What comes to mind when you hear ‘ethically made clothing with a social conscience’? If it’s linen or hemp-based outfits in a bland range of ‘natural’ colours, think again. Newtown-based social enterprise The Social Outfit makes clothing that’s more fun than a jumping castle at a five-year-old’s birthday party.
Working with disadvantaged members from the refugee and new migrant communities, the ethical brand is as much a fashion label as it is a charity. All proceeds from the sale of their clothing, which is astoundingly manufactured locally onsite, go straight back into up-skilling programs that foster social inclusion.
Credit: Levon Baird (photography) and Peter Simon-Phillips (styling)
Fashion industry icon Carla Zampatti is both a supporter and creative collaborator. "I am particularly excited to endorse the work of The Social Outfit—by drawing on people's cultural traditions, this social enterprise uses creativity and design to build people's skills as they settle in Australia," Ms Zampatti told GRAZIA.
"I recognise the level of disadvantage facing refugees and new migrants when they arrive in Australia."
"People often face barriers to participation in mainstream education and employment and The Social Outfit offers a viable alternative skills-pathway providing supported employment and education, and employment and education projects."
But as good as the cause is, the real reason The Social Outfit is so successful is because of its uniquely collaborative ethos. Kaleido-cloth, the brand's Spring/Summer 2018 collection, is the product of not one but three partners. Together, they’ve teamed up to create a visually striking and covetable range of edgy clothes.
Alongside Melbourne-based traditional Burmese tapestry artists and creative young refugees and migrants from the Western Sydney-based Merrylands Community Artists, popular avant-garde Australian fashion house Romance Was Born is on board. "Working with the The Social Outfit allows us to connect to our community directly in a really positive way," say Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, the creative forces behind the popular brand.
Credit: Devon Laird
And whilst the duo "are very inspired by The Social Outfit's ethics", we here at GRAZIA are equally inspired by the hero piece of the collection: arresting technicolour jumpsuit made in lightweight crepe de chine rendered in an archival Romance Was Born x Linda Jackson print.
The collection drops online and in-store today, September 14. Prices on The Social Outfit website range from just $69 from $479. Looking good and actually doing good just became that little easier.
The Social Outfit, Romance was born jumpsuit, $479. SHOP NOW
VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Watch the campaign film below: