About Us

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.

Our Team

  • Dewi Cooke, CEO
  • Cate Coleman, Philanthropy Executive
  • Tara Wingate, Production Manager
  • Thi Nguyen, dressmaker
  • Anh Truong, dressmaker
  • Bais Nabi, dressmaker
  • Bonnie Mooney, Retail and Creative Projects manager
  • Nancy Oziya, retail and design assistant
  • Tegar Sugiaman, Student Pathways Coordinator
  • Fiona Chisnall, Education Program Coordinator
  • Erik Yvon, teacher
  • Kele Grenville, teaching assistant
  • Sherry-Rose Bih Watts, Community development worker
  • Sagal Yusuf, Community development worker
  • Elva Li, finance lead

Our Board

  • Farah Farouque, Chair
  • Alberto Furlan, Deputy Chair
  • Grace McQuilten, Public Officer and Co-Treasurer
  • Vinisha Mulani, Co-Treasurer
  • Kavitha Chandrashekran
  • Alek Nyok
  • Michael McMahon