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Arts & Culture / Lizzie Coop

The Fashion Line Uniting Women With Its Girl Power Motto

These days, it feels like every company has figured out – or are at least trying to figure out – how they can deploy a ‘feminist’ concept for commercial gain. But, while businesses shout their message of ‘empowerment’ loudly at ‘real’ women from the rafters, they often neglect to consider affecting issues, such as ethical production lines or advertising campaigns that don’t discriminate, or alienate, its audience. Ironically, this leaves many falling short, and more often than not, at heads with the one thing they attempted to advocate – inclusivity.

Thank you then for independent e-stores like Birdsong, who sell sweatshop-free products that do *actually* give back to women, like Madi underwear, who donate a pair to a women’s refuge for every pair bought, or Khama prints, where 75 percent of the cost of one item goes towards making women breadwinners in Malawi. Did we mention, that every single inch of Birdsong’s products are ethically sourced and made by women’s groups, including migrant, low-income women in Shoreditch? That their T-shirts, are hand-painted by Roksana, Lima and Shereena – dinner ladies from Poplar, who paint in between cooking and picking up their kids. Oh, and that the initiative covers women’s organisations across the whole country, and it has recruited over 483 female workers to date? Birdsong, you are magic.

#tbt to Daniela in our Naja underwear

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Born in 2014, out of a tired frustration fuelled by unrealistic representations of the female form, Birdsong’s founders Sarah Beckett and Sophie Slater, didn’t feel that other fashion brands were resonating with issues that really mattered. So, with ethical production at its core, the duo started selling items made by women, at the charities they worked with online. “We want to revolutionise the way you dress,” Sophie says. “All our clothes are made by women’s groups with rare skills. We pair their expertise with our designs, creating classic pieces with a mind to the future. From migrant seamstresses, knitting grannies to all our customers, we unite women.” These days, Birdsong is defined through a steadfast manifesto which Sarah and Sophie, originally scribed for the website three years ago: “We’re a fashion brand for people who expect more from their wardrobes. We work on a promise of “no sweatshops and no photoshop”.

Anya in our @cliopeppiatt X Birdsong bamboo embroidered pants. Taken by photographer @tessroby ⠀ ⠀ Tess Roby is a Montreal-based photographer and musician who graduated from Concordia University in 2016, and whose work has shown recently in a solo show at Battat Contemporary Gallery, and in the current VICE photo issue alongside Wolfgang Tillmans.⠀ ⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ #bodypositive #bodyposi #feminism #feminist #recycled #organic #BirdsongLoves #fashionblogger #recycle #activism #welcomerefugees #sustainable #ethicalfashion #vegan #whomademyclothes #fashion #ethical #london #babe #socialenterprise #fashionable #Style #OnlineShopping #styleinspiration #Shop #Trend #FreeShipping #sweatshopfree #art #design

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This unwavering mission statement, led to the brand’s ‘Summer of Sisterhood’ pop-up store – which launched earlier this summer in Shoreditch, London. Finding support in a flock of women’s brands, such as feminist period pants company THINX, Rihanna-approved Auria swimwear, and magazine’s who speak a similar language like Riposte, LadyBeard and Polyester, Birdsong gave their motto ‘no sweatshops, no photoshop’ IRL status. “We show the reality of what women look like with our unedited models, who are often friends or supporters. We think that your body suits you, so dress it in Birdsong.”

The new campaign also aptly celebrates the brand’s expansion into larger sizing. Many of its garments are marked as ‘unisex’, and products are carried through to size XXXL. The Birdsong range now encompasses 13 sizes, and takes pride in its commitment to diversity in all its forms, “all bodies are good bodies”. A belief system we share.

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