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Fashion Show with a Social Enterprise Twist


20 May 2010 at 1:44 pm
Staff Reporter
Young refugee fashion designers hit the catwalk in a unique social enterprise


Staff Reporter | 20 May 2010 at 1:44 pm


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Fashion Show with a Social Enterprise Twist
20 May 2010 at 1:44 pm

 

Above: Grace McQuilten in front of The Social Studio's Smith St store

The styles and skills of Melbourne's young refugee community are set to be put on show, as a unique social enterprise, The Social Studio, prepares to unveil its Winter '10 collection.

The Social Studio is a social enterprise where clothing is created from the styles and skills of the young refugee community. Recycled and excess manufacturing materials are gathered from local industry and re-configured into original clothing.

The Social Studio hopes to empower young people through social enterprise, according to founder and CEO, Grace McQuilten.

McQuilten says the Social Studio addresses the barriers of unemployment, isolation and difficulties accessing education and training faced by refugees and migrants, by creating jobs, providing education, encouraging community engagement and social inclusion.

The Social Studio launched in 2009 and currently has 30 students developing their skills in clothing production, retail and hospitality through the Smith St fashion house and café.

The next phase of the Social Studio hits the streets of Melbourne in July as part of the State of Design festival. Two mobile shopping carts, designed by the RMIT School of Industrial Design, will be selling The Social Studio’s clothing around the city.

McQuilten says the carts are a great way to get the products out into the community, to create awareness of the brand and the program, and to create opportunities for one-on-one encounters between the young refugees and the wider community. Importantly, McQuilten says each new mobile cart creates a new retail job.

McQuilten says the time is right for Social Enterprise in Melbourne, as Corporates look to maximise the social outcomes of business, and as Not for Profits look to new and innovative models. She says a major reason for the growth of social enterprise is the Rudd Government’s investment in Social Enterprise through the Jobs Fund.

However McQuilten warns against getting carried away – she says as social entrepreneurs develop more untested and unproven ideas and business models, they can expect to see as many failures as successes.

The Social Studio Fashion Show is part of the RISE (Refugees, Survivors & Ex-Detainees) Festival to be held on May 23rd at Federation Square. The Fashion Show is set to kickoff at 3pm.

The RISE launch event will be hosted by comedians Aamer Rahman and Nazeem Hussain (FEAR OF A BROWN PLANET), and will feature singers, musicians, comedians, break dancing DJs, fashions and more.

RISE aspires to address issues of social isolation, identity and inequity by creating a safe place for young people and practicing social inclusion, trust, generosity and respect.

For more information go to: www.thesocialstudio.org



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