At Birdsong, it has always been our goal to stay as green as possible, whilst maintaining our ethical status. We design clothes for remarkable women, but we’re also made by them. We work with expert makers who face barriers to employment – from artists and printmakers to seamstresses and painters – and pay them London living wage to bring our designs to life.
It’s estimated that 60 million women worldwide – aged 18-35 and working in the garment industry – make less than a minimum wage. These are the people making the clothes we see on the high street everyday, hidden in the fashion supply chain. We know it’s near impossible to track where your clothing comes from and who made it – and that’s why we’re here. Together, we can change the way fashion works.
We recently won the Marie Claire UK sustainability award for best ethical brand. Our aim has always been to create a fashion industry that feels inclusive, dignified and transformative for local economies. We employ a diverse and talented range of migrant and refugee women, from cut and sew to embroidery, as well as survivors of domestic abuse and older knitters who donate earnings back to the community centre that they work from.
“Instead of outsourcing work to sweatshops, the brand works with migrant and refugee women, and survivors of domestic abuse in a notoriously poor area. All orders are packed by adults with learning disabilities in Camden, providing vital employment to those in need.” - Marie Claire Digital Fashion Editor Penny Goldstone.
An ethical business model is central to everything we do. From design conception, every step of the way to a parcel reaching our customer, we work for an inclusive, transparent future in fashion.
What makes us so ethical?
We are dedicated to moral principles and aim to prove this in all aspects of our practice. One of our goals for 2021 was to become more financially transparent.
We spent £21,347.66 on procurement on local creatives and small, ethical businesses.
- Of these, 83% were women or women lead businesses.
- 33% were women of colour, with 100% of our multibrand budget being commissioned to talented designers from Black and Australian Aboriginal backgrounds.
- At least 17% of the creatives we funded were LGBTQ+.
We also source high quality, sustainable materials, so that products are at the highest possible quality, and promote a long-life wardrobe for our consumer.
“Committed to reinventing how the fashion industry operates, Birdsong proves that fashion can be good for those who wear it and for those who make it.” - Marie Claire.
We promote fairly made, diverse fashion that isn’t damaging to womens' self-esteem or rights. We were founded to create lasting cultural change in the fashion industry. It is so common with the advent of social media that society, especially women in society, are judged for the way they look - so often we hear, ‘she’s too thin’ or ‘she's put weight on’ and this is damaging to so many people. The purpose of Birdsong is to empower women, for our customers and our producers. We vow not to alter the appearance of anyone we work with, or feature on our site. We declare to only use supply chains we deem clean, ethical and transparent.
We also try to be as ethical and inclusive as possible within our team. As of August 2021 we are a team of 7, which is made up of 70% women, 28% are members of the LGBTQ+ community, and 58% are POC/from minority ethnic backgrounds. We aim to create a safe workplace where everyone is respected and listened to; being open and available is important to us.
It feels such an achievement to be awarded the best ethical brand award by Marie Claire, because this is exactly what we have strived for ever since we began. To be acknowledged for this really does prove to us that we are completing our goals, and it feels a privilege to be able to work with all the people that we do.