The Social Outfit provides employment and training in the fashion industry to people from refugee and new migrant communities. They have a clothing and accessories store on King Street, with a sewing and manufacturing workroom upstairs, so you can shop for a new silk T-shirt or linen jumpsuit and know that the person who made it is directly benefiting from your purchase.
The not-for-profit is accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia, and they collaborate with local fashion designers like Gary Bigeni, Romance Was Born, Kate Beynon and Bianca Spender. You can expect to find shift tops in these fabrics starting from $199, and dresses are $349, and any income generated from their clothing sales goes back into the charity.
They’re also waste conscious, which means they produce clothing in small quantities – so you’re highly unlikely to see anyone wearing the same item at your next party or board meeting.
In fact, most of the designs tell a story of some sort – this year the Social Outfit worked with local artist community Studio A, who champion artists with different abilities. The Lioness print, which was created by artist Annette Galstaun, combines imagery from two of her original paintings and they’re inspired by her love of The Lion King. A fashionable silk scrunchie in this print is $35 and a bandana $89.
Since launching in Newtown five years ago, the Social Outfit has provided employment, training or creative outlets for more than 300 people from the refugee and new migrant community. You can find their collections in store and online, including items by WEFTshop, ethically made by Lahu artisans in Keng Tung, Burma.