CREATING A NEW OUTLOOK // Behind the scenes with 'Wear For Success'
Our capsule sunglasses collection, RADICAL VISION, is a truly rad collaboration. Released as part of our radical November 'KINDNESS' month, we are so proud to have designed a range that will help raise funds for Melbourne based not-for profit Wear For Success.
Wear for Success provides professional attire and pre-interview training, to give people the best possible chance of achieving their dreams of employment and independence. Their philosophy is based on the idea that everyone has potential. Their goal is to help them find it.
“We had been wanting to create a CSR (corporate social responsibility) project for sometime” explains RY Founder and Brand Director Kerryn Moscicki. “After speaking with WFS CEO Jodie Akin at the Finders Keepers market in July, the idea occurred to me that we could create a range that would offer a ‘new outlook’, and so the idea for the eyewear was born.”
We spoke with Graham Seldon, chair of WFS, about the finer details of their organisation and how it’s making an impact on the many individuals that come through the door.
- Words by Hayley McKee, photography by Yes! Journal Chief Photographer Breeana Dunbar
Explain how your personalised dressing service works.
We have around 180 referral agencies that make appointments for clients they’re trying to help find employment for, but who lack appropriate clothing to attend job interviews.
When they come to our South Melbourne showroom, a trained volunteer stylist meets them to discover what sort of work they’re going for and to learn a bit about their own personal style and preferences. We take them into private dressing rooms and start putting together clothing options for them to try on. It can take up to an hour, but each person is different and some need more time to feel comfortable. Our volunteers understand this and work with each person to make sure they’re happy with the final result.
When they leave they’ll have a full outfit ready for an interview - and hopefully a second interview. They’re then able to come back to us if the interview lands them the job, to gather some additional clothing to dress them appropriately for their first working week. We understand that having being unemployed prior to this, they’ll have other priorities for their first pay packet, like household expenses, so we take care of the clothing. This is really important because it gives them confidence in their new workplace.
What is the average age and gender of most of your clients?
It changes every year, along with the economy, but at the moment we’re seeing an increase in young people, both male and female, being referred to us.
Most are looking for their first job and finding it incredibly difficult. We’re also seeing a large number of migrants, who are newly arrived and trying to assimilate into a new city with a different culture and language. This would be a huge challenge for anyone.
Describe some of the reactions you see from the individuals who receive a new professional look from WFS.
Shock, disbelief and pride! We see tears too. Often people are just so overwhelmed they’re stumped for words. Most just don’t believe that with the right clothes they can look so different and feel so professional.
Our volunteers are often reduced to tears themselves, especially when they see someone who is utterly transformed and walking out with their shoulders held high.
Is there a recent success story you can share with us?
We recently had an awesome group come via a Disability Employment Service called WCIG. Four people, all long-term unemployed, participated in our coaching workshops and all had an individual fitting. All four are now well and truly on the right track, with three employed and the other enrolled for further education.
How can people get involved?
It’s really easy. Clothing donations can be dropped off to our showroom at 24 Eastern Road, South Melbourne any time between Tuesday to Thursday 10am – 3.30pm and most Saturday’s between 10am – 12 noon. We basically need clean, good quality work-appropriate clothing that you would wear yourself, in all sizes.
To find out about volunteering just call our office and book in for a Volunteer Info Session, which are held every few months based on demand.
You can also purchase a pair of Radical Vision sunglasses. 10% of the profits from the RADICAL VISION range will go to assist Wear For Success to provide professional attire and deliver professional training programs, particularly in the areas of youth and new migrants.