FASHION BUILDING COMMUNITY VALUES
On the other side of the globe, preserving cultural diversity and supporting disadvantaged communities is also a narrative shared by The Social Studio, a not-for-profit social entreprise based in Melbourne, Australia and also a collaborator with designers Phạm Phan Hoàng Linh and Vũ Thảo in the project “here / there” which is expected to unfold over the next 12 months.
Established in 2009, The Social Studio (TSS) has been operating as a combination of a retailer, a production house and and educator, helping immigrants and refugees access work, learning, and creative opportunities in fashion, design, and arts, with the motto “community is always our focus”.
TSS is accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia. “This means we work with the clothing council to ensure that the employees are well-paid and get to work in a safe environment”, said The Social Studio CEO Dewi Cooke.
For more than a decade, TSS has supported more than 780 young people joining their free certification training courses in fashion and apparels, alongside numerous consultancy and internship programmes related to their creative and production work (according to the TSS website).
Dewi shared that TSS is working with RMIT University on a two-year programme, where students will get to learn industry-standard textile production skills. “It will be a space where young people can explore their creative ability, build their confidence, while considering whether to pursue a career in the creative industry after completing the two-year programme”.
Recently, there was a meaningful collaboration between TSS and Collingwood College, where there is a significant number of immigrant/migrant students, at first many of them are shy and reserved as they weren’t fluent in English. At the beginning of the school year, TSS designed and produced a large-scale banner on campus to welcome the new students. The banner featured vibrant colours blending with symbols and characters of 32 different languages – a symbol of the respect – from Collingwood College and the local community alike – toward cultural diversity.