About Us

A snapshot of The Social Studio. Credit: Visual Domain

Our beginnings, our journey so far, and our people.

In 2009, a group of Melbourne community members, local designers and fashion industry professionals joined together with a common idea: to embrace up-cycled fashion as a vehicle for social change and uplift youth from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

Working side-by-side with the community-at-large, our unique not-for-profit model was born as an initiative to empower ; creating education and employment pathways and in the process involving wider new migrant and refugee communities, too.

From launching our storefront on Smith Street, The Social Studio  has continued to grow, with our ethical and sustainable business ecosystem now providing education and employment opportunities across the enterprise.  Over the past decade, we’ve provided more than 780 youth from migrant and refugee backgrounds with meaningful, practical experience to support them as they build their futures, provided a number of jobs in our school, studio, store and beyond, won awards and so much more.

We are accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia and are members of the Australian Fashion Council.

Our Team

  • Dewi Cooke, CEO
  • Lois McGruer-Fraser, Production Manager
  • Cynthia Roussel, Production Supervisor/teacher
  • Irem Asibal, Production Assistant
  • Ani Forest, dressmaker
  • Nyamal Omot, dressmaker
  • Cinzia Invernizzi, dressmaker
  • Bonnie Mooney, Creative Projects manager
  • Mich Phan, Retail manager
  • Dinesha Perera, Student Pathways Coordinator
  • Ashley Martiniello, Education Program Manager
  • Kate Pitman, Cert III teacher
  • Emma Bovill, teaching assistant
  • Nyien Chan Paing, teaching assistant
  • Muhubo Sulieman, teacher (Heidelberg West)
  • Elva Li, finance lead

Our Board

  • Farah Farouque, Chair
  • Dr Alberto Furlan, Deputy Chair
  • Tamara Veltre, Treasurer
  • Dr Grace McQuilten
  • Vinisha Mulani
  • Dr Mariam Tokhi