While in Melbourne recently I went to visit The Social Studio. They are an amazing social enterprise that trains and employs young people in fashion and hospitality. They run the enterprise from a boutique and The Cutting Table cafe on Smith St in Collingwood.
The cafe has a host of regulars who come in for their daily grind. Next door the pine walls of the boutique glow with iridescent colours from the latest collaboration of RMIT graduates who have designed and printed their own textiles and garments. Also gracing the racks are bespoke garments designed from the remnants of designers, textile producers and the purges of fabricoholics.
Many of the young people involved with The Social Studio first engage with the TAFES courses offered in:
- Clothing Production
- Textile Design and Development
- The Cutting Table café provides a venue for hospitality training
- advanced training in Fashion Merchandising & Retail and work experience opportunities
The positive family vibe of the studio keeps young people connected and coming back long after they have finished the education programmes. Many of the graduates working in the studio or in retail have been with The Social Studio since attending a TAFES course, and volunteered throughout their time studying at RMIT use boutique to launch new labels.
I was excited to see the accessibility of their incredible silk and nylon printing programme which offers fabric printing by the metre at reasonable rates to community.
The Social Studio is so much more than an ethical fashion and hospitality social enterprise. The Social Studio, founded in 2009, creates awareness and strives to change negative perceptions of people who have experienced being a refugee. The Social Studio are a collaboration bringing together design, business, media, communications and community development, all with a passion for youth development that’s evident in it’s culture and spirit.
Next time you’re in Collingwood be sure to check them out. Or visit their website for more information.