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.

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

Our Team

  • Dewi Cooke, CEO
  • Cate Coleman, Philanthropy Executive
  • Tara Wingate, Production Manager
  • Thi Nguyen, dressmaker
  • Anh Truong, dressmaker
  • Asal Foroud, dressmaker
  • Fay Russell, dressmaker
  • Irem Asibal, Production Assistant
  • Bonnie Mooney, Retail and Creative Projects manager
  • Nancy Oziya, retail and design assistant
  • Nasiim Abdi, Student Pathways Coordinator
  • Fiona Chisnall, Education Program Coordinator
  • Mariam Mousslimani, RMIT teacher coordinator
  • Emma Bovill, teaching assistant
  • Sagal Yusuf, Community development worker (Heidelberg West)
  • Elva Li, finance lead

Our Board

  • Farah Farouque, Chair
  • Alberto Furlan, Deputy Chair
  • Tamara Veltre, Treasurer
  • Michael McMahon, Public Officer
  • Grace McQuilten
  • Vinisha Mulani
  • Kavitha Chandrashekran
  • Mariam Tokhi