Ethical clothing brand Birdsong produces clothes you want to wear but won’t feel bad for buying. Pushing against the morally dubious nature of the fast fashion created by underpaid and overworked labourers, the brand designs pieces you can wear with pride. How? Working with women’s groups – from knitting grandmas to migrant seamstresses – Birdsong pairs their expertise with contemporary designs, with all labour costs going back to the women with whom they collaborate. Having raised over £35,000 for women’s organisations, the brand has contributed to IT and English classes, counselling and furniture. Producing clothes that will revolutionise the way you dress, Birdsong’s website runs on a strictly "no sweatshop, no Photoshop" policy, with founders Sophie and Sarah getting friends on board to model the clothing – making shopping on the site an entirely empowering experience.
This month, the brand’s physical concept store returns to east London for a second year, this time named Summer of Sisterhood. “There have been a lot of really sad things happening in the news lately, and we wanted to come together to build something really utopian and feelgood in the space we have,” Sophie explains. “Our last shop felt like a mighty sisterhood, with all the women-owned brands we had in store. From everyone who visited, to our staff, makers and all our collaborators, we had this dreamy vibe of having made something really important and refreshing. We wanted to continue that and bring together the Birdsong extended family once more.”
So what can you expect from the concept store? Feminist period pants company THINX, exclusive artworks and prints sold for a Grenfell Tower fundraiser in collaboration with Polyester magazine and Nail Transphobia founder Charlie Craggs, and magazines from Riposte, Girls Club, The Gentlewoman and Ladybeard. London-based designer Clio Peppiatt and Rihanna-approved Auria swimwear will also be stocked. “We met Clio and Auria’s Diana through different friends of friends, but had admired them from afar for a while,” Sophie tells me. “Diana’s commitment to using econyl, which is a textile made from recycled fishing nets, that goes back into the sea as your bikini, is amazing. Likewise, Clio’s casting choices, willingness to speak out about important issues like voting and FGM, and her killer designs, has made us firm fans forever. The fact that their clothes are both beautiful and stand for something make them perfect allies for Birdsong.”
Alongside “un-retouched posters, affirmations in the changing rooms and the nicest staff you could hope to meet”, you’ll also see Birdsong’s acclaimed own label IRL for the first time since head of design, Susanna Wen joined the team. Anticipate pieces like satin slip dresses, broderie anglaise cami tops, and ‘80s-inspired printed tees. So head to Summer of Sisterhood for a “feminist, utopian shopping experience” – you’ll leave looking fantastic, absolutely guilt-free.