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The Social Studio On Providing A Safe Space Through Fashion

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 7 months ago | Features

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Founded in 2009, The Social Studio is a non-profit striving to create a safe workplace for refugees and new migrant workers. This social enterprise champions diversity, education and sustainable design. They recently manufactured our Again & Again dresses, so we asked Production Manager Luka Rey to tell us more.

WMC: How did The Social Studio start?
Luka: It was founded in Melbourne when a group of community members – led by Dr Grace McQuilten – developed a plan to use fashion as a vehicle for social change within refugee youth communities. A Certificate III training program was established and is now accredited through RMIT university. 10 years on, we have supported over 700 people through our education and training programs. 

Can you tell us about what you do?
We’re a grass-roots not-for-profit, dedicated to creating long-term and rewarding pathways into education and employment for young people from refugee or new migrant backgrounds. Our ethical and sustainable business model uses the vehicle of fashion – including a fashion school, fashion label, ethical clothing manufacturing business, and retail store – to create meaningful social change. 

Can you tell us about working on the Again & Again dresses?
We had fun working on this collection, developing finishing techniques that suit the romantic, light feel of these dresses. We practiced a minimal waste approach to the resources such as fabric and have been collecting any scraps throughout the process to further recycle.

How would you describe your work environment?
We proudly boast 10 years of ECA accreditation and have a tight knit team of skilled makers who work collaboratively. Our work environment encourages one another to support and problem solve as a team, allowing all staff to feel a sense of pride.

Why is it so important to provide this safe space?
We’re supporting and celebrating cultural diversity, opening up perspectives, creating sustainable social development and cohesion, promoting creative industries and cultural entrepreneurship. We aim to create a safe space where refugee communities can come and express themselves, be part of a thriving and supportive community, create lasting connections and invest in life changing opportunities.

And how do you achieve this?
Our model develops work and life skills in a highly motivating context and encourages young people to follow their aspirations and be champions for change. We provide TAFE level training, work experience, volunteer opportunities and employment in fashion, manufacturing and retail, creating imperative education and employment opportunities and pathways. 

Shop the Again & Again dresses here

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