Photography by Levon Baird, words by Ellen Tirant.
Working directly with businesses and individuals who are committed to creating a positive impact is important to us at Dorsu - allowing us to bring others along on what we believe is a necessary journey to drastically alter the nature of the fashion industry. We want to use our Journal as a space to talk about how everyday people and businesses can, and are, doing great things by challenging the status quo. We feature legends that both inspire and help us to meet our potential - and we have learned that by sharing their stories we have inspired others to become everyday advocates, chipping away at the small, everyday changes that contribute to much wider and purposeful impact.
When we started chatting to The Social Outfit team back in early 2017 - we knew that we were destined to create beautiful things together! Starting out as a wholesale partnership - we have grown our relationship into a supportive, purposeful collaboration, combining our strengths to design and produce exclusive clothing that is rooted in the intention of positive industry change and community based impact.
The Social Outfit is a fashion label that prioritises the people that make up its team. Providing employment and training opportunities to people from refugee and new migrant communities, The Social Outfit is shaking up the mainstream fashion industry, using a social business model to build a fashion business that focuses on valuable skills training in design, production, sales and marketing.
With a commitment to industry and community collaborations, The Social Outfit is not only providing opportunities for its community of workers, they are also spreading a message through industry networks, consumers and the press - that it’s possible to run a successful business that works alongside and with people, lifting up those around them and providing opportunities for skills development.
We asked Jess from The Social Outfit about her thoughts on the benefits of collaboration within the fashion industry:
“Collaboration is always at the heart of what we do, and we count so many wonderful designers, brands, and organisations in our network of industry supporters. I think the whole fashion industry benefits from this cross pollination because it amplifies smaller brands and their approaches to sustainability, bringing these issues into the mainstream conversation, as well as to fashion fans who might not be aware of the reality behind their purchases.
For The Social Outfit specifically, it’s wonderful bringing together the new migrant and refugee community with Australian creatives - sharing skills and ideas to make new things. I really love that we don’t have one head designer, and many of the aesthetic cues for each new collection come from our community and industry collaborators, as well as the fabrics that they donate. It makes for a challenging but really exciting creative process each and every time!”
The capsule collection is made up of 5 limited edition pieces, designed collaboratively by Dorsu and The Social Outfit. Made with remnant cotton jersey fabric sourced in Cambodia, garments are produced in-house at our production studio in Kampot, Cambodia and available exclusively at The Social Outfit.
Each piece is designed to balance out the boldness of The Social Outfit pieces, their colours and intricate patterns. Teaming up with The Social Outfit to create these complimentary designs fulfils our ‘dream design goals’ - we want Dorsu clothing to be an addition to your style - to be the pieces that you wear everyday to compliment you, as either a base or feature piece. We intentionally design our clothing for you to wear your own way - and these bold basics fit perfectly with The Social Outfit garments.
Jess shared with us the inspiration behind the collection for The Social Outfit:
“Collaborating has seemed like a really natural progression for us both. The Social Outfit’s supporters have been fans of Dorsu since we first became a stockist, and the streamlined cuts and subtle details of Dorsu garments has been a welcome balance to a lot of the louder prints we have in store! Dorsu has really helped us to embrace block colours, so it’s been wonderful working on our limited edition Teal and Glacier pieces together.
So many of Dorsu’s goals and enthusiasm align with The Social Outfit’s, thinking creatively to present an alternative model of making fashion, and one which prioritises people and the environment. But I think the strength of us collaborating comes from the different ways in which we approach this aim, and how that brings different challenges and opportunities in Cambodia and Australia. The initial response to this first collaboration has been brilliant, and we can’t wait to build on that into the future!”
Check out the limited edition pieces in-store at The Social Outfit in Newtown Sydney or purchase online at www.thesocialoutfit.org - and let us know what you think!
Want to know more about The Social Outfit and what they do? Here’s our interview with Jess from the very early days of our blossoming partnership.