The Social Studio: A Fashion Label That Trains, Employs Australia’s Refugees

The Social Studio, Australia, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, fair trade, fair-trade fashion, fair-trade clothing, Africa, refugees, fashion philanthropy


Certified by Ethical Clothing Australia for its commitment to a fair and transparent supply chain, The Social Studio offers newly arrived immigrants a sense of belonging and purpose. “I was interested in creating opportunities and access to people that have been marginalized in society,” McQuilten tells Ecouterre, “and to provide a set of work opportunities that were all alternatives to the menial jobs offered, like working in a 7/11 or driving a taxi, and instead do something more creative and exciting.”

With 30 or more students and staff members in the workspace at any given time, the studio brims with creative vivacity.

And exciting it is. Hailing from countries as far-flung as Senegal, Ethiopia, and Sudan, the designers each bring a different set of skills and experiences to the group. With 30 or more students and staff members in the workspace at any given time, the studio brims with creative verve.

Unlike traditional fashion houses, The Social Studio provides training and support for all aspects of life. Help is given in the form of tuition, driving lessons, legal advice, and even financial counseling. “If it’s not fashion and they want to become an astronomer then we help them make the decision, outcome, or achievement,” McQuilten says.

With a fast-growing customer base and growing clout in the design community, The Social Studio is a perfect example of using fashion as a tool for positive change.

+ The Social Studio

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