Fashion and the environment doesn’t usually go hand in hand, but The Social Outfit has set out to change all that. The organisation has been operating for the last three years as a fashion label with a difference.

The Social Outfit works with some of Australia’s top fashion and lifestyle designers, such as Ken Done and Carla Zampatti to manufacture and sell locally, unique high-quality fashion pieces to fund employment, education and training opportunities to help transform the lives of refugees and new migrants. The sticker label they use is free of plastic, and that’s only one of their other environmentally-conscious efforts that they’ve undertaken. Proceeds from the sale of the garments go towards creating pathways for these community members to find jobs, explore their creativity and enrich the wider community.

For their Spring Summer 2017/18 collection, Kaleido-cloth, The Social Outfit has worked with partners and collaborators to produce artwork and products that reflect a hopeful Australian spirit.

Specifically, The Social Outfit have teamed up with three key partners:

  • Groundbreaking Australian fashion house, Romance Was Born, have re-released a pattern from their archive, featuring artwork by Linda Jackson which appears throughout the collection on silk scarves, simple t-shirt dresses and a statement jumpsuit
  • Secondly, The Social Outfit have worked with two Melbourne based traditional Burmese artists whose colourful loomed tapestries have been digitally worked into beautiful silk fabrics
  • The brand has also worked with Merrylands Community Artists by inviting young people from the new migrant and refugee community in Merrylands to create collaged artworks made during creative workshops into a collaborative print design. This design is another statement highlight in silk slip
    dresses, simple summer camisoles and beautiful statement origami style folded purses.

Quick Statistics on The Social Outfit

  • Manufacturing and the retail store account for 70% of activity across the organization
  • The Social Outfit currently employ 9 people from the community
  • 30% of The Social Outfit business is for 100% charitable purposes with a focus on training and education
  • The Social Outfit have the ability to train over 70 new migrants and refugees over each year
  • This training and education has the aim of providing pathways to ongoing employment within the rag trade as well as creating social inclusion and building self confidence
  • The Social Outfit have collaborated with over 23 Australian fashion brands to date

Kaleido-cloth SS17/18 is available online and in store.

About The Author

Lisa Teh

Lisa Teh is the Editor-in-chief of, one of Australia's top fashion, beauty and lifestyle resources. She has worked on campaigns with brands including David Jones, Myer, Mecca Cosmetica, Simone Perele, Lenovo and L'Oreal. She recently appeared in Couturing's exclusive Australian Fashion Week reality web series, The Frow, alongside top industry names including Toni Maticevski and Maybelline Creative Director Nigel Stanislaus.

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