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The Social Studio Story

The Social Studio is a non-profit social enterprise that champions the values of diversity, community, education, environmentally sustainable design and ethical business practices.

In 2009 a group of community members, local designers and professionals came together in Melbourne with the great idea of using up-cycled fashion as a vehicle for social change. With a lot of community consultation, they developed a business plan and went about the task of raising support. In July 2009 they secured a lease on a small shop-front in Smith Street and by August, training at the Studio commenced. In November, the retail shop opened and the whole project completely launched at Federation Square by December that very same year. Since that time the Social Studio has flourished and is nationally recognized for the incredible work that they do. 

They are dedicated to improving the lives of the refugee and migrant population here in Australia, who often face immense barriers to education and employment opportunities. They provide some of our most vulnerable Australians invaluable training and work experience in fashion, manufacturing, and retail – all in a safe, supported, dignified environment.  They also facilitate a range of projects that provide them with social support including legal advice, counselling, tutoring/informal ESL and numeracy coaching and driving lessons.  This unique enterprise develops work and life skills in a highly motivating context and encourages young people to follow their aspirations.

They now have over 50 students and staff participating in these training programs, and 70+ students have graduated in Certificate II and III in Clothing Production, Retail and Hospitality. Approximately 25+ people have now obtained full time work outside of the Studio, in the areas of clothing manufacturing (with Ethical Clothing Australia accredited labels), retail and hospitality. Another 40+ have obtained work at The Social Studio.

32 years ago, my parents migrated to Australia from a war-torn Sri-Lanka and my amazing sister in-law and her family were refugees.  Both families, like many in their situation faced unimaginable adversities trying to establish a life here and often struggled to make ends meet. My parents gave up all their aspirations and dreams, left behind their loved ones and the only home they ever knew, to brave the unknown and give us the best chance of a better life. Because of all of their sacrifices, I am now able to follow my dreams and have a world of opportunities that they never had. It’s also because of the few people that gave them a chance and believed in them that they now (after lots of hard work over many decades) live a happy, burden-free life – to those people, I will be forever grateful. Being able to support people just like my parents and sister-in-law and to be a part of the solution means the world to me. 

 We’re so delighted to be supporting such life-changing work and helping these incredible humans believe in their abilities and themselves, while making timeless forever pieces for you. And through your simple purchase, YOU are part of the solution too, so thank you in advance.

To learn more about our partner The Social Studio, please visit their website www.thesocialstudio.org

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