Kenzo wool jacket from op shop in Noosa.

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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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ShowTellShare Two Hundred

Show/Share: A bit of work, and a bit of play…

This is me on Tuesday, busy with both in-person and interstate telephone meetings.

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I wanted to especially share with you some recent support The Hornery Institute (THI) have been offering to us at The Social Outfit. Andrew who works there has been super supportive by gathering data which helps us to explain why Newtown is a promising location for setting up our fashion social enterprise. As their own website explains, The Hornery Institute ‘is an independent not for profit organisation dedicated to enhancing the wellbeing of communities.  Our purpose is to help make communities better places to live, learn, work and play…” And like they say, they certainly know their way around ‘place-based solutions’. I’ve got to say, I just *love* it when savvy people can access data and numbers from places like the ABS, and then use their expertise in business to help add to our ‘case for support’. So a big thanks to THI, Andrew, and Kate for getting on board. Also, and especially, thanks to our friend Sandy for introducing us all!

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Tell: Earrings from op shop,The Social Studio shirt, Tatty Devine necklace and TD ‘Gilbert & George’ brooch, Portmans dress from op shop, Katies skirt from op shop, American Apparel tights, Fluevog boots.

And below also are some photos from Sunday night when I went out dancing. Yes, dancing on a Sunday night! Oooh la la…

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Tell: Hat from ‘somewhere a million years ago’, Tatty Devine necklace, ‘Francesca of Damon’ silk shirt from op shop, singlet from op shop, Saba leather belt, Review skirt on sale, Black Milk leggings, Fluevog boots.

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ShowTellShare One Hundred and Ninety-Nine

Show/Share: A bit of colour and fun from the last two days. Yesterday we headed over to the Finders Keepers Markets

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Tell: Earrings from op shop, Tatty Devine necklace, Esprit skivvy from op shop, secondhand cardigan, vintage skirt from the 1950s markets, Spin Dance petticoat, retail tights, Happy Socks, Fluevog boots, ‘Glamourpuss’ bag from Faster Pussycat.

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I particularly wanted to catch up with Emma-Kate and her *fantastic* fashion social enterprise, WEFTshop:

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As explained on their website, “WEFTshop is a not-for-profit organisation committed to supporting refugee women from Burma living on the border with Thailand by developing their skills as textile artisans. The fabrics they make are the key to our work and to the freedom and financial well-being of many of these women and their families.” It was lovely to see their wares in person, especially the colour-combinations and the talent and skill involved…

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Then on Friday I got to catch up with Kirsten, who is volunteering for The Social Outfit on some work. Kirsten and I used to work together at the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and I’m so *chuffed* to have her helping us out! Volunteers really make all the difference to this start-up work. Thanks KR xo

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This is me on Friday, remembering just how *ace* yellow and pink work together…

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Tell: Ken Done glasses, handmade necklace, Uniqlo skivvy from Japan, vintage ‘Jonathan Summers of Sydney’ house-dress from op shop, retail tights, Fluevog loafers from Sole Devotion in Melbourne. Detail: Tatty Devine hand ring.

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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-Three

Show/Tell/Share: We planned, we participated, we produced… Yes, we held a pilot to show “The Social Outfit celebrates the skills and styles of our diverse cultures in Australia” …

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On Friday evening last week we closed the pop-up store, but not before some of our wonderful volunteers, (left to right) Antonia, Kit and Traci, drew out our lucky door prize winner. Oooo, something exciting is coming in the mail for them!

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And on Saturday it was time for us to say goodbye to our The Rocks Pop-up space, and pack up our shop selling so many *great* goodies from The Social Studio. Well worth remembering too that this pilot was made possible in the first place thanks to the support of the City of Sydney Council, Community Grants program.

Packing up the pilot, which really was a display of the *hope* we have to set up full-time in Sydney, wasn’t nearly as fun as setting up… especially peeling off decal letters individually!

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But it’s just ‘bye-bye’ to the pilot, because me and the whole The Social Outfit team plan on working just as hard to take our next steps forward in our development. In fact, we’re holding more fashion-based arts workshops at the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown this week.

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And that’s because, as always, we remain committed to making The Social Outfit an ongoing reality here in NSW. As ever, I just want to keep “doing good in a fashion” and celebrating the skills and talents of people from refugee backgrounds living in greater Sydney… xo

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Poster image copyright belongs to The Social Studio.

ShowTellShare One Hundred and Ninety-Two

Show/Tell/Share: Check out Susan last Saturday doing some live window-modelling of The Social Studio clothing. Amongst other things, Susan is an aspiring modern dancer, so she was also showcasing her contemporary dance moves down at our Pop-Up Pilot at The Rocks

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This dress was so truly suited to Susan’s own style and personality that she happily bought it in support of The Social Studio and The Social Outfit. A beautiful butterfly-inspired-dress for a talented young woman…

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Thanks for working with us, Susan! Here is what she wrote about the experience:

My favourite part of The Social Studio fashion is the mixture of different colours that is so contemporary, with a link to cultural inspiration. Working with The Social Outfit means getting along with everyone, and it meant I felt comfortable and confident.

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Then on Thursday and Friday last week I had my two-day induction as part of the Vodafone Foundation ‘World of Difference’ paid charity leave. Here’s me and two of my *wonderful* fellow WOD’ers – we’ve just finished telling our story for about the tenth time, and to many of the interested staff at Vodafone Headquarters, including the CEO – so no wonder we’re smiling and looking relieved!

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On my left is the *darling* Loren O’Keefe from Missing Persons’ Advocacy Network (Melbourne) and the ‘Dan Come Home’ Campaign. On my right is the *bold and bright* Julliette Wright from Givit (Brisbane). Our fourth buddy, not pictured, is Ian Davis from MND and Me Foundation. Right now Ian is riding the ‘million meters ride’ on a two-person, purpose-built, bike from Brisbane to Sydney. Good luck, Ian! (For more about me and my three fellow participants a good snapshot is here, at Vodafone Foundation ‘World of Difference’.)

Last Friday evening we opened for some late-night shopping and a bit of a community catch up. Here’s just a few fun pics from the night…

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*Thanks* for your joy and hope lovelies pictured here, and others!

And given that we will close our pop-up doors this Friday evening, 10 May 2013, we’re going to have a small last *hoorah* for all the support and love Sydney-siders have shown from 5.30pm. Follow our The Social Outfit Facebook page for updates…

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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