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-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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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 One Hundred and Sixty-Four

Share: I’ve introduced Chloe briefly here before, but today I want to share with you more about her. So let’s start with a *gorgeously* fun photo:

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Chloe has been working with us at The Social Outfit since October last year. She was instrumental in helping us with our November runway event, and she’s simply brilliant to have around. Chloe is that person you have in a team who ‘gets things done’, and sees solutions in tricky times. Here’s a bit more about the professional life of Chloe:

In the UK, Chloe managed a successful pub for over ten years. This involved liaising with the council and police, managing staff, ordering, book keeping, stock control and other myriad tasks. Since coming to Australia in 2003 she has worked as a customer service manager, inventory manager and operations manager for Borders Books and as an inventory control specialist for Apple Retail. In the last couple of years Chloe has gained a Certificate III in Education Support and is currently working as a teachers’ aid for St Brendanʼs School in Annandale. Chloe is also working in a volunteer capacity for The Social Outfit.

As an upbeat and engaged person, Chloe also knows people. Heaps of people. Thanks to her, she’s connected us to some fine folks. Take for example, introducing us to Emma, our pro bono graphic designer who has helped us with some *fantastic* visuals for our ‘Case for Support’ (… she also designed this great photo of Chloe above). Most recently Chloe also connected us with John Spencer, our pro bono financial auditor. John’s professional history is nothing short of immense! We’re so pleased and proud to have him involved:

John Spencer, AM, GCStJ: John has worked as a chartered accountant for over 50 years. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, a Life Fellow of the Local Government Auditors Association of NSW, A Local Government Auditor and an Approved General Insurance Auditor. John has a vast wealth of professional experience, auditing over 25 local councils, as well as many large commercial clients over his career. John has also been a member of the St Johnʼs Ambulance for over 60 years. Starting as a cadet in 1949, he has held many offices, such as the Chief Superintendent of Australia 1986-93 and Director of St John’s Ambulance Australia, 1993 to present day. John commanded the St John involvement in the multi-state response to the 1994 bushfires in and around Sydney, and he also planned the St John involvement in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.  John Spencer has been recognised for his professional work and community commitments with many honours and awards, including Knight of the Order 1990, Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order 2006 and Centenary of Australia Medal and Order of Australia, 2002.

So my ongoing, heartfelt thanks to Chloe for showing The Social Outfit so much support. What a *joy* it is to have you around! xo xo

Show: And here’s me yesterday; feeling the green:

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Tell: Vintage earrings from Shag in Melbourne, handmade earrings, Tatty Devine necklace, handmade necklace, Toucan brooch from Canberra, Zara dress from op shop, Estillo belt gifted, vintage purse from op shop, retail tights and socks, Fluevog shoes.

ShowTellShare One Hundred and Fifty-Eight

Show:
P1030677Tell: Handmade beaded necklace, anchor earrings and necklace from Santa Barbara, ‘Embassy’ vintage dress from secondhand store (also worn here), belt from op shop, retail socks, Fluevog boots.

Share: This is what I wore yesterday. Comfy, with my own touch of *fun*…

What proved most interesting about my day although was that I received two emails from a friend and colleague with possible contacts for The Social Outfit. That is, people I know offering to help me move forward with potential leads, in an effort to raise the money we need to start. I can’t begin to tell you how much this raises my spirits when it happens. Sometimes, when this venture isn’t guaranteed, or all sorted in every practical sense (although we are totally getting there!), I feel quite vulnerable sharing my day-to-day life and hopes. The negative part of my brain says, ‘Who would be interested at all? Just stop trying. This is taking too long…’ Then someone in our growing community makes contact  to say ‘hello’, offer an insight, or share an idea. It makes all the difference.

Which is all to say, it’s *lovely* having YOU as a part of this work, in whatever way you’re involved. Thanks for helping to keep me to my purpose, and to keep me learning and curious. Whatever happens, this experience is real. And if I can ever return the favour, just let me know… xo

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ShowTellShare One Hundred and Fifty-One

I’ve finished up working for 2012, and I’m now looking forward to a well-deserved break.

A SPECTACULAR thanks to you, dearest readers, for being a part of my year; and also part of our *hope* of making The Social Outfit a reality in Sydney in 2013 xo xo

Show: Wednesday’s Outfit:

Tell: Tatty Devine Giant Squid necklace, vintage Moschino men’s shirt found in Newtown op shop (Gold!), Katies skirt from op shop, retail tights and socks, Fluevog boots, *old-skool* television purse gifted by Kath.

Show: Thursday’s Outfits:

Kit rockin’ greens…

Tell: Tatty Devine crown necklace, necklace from op shop, vintage jacket from op shop, Katies dress from op shop, vintage belt from op shop, The Social Studio leggings, Trippen shoes.

ShowTellShare One Hundred and Twenty-Six

Show: If any day feels like a *finance day* it’s a Monday; so I’m off to M.H. Carnegie & Co. to get cracking on our financial modelling options… How I love expert advice!

Tell: Ken Done glasses, Ken Done necklace, aqua beaded necklace from op shop, leotard from Berlin, The Social Studio top, Anthea Crawford skirt from op shop, Sportsgirl stockings gifted by my Mum, Fluevog boots.

Share: And, more generally, a short reflection list entitled, ‘Things I’m learning about myself by trying to maintain a WordPress Blog’:

  1. I have persistence; which I personally think comes from years of honing my skills in searching for *gold* in op-shops! So yesterday I  installed a better subscription service: it’s that *Follow* button on the bottom right hand side (for those already not subscribed), but I had to have a very *serious fight* with my computer for many hours. So boring! By 11pm I finally sorted it, with teeth gritted and a bullish attitude (i.e. “Apple-Option-Esc… I said APPLE-OPTION-ESCAPE!!!”). Phew!
  2. Apparently I don’t Google-search like anyone else in the world does; because I hardly ever find useful links immediately (which sucks when trying to solve problems). This is in stark contrast to The First Hawaiian Officer who literally finds anything needed online in seconds. Pffffh.
  3. I *LOVE* the support and joy of our growing online community here: across the blog, Facebook page and Twitter. Yesterday some of you let me know when the issues were cropping up (and then even still took the time to say nice things to me). So an ONGOING thanks too for your patience, and for coming back here and keeping me company. You rock!

I also had my brother in town again last night, and it was *lovely* getting to see him. How he makes me smile! xo

Tell: Ken Done sunglasses, handmade earrings, gifted scarf from my sister-in-law, vintage Hawaiian top from op shop, Katies shirt from op shop, Levis jeans from US, Linda Jackson bag.

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Show:

Tell: Glasses from Japan, earrings from Shag Melbourne, Uniqlo skivvy, Simona Sport 1980s shirt from C’s Flashback Newtown, Levis jeans from California, Camper boots.

Share: You see this smile? Well, it’s happening for at least two reasons.

The first reason is my ongoing happiness and joy in sharing my blog with you all. You see, I’ve often been nervous and therefore reluctant at times to keep blogging, primarily because this blog doesn’t have the ‘neat’ story that What Ken Be Done had. In many ways, this blog is much more about the day-to-day aspects of my life: my love of recycled clothes and my real wish to see The Social Studio happen in Sydney, despite all the challenges that brings (this isn’t guaranteed at all). So *every single* time you comment – via blog comments, via FaceBook, via Twitter, via email, in person – my heart skips a little beat… your participation helps to remind me just what a community we have here and how much you all mean to me. Really.

The second reason for a smile? Well, I am wearing a second-hand Australian 1980s oversize, high-colour shirt with the collar up. Kind of speaks for itself. xo xo

ShowTellShare Thirty-One

Show:

Tell: Tatty Devine earring, Diane Freis top from Manly op shop (see how it’s the ‘matching’ top of the skirt I made into a dress here in STS16), Levis organic cotton jeans (I gave them the cuffs, I can barely handle jeans), Camper boots.

Share: Just a quick post, as I’m working at my university job today, and need to get cracking. I did want to take a moment however to *THANK YOU* so much for all the lovely comments about my newsletter update. I’m so glad you liked it and you got that it is about me being creative and giving information in a different, fun way. As you know, I really want to see The Social Studio set up in Sydney – and this was my own small way of sharing that hope. So ‘woot, woot!’ for you! And, because the age of commenting can now be across a multitude of social platforms, I just wanted to share with you a couple more encouraging comments from supporters:

“It is a great newsletter. I can’t remember the last time I read a newsletter from top to bottom!”

“Love the newsletter you sent through, very quirky.”

“BEST. NEWSLETTER. EVER. !!!”

There were plenty of wonderful words, and I thank you each and every one. You see, you guys are like my new Tatty Devine earring from eBay; it’s based on a street sign from Japan (we got a photo when we were there last time, see below). By holding my hand, and being a support, you help me do better! OK sure, maybe a bit sappy, but I don’t care!! xo