Supporting Refugee Women to Thrive Through Employment
The Social Outfit is a fashion label with a difference. We provide employment and training to people from refugee and new migrant communities in clothing production, retail, design and marketing. Our social business model builds skills in a supportive environment, interacting with broader Sydney communities and producing ethical fashion that reflects a hopeful Australian spirit.
Photos by Diego Lorenzo F. Jose.
VISION: We believe in an Australia where refugees and new migrants are warmly welcomed and settle well, celebrating our diversity and collective skills and strengths. We believe that tapping into the creativity of refugee communities leads to empowerment and social inclusion.
- Better together
Photo by Levon Baird.
WE ARE A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE AND CHARITY
The Social Outfit is a registered Incorporated Association, and recognised as a Public Benevolent Institution Charity. As we hold Deductible Gift Recipient Status, any donation made to us over AU$2.00 is tax deductible. Further, as a trading social enterprise, any income generated from product sales is directed back into the organisation in order to deliver on our social mission. We are registered with, and report regularly to, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). We are also rated in the top most ethical category on the Good On You app, and are a Social Traders certified social enterprise.
Our goal is to manufacture and sell ethical and sustainable quality products that help to financially empower people from refugee and new migrant backgrounds, with a particular focus on female humanitarian migrants. While doing that, we also aim to provide customers with unique pieces that tell amazing human stories.
70% of our activities go into running our clothing store and workroom, where we provide employment opportunities for refugees and new migrants in ethical clothing manufacturing and retail. 30% of our work goes towards running free training and education programs that expand social connections and provide positive experiences for refugees and new migrants.
Photo by Levon Baird.
MORE ABOUT OUR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE MODEL
Research shows that there continues to be 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.
“There is overwhelming evidence that employment provides the bedrock for successful settlement. The best way to help humanitarian migrants to build flourishing lives is to help them find work.” (Centre for Policy Development, ‘Settling Better’ Report, 2017)
People from our refugee community often face complex barriers to social inclusion and skills development and employment-focussed social enterprises "Are effective - producing higher and better employment outcomes than mainstream employment services for people experiencing significant disadvantage." (Westpac Foundation and Centre for Social Impact "Social Enterprise. A people centred approach to employment services." Report, August 2019)
We have 6+ years experience of effectively operating a workplace designed to meet the complex needs faced by people from our refugee communities, when it comes to training, employment and job readiness.
Our model effectively responds to these needs by:
- Starting from traditional and cultural strengths to build up lasting skills
- Introducing our refugee and new migrant employees to Australian workplace practices and culture. We educate them on their rights and responsibilities, payslips, contracts, tax and superannuation.
- Building cross-sector partnerships to support employees to transition to ongoing external employment.
- Trading as social enterprise allowing employees to interface daily with the broader Sydney communities, strengthening social cohesion and building their confidence.
- Welcoming staff into our multi-generational, multi-cultural and collaborative workplace community.
- Proudly showcasing the creativity, skills and talents of our refugee and new migrant communities to reflect a hopeful Australian spirit.
Photos by Sarah Adamson & Diego Lorenzo F. Jose.
PARTNERSHIPS AND COLLABORATIONS
We work in partnership with the following specialist organisations:
- Asylum Seekers Centre
- Community Migrant Resource Centre
- Fairfield High School Intensive English Centre
- House of Welcome
- NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)
- Red Cross Migration Support Programs
- Settlement Services International
- Australian Retail Association
Photos by Diego Lorenzo F. Jose & Sarah Adamson.
If you love what we do and what we stand for, the best way you can support us is by buying our wonderful ethically made products - created on-site by refugee and new migrant sewing technicians, of course!
By purchasing our gorgeous garments and accessories, you provide us with the means to support, employ and upskill more women just like our Retail Trainees, Sewing Technicians as well as the wider refugee and new migrant communities that we engage with.
Click here to shop some of our incredible garments, all locally and ethically made in the heart of Newtown.