Podcast Ep. 36, THE SOCIAL OUTFIT'S JACKIE RUDDOCK, FASHION COMMUNITY
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Our MUSIC is by our friend Montaigne, who sang a special acoustic version of "Because I love You" just for us. It's from her album Glorious Heights.
Where would we be without collaboration? We’d be lonely, but we’d also be less. This week’s Episode is all about fashion community, its power to change the world, and the idea that TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER.
The Social Outfit is an independently-accredited Sydney-based social enterprise and fashion brand that works with refugees and new migrants to provide first Australian jobs in the fashion industry, through a design and workroom, retail storefront in Sydney's Newtown, and online store.
You're going to hear their story from the inimitable Jackie Ruddock, CEO, change-maker, extraordinary dresser.
Research shows there's a critical need to provide alternate methods of training and employment pathways to ensure that people from refugee and new migrant communities have the greatest chance of success as they settle in Sydney. HOW CAN FASHION BE USED AS A TOOL FOR POSITIVE CHANGE? How can tapping into the creativity of refugee communities lead to empowerment and social inclusion? And how are Australian fashion designers lending their support?
This Episode is brought to you by Bianca Spender, designer of the eponymous Australian label known for its intriguing, sophisticated Ethical Clothing Australia accredited collections. Bianca has collaborated with The Social Outfit to create a capsule collection for David Jones to celebrate FASHION REVOLUTION WEEK. Scroll down for the full story.
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT...
For her KEN DONE 365 challenge, Jackie wore something by this 1980s Australian design icon EVERY SINGLE DAY for a whole year, to raise money for The Social Studio in Melbourne. That's how she got the idea to set up a similar organisation in Sydney. Five years later, The Social Outfit is doing wonderful work training and employing refugees and new migrants here.
REFUGEES & ASYLUM SEEKERS
There are more displaced people in the world right now than at any other time in history. According to AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL :
By the end of 2015, 65.3 million people worldwide had been forced to leave their homes as a result of conflict, persecution, violence and human rights violations. Of these:
- 21.3 million people had to escape to another country. These people are referred to as refugees.
- 3.2 million people have sought safety in another country. These are people seeking asylum.
- 40.8 million people were displaced within their own country. These people are described as internally displaced persons.
Right now, the vast majority of the world’s refugees live in developing regions, with half of the 20 million refugees in just 10 countries.
Over 1.19 million women, men and children need to be resettled in a safe country, yet only 30 countries offer just over 100,000 annual resettlement places.
AUSTRALIA'S IMMIGRATION POLICIES AND IN PARTICULAR OFF-SHORE DETENTION HAVE BEEN EXTREMELY CONTROVERSIAL.
Everyone should read The Naru Files - The Guardian's award-winning analysis of 2,000 leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention camp for asylum seekers on the remote Pacific island of Nauru. It's sobering stuff.
JACKIE'S 1980s OBSESSION...
The Aurora Group is a NSW-based charity raising funds to disburse to organisations providing support and services to the many different facets of the LGBTIQ community. They held the ball where Jackie got talking about setting up a Sydney version of Melbourne's The Social Studio.
WHAT IS A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE?
Using the power of the marketplace to solve the most pressing societal problems, social enterprises are commercially viable businesses existing to benefit the public and the community, rather than shareholders and owners. In the Australian context, there is no legal structure called social enterprise but we define social enterprise as organisations that: Are driven by a public or community cause, be it social, environmental, cultural or economic; Derive most of their income from trade, not donations or grants; Use the majority (at least 50%) of their profits to work towards their social mission (definition via Social Traders).
HOW IS THE FASHION COMMUNITY GETTING INVOLVED?
So many ways...
This collaborative patchwork project involved a specialised training and employment workshop series, for participants accessing the Women's & Girls' Emergency Centre (WAGEC). WAGEC is a non government, charitable organisation creating safe futures and enduring change for women and families who are experiencing homelessness, domestic and family violence and systemic disadvantage. Over 10 weeks, participants learnt industrial sewing and micro-enterprise skills, exploring patchwork techniques and their application for garments, accessories, and giftware. This training was conducted on site at The Social Outfit and iconic Aussie designer LINDA JACKSON (listen to her podcast Episode here) joined in to share experiences and some of the techniques she uses in creating her signature patchwork pieces.
Loads of designers have generously donated fabric to The Social Outfit. Just a few of our favourites? Bianca Spender, Romance Was Born, Linda Jackson, Carla Zampatti, Ginger and Smart, Seafolly.
WHOMADEMYCLOTHES? For Fashion Revolution week 2018, Bianca Spender has joined forces with The Social Outfit to design some limited edition pieces, made from deadstock fabrics, for a super-cool collab with the David Jones department store, celebrating "fashion mindfully made in Australia by skilled garment workers."
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