*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 Seventy

Show: When a gal like me comes back to Melbourne for some family, and The Social Studio, a bit of fashion *sparkle and fun* is in order:

Tell: Glasses from op shop, Tatty Devine necklace, Barry Joseph dress from op shop, leather gloves from Florence, Jonathan Aston tights, Fluevog boots. Vintage Tuahia 1980s leather jacket.

Share: Yes, what you are looking at are long, fingerless, black leather gloves. I kid you not, I’ve been looking for gloves like these for YEARS, and I ended up having to go all the way to Florence, Italy for them. So naturally, they are now *precious* items, which I hope to be wearing well into my eighties…

And because I packed pretty poorly – especially for the Arctic-like Melbourne wind – I got to raid my Step-Mother’s wardrobe for extra warmth. How *lucky* am I that I could borrow this original 1980s leather jacket? I feel like I’m coming off the set of Dynasty… wonderful!

I also popped by The Social Studio to say hello and have lunch with lovely Grace (the CEO). I adore being able to hang out, even if briefly, just to soak up the vibe and general *goodness* of this place. Naturally, I also made sure I did my *ethical duty* and purchased a few choice pieces too!

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Share: The sharing comes first today as I’ve been shortlisted in the top 10 for the Vodafone Foundation World of Difference program, and my interview is tomorrow. Being successful with this grant will allow me to work for a full year on setting up The Social Studio in Sydney. It’s such a great opportunity for us to move forward, so please wish me luck! Eeek! Importantly, a big thanks to David from the Slingsby Foundation and Benny from The School for Social Entrepreneurs for acting as referees for me: having people to support me and The Social Studio is a real energy boost at this early, critical stage.

Now with me looking after my Mum and step-Dad in Melbourne, I’m Skyping in, so the system has been tested today, and looks to work, which is the first relief. Here’s an insight for you into my nervous, and yet excited demeanour as I sat by the computer:

I’m wearing a dress I’ve had for years now, made by the African Women’s Sewing Circle in  Southern NSW… another great example of ethical fashion, locally made:

Show & Tell: And here too, is another great supporter and friend, Scottie. Imagine my *delight* when I ran into him last Tuesday in The Cutting Table quite by accident. We’ve known each other for years and years. Scottie is a photographer, and he’s now working in Collingwood. He tells me he comes into The Cutting Table every day for a banana smoothie. I was so excited, I asked him to send me a photo of him having one, so I could post it up on ShowTellShare. And as you can see, this is what Sydney needs too – happy faces like this:

As he said, “so good I finished it before he got back to the office!” Thanks lovely Scottie for sending me in a photo, and *mostly* for supporting The Social Studio too! xo xo

ShowTellShare Eleven

Share: I’m in Melbourne looking after my Mum who has just had some surgery, so things may be a bit quiet here on ShowTellShare for a week. The good news is Mum’s operation went well, so now I can just concentrate on looking after her. The *SECOND* good news is that, thanks to my trusty friends and supporters, I can still offer you some fashion fun and The Social Studio *goodness* today…

So check out darling Althea, who stopped by The Social Studio and The Cutting Table yesterday:

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Tell: Now that’s what I call a great time: first a bit of quality food in The Cutting Table cafe, and then onto some fabulous Social Studio fashion! I think you’ll agree she looks to be having a pretty pleasant time, indeed! (And even better for you too: the remaining TSS4 clothing collection in stock is now 50% off, so you can pick yourself up a bargain as well.)

Thanks Althea for sharing xo xo