Magpie Goose and Second Stitch have joined forces to produce an accessories collection including scrunchies, dog kerchiefs, baby bibs, face masks and bumbags!
Second Stitch is a Refugee/Asylum Seeker run textiles social enterprise based in Coburg, Melbourne. Within their studio, newly-arrived migrants, asylum seekers, and refugee women learn skills in textile production and connect with their community.
In February we peddled (through the smoky haze!) from Brunswick to visit their studio in Coburg to discuss how we could make it work! By March the team were working with our small offcuts to sample up some new products and were ready to launch into production!
Then along came COVID and slowed everything down. Production resumed once the first lockdown lifted and then along came lockdown two. What a time! Second Stitch pivoted to making facemasks and they encouraged us to add facemasks to the collection too. We said YES! So we're going large with these very soon!
We chatted with Rohini (from Sri Lanka), Yan (from China) and Rachel (from Melbourne) at Second Stitch to find out what the collaboration has been like for them:
MG: How has this collaboration been received at Second Stitch?
Rohini: I love Indigenous art and culture. Earth and moon and water - I love the way the designs connect with nature, it reminds me of my home.
Yan: I love to use the small waste pieces to make different products - I feel excited because it’s high quality and zero waste. The fabric is beautiful and I like the way these small pieces can be turned into a bum bag! Amazing! Because of our skills, we can save these small pieces that would otherwise be thrown away.
Rachel: When it’s a MG production day, we pull out all of the amazing scraps and lay them out on our cutting tables. Each scrap goes through a process in our studio, firstly sorting, then laying, cutting and sewing - we get to spend a lot of time with the artworks, we get to really appreciate them.
MG: What was the process like from your end?
Rachel: It’s been an interesting process as we began working on this project during the early stages of Covid-19. We have had to rely heavily on the post to get samples from A to B to make sure we are getting correct fits and fabrications. The process has included lots of excitement from everyone in the studio opening up boxes of the most beautiful offcuts you’ve ever seen! It’s such a pleasure to turn small pieces of fabric that may otherwise go to landfill and turn them into quality products.
MG: What elements have been positive?
Rohini - Sewing...I just love sewing!
Yan: It’s so resourceful and we get to make something beautiful, not waste this beautiful fabric.
Rachel: Bringing together the work of Indigenous Artists with those who newly arrived and recently settled in Australia to create something for the community!
MG: What elements have been challenging?
Rohini: Working with offcuts can be more time consuming.
Yan: Matching the designs of the offcuts can be difficult, but it’s a good challenge
Rachel: Producing during a global pandemic has had its challenges, but we have learned so much in a very small amount of time.
MG: What do you like about Second Stitch?
Rohini: I love the people, I love working with the community. I particularly like to serve the community with masks. I love working on different projects
Yan: I love sewing and cutting, improving my skills and meeting people from different cultures. I did my studies here; and I get more information and skills from other people. It’s good for me. I get the opportunity to design, cut, pattern make and sew. I get to do all the different things here. I’m also improving my English!
MG: What have you enjoyed about working with the Magpie Goose prints?
Rohini: I love the scrunchies and the fabric colour prints - connecting with nature.
Yan: I love trying to line up the prints so they match well. It’s challenging but I enjoy the challenge. I like to provide a useful product for the community.
We think it is so fabulous that this collaboration links the sewers, who are from countries as diverse as Somalia, Eritrea, Syria and Turkey, with a diverse range of Aboriginal artists from across Australia, including from Guugu Yimithirr country (Hopevale), Alawa country (Minyerri), Winparrku and Ngurrapalangu country (Haasts Bluff/Western Desert).
As Rachel says, “The language of sewing is universal – it is a way to bring people from all over the world together, to find common ground, share stories and trade skills.”
- Scrunchies and dog-kerchiefs (small and large): available now
- Re-usable face masks: available this TUESDAY 18 Aug at 5pm.
- Bibs and bumbags (+ more!) to come.
Our collaboration with Second Stitch will be ongoing and we’ll aim to regularly update our accessories collection with new prints (Ikuntji offcuts will be on their cutting tables soon!).