There’s no two ways about it. Fashion has had detrimental effects on humanity – from exploited women workers to materials and practices that harm our planet. But it’s also an important form of expression and a tool for change (think of the Black Panther’s berets). We don’t want to get rid of it, we want to make it better. But where to start?
We know that women want more from their wardrobe but that the world of ethical, sustainable and local fashion can be a minefield. We’ve tried ticking all the boxes for you in our own collections, but we know we don’t offer everything just yet. In a world of greenwashing, Instagram influencers and endless googling, sustainability can be a nightmare to navigate. That’s why we’re introducing Sustainability 101, as a definitive account of who we really trust as industry insiders. Each month we’ll aim to bring you the brands, and voices, who cut through the noise. First up, we’ve compiled The Wardrobe Basics List, for a base of wardrobe staples to see you through the years.
A friend of the flock, K.T.O started life as a pioneering ethical manufacturer, before expanding to become an instore and online marketplace for the best in conscious clothing. Each brand selected has the highest trust and credentials in the space, and you also also get some great information from their live events and blog.
Born from the aftermath of American Apparel, Everybody’s founders parted ways from the brand’s shady past and brought to life their own brilliant basics brand dedicated to “Workers, Ecology and Ideas.” Whether it’s paying fair wages in their LA facility, creating the world’s first “trash” tee made from recycled yarn, or collaborating with members of their local community, they stand as kindred souls with the Birdsong mission.
Made famous by Meghan Markle, these trainers have long been a favourite of the Birdsong team. Not only are these ethical, ecological kicks refreshingly beautiful to look at, but they’re comfy too. And every single component has been sourced with care, whether that’s the organic farm their cotton comes from, or the natural rubbed, traditionally tapped from the Amazon. Veja’s growth in recent years also means the company is pioneering new sustainable materials and technologies, like uppers made from food waste. They also use a social enterprise for their warehousing, just like us, employing people facing barriers to work to post their goods.
The brainchild of former journalist and sustainable supply chain expert Genia Mineeva, BEEN create beautiful handbags and pouches from high tech, closed-loop leather and polyester waste. You can be sure that every element of their designs is made from recycled textiles - from the zips to the linings and everything in-between. Even better, everything is made to order in London, cut with minimal waste - they cleverly design everything in squares for this purpose - and sent from the same warehouse as Birdsong's orders.
Every outfit needs the right start, and you can't get softer, comfier or more thoughtful underwear than ours. Our closed loop bamboo bras and knickers run in sizes 6 - 20, and are the perfect base for the rest of your wardrobe. Made in the UK and with our customers in mind, you won't want to ever take yours off. Not only is bamboo super fast growing, and less energy intensive, but it's also anti-microbial, fast wicking and highly breathable, making it the perfect fabric to wear close to your skin.
Check out our other collections for jewellery, statement dresses, underwear and more, where you can be sure everyone’s paid a London living wage.