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Wear the Change for migrant and refugee women

NEWTOWN: As Covid-19 lockdowns lifted, Newtown-based sustainable fashion label, the Social Outfit, came up with a fun way to raise awareness and vital funds for its non-profit community programs.

The idea was #WearTheChange2020, an ethical fashion styling challenge held during #RefugeeWeek2020 – funds from which will support women from refugee and new-migrant backgrounds with training and employment pathways in the fashion industry.

To fundraise for #WearTheChange2020 participants committed to wearing the same garment every day – styled in five different ways – from June 15-19. Their aim was to rally sponsors but also to show the community their commitment to fashion that is “made fair, made for good and good for the planet”.

Greens Member for Newtown Jenny Leong quickly jumped on board as an ambassador and committed to wearing the same garment every day in Refuge Week. Then she realised parliament was sitting!

Despite having to wear the same Louise Zhang Shell Top each day for three days straight in the chamber (and for two days outside of it) her resolve didn’t waver. “For me, it is about transparency and equality,” she said. “What I choose to wear can contribute to the empowerment of workers not their exploitation, it can protect our environment not further its destruction.”

Jenny took the Wear the Change challenge to the NSW Parliament and other women leaders who got involved as Wear the Change ambassadors included Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi and City of Sydney Councillor Jess Miller.

The Social Outfit is a fashion label as well as registered charity and social enterprise whose purpose is to employ and train people from refugee and new migrant communities. All the funds raised from #WearTheChange2020 will help the Social Outfit expand its free community training programs for refugee and newly arrived migrants.

“We know that work empowers women and supports families to have a positive settlement experience in Australia,” said Camilla Schippa, CEO of the Social Outfit. “All our clothes are made ethically right here in Newtown by our incredible sewing team from refugee and new migrant backgrounds.

“Having come through Covid-19 a little worse for wear (in terms of our finances), the funds raised through #WearTheChange2020 will help the Social Outfit sustain these important efforts.”

Wear the Change raised just under $50,000*, an incredible achievement, thanks to a great effort by everyone involved.

“After the stress and uncertainty of recent times,” Ms Schippa said, “these funds are certainly helping us feel excited about the future now we know the full-colour extent to which you, our community, are standing with us.”


*A total of $49,990 raised including $2,707 raised by Westpac as an employee initiative (likely to be matched by the bank – amount to be confirmed).



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