Birdsong Studios Summer 2018
For our latest studio offering, we imagined our dream wardrobe pieces and worked backwards. The result is a sustainable capsule collection of beautifully fitting, thoughtfully cut garments. Each piece is practical; dresses come layerable, in three lengths, with pockets. We added our favourite aspects of delightful detailing; tie backs, a wide flare, a miniature shirt collar, and iridescent shell buttons.
Print artist Alice Acreman states, “Moving on from our Autumn/winter rich and feminine floral we wanted to create a print that felt light and expressive. Using a paintbrush to form the flowing shapes, experimenting with mark making and varied brush stokes we weren’t focusing on the final outcome but the creative process.
The loose lines and irregular shapes have a playfulness to them and feel like a fresh take on geometric print. The vibrant yellow pop is the perfect optimistic colour for our steps towards a more sustainable fashion future. And the best bit is that due to the organic nature of the screen printing process, carried out by skilled artisans, no piece will be identical.”
Printed onto cotton Khadi, the fabric used in this collection is hand spun and hand woven by a women’s cooperatives in Gopuri, central India. The women artisan’s wages are fair and set by central government. Khadi has its roots in anti-colonial protest, as a means of taking back cotton production from British monopolies. It was the championed fabric of Ghandi; a skilled ode to self sufficiency.
The fabrics texture is near imperceptibly irregular, and no two pieces alike, tracing back to the different hands that made it. Khadia has a breathable, natural texture not dissimilar to linen. This collection comes in two different weights, for garments that last beyond the years, not just seasons.
Our Studios line is hand cut, sewn and finished by women’s charities based across Brick Lane, Limehouse and Poplar in East London.
FabricWorks gives free tailoring courses to local women experiencing unemployment, low confidence or domestic violence.
Heba was established by and for women of colour over 27 years ago, and continue to provide a safe space for migrant and refugee women today.
Embroidered ‘No Borders’ detail designed by Birdsong, and machine stitched by Mona at a community sewing project onto ethically made organic cotton tees. A queen of her community, Mona provides training, sewing classes and moral support to the Poplar housing estate in which she’s based.
The women at each of these groups are each paid a London Living Wage per hour to manufacture goods for Birdsong.
Photography / Eleanor Hardwick, assisted by Melissa Arras
Styling & Creative Direction /Novel Approach; Alice Wilby & Khandiz Joni
Hair & Makeup/ Khandiz Joni for Novel Approachs, using natural and organic products
Models / Mariam Dawood, newly elected Labour Councillor for Newham,
& Mursal Hedayat, Founder & CEO of award winning refugee language service Chatterbox
Shot at Threadworks in Clerkenwell