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5 Ways To Wear It: The Monisola Shirt 

5 Ways To Wear It: The Monisola Shirt 

Who doesn’t love a shirt? From the office to the pub or out at lunch with your new partner’s parents, a shirt is a perfect way to feel smart and dressy and grown up, with none of the other immediate actions associated with adulthood necessary. 

A shirt is a shortcut, if you will, to being the kind of person you always wanted to be. The person who pre makes lunch, decides on their outfit the night before and is always on time. You might not have nailed the rest, but you can con the world into thinking you have with the right crisp, flattering, statement-making, button up. 

We’re going to show you how to style our shirt in five ways, but first, we’ll tell you a story of how our shirt arrived in the world. It’s a pretty simple but unusual one, and one that connects our workers to you, dear wearer, in a way that is as fair, fun and meaningful as we could make it.

A normal fast fashion supply chain has 100 steps, making opportunities for waste or exploitation all too easy, as each manager hammers prices down, sets targets and drives competition between makers at each stage. With only 7 steps from making our shirt to getting it to you, and fair pay all along the way, Birdsong does fashion differently. 

  1. The silhouette and details were designed in London by yours truly – Susanna, Co-Founder and Head of Design here at Birdsong.
  2. The fit was then patterncut, sampled and rigorously tested by our expert pattern cutter Moni (shout out to our shirt’s namesake).
  3. Printmaker Alice Acreman and I then sent our wiggly, abstract Alma print design off to India after months of playing around and sampling.
  4. From India, our 100% cotton khadi fabric was handspun, woven and eventually hand screen printed with the Alma patterned for us for a fair wage.
  5. The fabric was then cut and sewn, and buttons were added by Leila and Anjum at Heba Women’s Project back in the East End.
  6. After careful inspection, ironing and quality testing by the Birdsong team, the final product was taken to Mailout. Mailout is a charity that trains people with learning difficulties to package and send our orders out. 
  7. Our shirt then arrives at you, our wonderful supporter without whom Birdsong would not exist.

Here are five ways you can wear the Monisola Shirt and be a part of the story…

1.As a statement under overalls

If like our Brand Manager Sophie you’re intimidated by the crisp, formal glory of a shirt, the best way to mix it up is to pair it under some overalls. All the credibility that a nice shirt brings, with some instant, easy styling fun. Voila.

2. Tucked into your favourite cropped denim.

The next look is very Susanna. The fitted, formal look of a shirt is beautifully balanced out by some wide legged, raw edged jeans. Pair it with a jaunty loafer and a cute tote and you’re ready for running errands or a weekend stroll down the flower market, but also prepared for bumping into anyone potentially important, eg a client or your next date. With a shirt this nice you don’t even need to bother washing your hair.

3. Dressed up with fitted trousers and fancy shoes and 4. High waisted and belted

We wanted to create a classic shirt pattern in an easy to wear, bold print, with breathable, eco-friendly fabrics you’ll want to wear again and again. That’s why our next two suggested looks are mega simple – wear it with jeans and a belt, get in and switch it up with fancy shoes for your evening function. Iron it once, wear it a bunch of times.

5. Undone as an over layer

An overshirt is a thing of beauty. Something seemingly simple that you quite literally throw on to jazz up an outfit. It works because it’s cooler than your standard cardigan.

Support our makers with the Monisola shirt

Monisola Button Down Shirt in Alma Print

£125.00

A classic button down shirt complete with a petite collar, classic cuff placket, box pleat at back and curved hem. Made in a breathable cotton Khadi. Hand spun, woven and screen-printed in our exclusive Alma print. Finished with simple shell buttons.

Our expert seamstresses hand cut, sew and finish these garments for a living wage at their workshop on Brick Lane. Heba was established by a group of migrant women over 25 years ago, and are our primary makers of clothing. They continue to provide a safe space for migrant and refugee women today.

Our Khadi fabric is made mostly by women spinners and weavers at a fair wage facility in Gopuri, central India. Every aspect of this fabric has been created by hand, from the spinning of the fibres, the weaving and the screen printing. This creates more employment for communities who really need it and means that there are a few more irregularities and quirks to the cloth, but we think it adds to its charm.

Mariam is 5′ 7″ and wears a size 10. See our size chart here.

Clear
  • Made in the UK
  • Sustainable Fabric
  • Vegan
  • Limited Edition
  • Makers
  • Our expert seamstresses hand cut, sew and finish these garments for a living wage at their workshop on Brick Lane. Heba was established by a group of migrant women over 25 years ago, and are our primary makers of clothing. They continue to provide a safe space for migrant and refugee women today.

  • Additional information
  • Size

    UK 10, UK 12, UK 14, UK 8

  • Reviews (0)
  • Be the first to review “Monisola Button Down Shirt in Alma Print”

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Be the first to review “Monisola Button Down Shirt in Alma Print”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Makers
  • Our expert seamstresses hand cut, sew and finish these garments for a living wage at their workshop on Brick Lane. Heba was established by a group of migrant women over 25 years ago, and are our primary makers of clothing. They continue to provide a safe space for migrant and refugee women today.

  • Additional information
  • Size

    UK 10, UK 12, UK 14, UK 8

  • Reviews (0)
  • Be the first to review “Monisola Button Down Shirt in Alma Print”

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Be the first to review “Monisola Button Down Shirt in Alma Print”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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Birdsong Studios Summer 2018 Lookbook

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.

Shop the first drop here.

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

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Birdsong Studios Spring 2018 Lookbook

Birdsong Studios Spring 2018

Birdsong Studios Spring line is here, comprising a clever collection of easy to wear, reimagined classics. Expect fresh, modern workwear in muted ice cream and sorbet hues, and basics elevated through texture. Expertly fashioned blocks are given a new twist with abstract motifs, sports stripes and and bold colour stories. Crafted, cut and tailored for a living wage by the finest women’s workshops in London.

Shop the first drop here.

About our makers

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.

Embroidery details designed by Birdsong, and machine stitched by Mona at a community sewing project. A queen of her community,  Mona provides training, sewing classes and moral support to the Poplar housing estate in which she’s based.

Hand-painted daisy and orange motifs by a group of migrant and low income women based in Bow. Roksana and the gang practise their fine painting for Birdsong while their children attend school in the same building.

The women at each of these groups are each paid a London Living Wage per hour to manufacture goods for Birdsong.

Our collection was predominantly made from reclaimed, recycled textiles courtesy of Traid.Dress and sweatshirt by Know The Origin. T-shirts manufactured ethically by Stanley & Stella.

Design / Susanna Wen at Birdsong

Photography / Sophie Davidson

Hair & Makeup / Nohelia Reyes

Styling & Creative Direction / Birdsong

Models / Maya-Roisin Slater & Julia Brown

Shot at P.I.G. Studios

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Birdsong Gift Guide

The Definitive Birdsong Gift Guide

We rounded up the best of the best so you don’t have to. Featuring a selection of stock that’ll be on sale IRL from some of our friends stocking in our Festive Concept Store from 14th-19th December in Hoxton.

For your housemate

Buy IRL instore

Buy IRL instore – and meet the author!

Buy IRL instore

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Love Stories: about this dress

Love Stories:

About this dress

This is the dress I wear when I need a coat of armour. It’s silky, billowy and deceptively easy to wear. I’ve started to wear it to the events I need to be at my most glamorous for, and a couple of times during the week to work. I like it best thrown on with a t-shirt, sheer tights just visible through the side vents, and a scruffy pair of my oxblood docs. If I were a slightly more sophisticated human, I would wear it with highlighter on my cheekbones, stilettos and not much else.

It’s a reincarnation of a much-loved dress I destroyed last year. My body swelled out of the previous version until it was no longer fit for purpose. It was grease stained too, from late night chip eating, and sewn up repeatedly along the back seam. On my first weekend in London, I followed a new friend drunkenly over a wrought iron fence and split it completely at the back. I tied a jumper around my waist, and me and the dress carried on the adventure.

This version is more ‘me’. Softer, and more forgiving. Gets along well with most others. Attention seeking at times, but comfortable on it’s own.

Get your own satin dream dress  here.

Paintings by Matisse.

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The Best Ethical Brands by Birdsong

Though it’s hard to admit, Birdsong aren’t the perfect one-stop-shop ethical utopia of your dreams just yet. Though we’re building and growing, we know that sometimes you want to shop around. We also know how hard it is to shop ethically, and to find things that are actually, you know, cute – without compromising your morals. So here’s a round up of our favourite ethical brands, some of which are members and soon-to-be members of the Birdsong family. Have we left someone great out? Give us your suggestions in the comments.

About Arianne.

Best for: shoes for a lifetime

About Arianne is a slow-fashion footwear brand from Barcelona, Spain. Their shoes are 100% Made in Spain, manufactured on site in La Rioja and developed at brand’s local studio headquarters in Poble Nou, Barcelona. About Arianne believe that shoes are made for walking, so each pair is super comfortable. Watch out for their beautiful boots hitting Birdsong for AW17.

http://aboutarianne.com

Aries

Best for: designer denim & logo tees

Started by Palace founder and graphic designer “Ferg” Purcell and Sofia Prantera, Aries is a high fashion brand with an anti-fashion sentiment. Embodying themes of youth and so called “trash” culture, the brand’s unconventional pattern cutting and 80s skater style branding have caught the attentions of fashion editors all over.

https://www.ariesarise.com

Tictail/ELB Handmade

Best for: bras under £15

For anyone who finds Etsy slightly overwhelming, Tictail is your curated answer. Home to a selection of small businesses, it’s where I found these simple, fabric bras for a total steal. The underwear is simple in construction but come in a variety of cute fabrics, from embroidered lace to emoji-nipple heart appliqué. With bras starting from just £10, all handmade in Norwich and going up to a 38D, you’d be hard pressed to choose the high street.

https://tictail.com/s/elbhandmade

Pico

Best for: basic pants

Our pals over at Pico have gone to India on a quest to make the perfect organic pants. For boys, girls and everyone else, these briefs were a firm favourite at the Birdsong concept store we held in December 2016. Not only do founders Isobel and Pheobe make the perfect, softest, comfiest high-waisted pants, they also do a fantastic job of plotting out and explaining their entire supply chain. Learn about all the work that goes into covering your bum below.

http://www.project-pico.com/about/

Veja

Best for: great looking trainers

Veja pledge transparency, organic materials and fair trade sourcing in the making of their trainers. They also have a good amount of information on their site about the provenance of each material they use, limitations and what they’re doing to offset environmental damage. A bit on the pricey side, but check for regular sales and their ‘outlet’ section too. My favourite bit about this brand is that they don’t look ethical – I’ve had tonnes of compliments on mine, and their added ethics always put the compliment giver’s Reeboks to shame.

http://www.veja-store.com

FashionAble

Best for: the perfect leather bag

The hunt for the perfectly sized black leather handbag lasted for six months until I found these babies online. I was overjoyed to learn that they are made by women artisans employed in Mexico and Ethiopia, so ordered a batch for the shop. They remain one of our bestsellers today.

Buy here.

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Survival guides: Tattoos as self-care

Survival Guides #1

The first in our series of survival guides, we’re taking inspiration from Frances Cannon’s self-care tattoo club.

 

Although stabbing yourself repeatedly with a needle might not sound like a particularly soothing endeavour, the small satisfactions of looking after a part of yourself, watching it heal, and committing to a mantra can make your self-love manifest. We asked the Birdsong flock for their self-care tattoos.

From left to right. Biju; Hobbes; Claire – “taken from a letter my father wrote to me before he passed away, its his hand writing and says ‘take care sweatheart’.”; Sophie – “the last twelve months have been heartbreakingly hard, this is a reminder that I might not feel tough enough but that I’m definitely trying.”; Hobbes again, and Em. Milly – “I have “Fail Better” done, it comes from a Beckett play”; Rosie – “I have ‘me’ in a heart, stay sassy (which was self care for me at the time!), still ill and I’m dead sad but no one will believe me which are kinda self care in just accepting my mental health I guess”; Robyn – “I have “I am in training ,dont kiss me”; Sarah – “I’ve got “tough mind and tender heart”, “be the change you wish to see in the world”.

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The Gift Guide: Your Crush

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The week we’re giving you gift inspiration for the one you want to smush. From cosy sweatshirts you can borrow back on sleepovers to blooms to make them swoon, we’ve got your crush quite literally covered. From left to right: Birdsong Organic Hand-painted Pomegranate Tee; Brothers We Stand Recycled Sweatshirt; Quazi Design Recycled Magazine Ring; Posies Bunch by Bread & Roses

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The Gift Guide: Your Bestie

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Treat your right hand person with the gift of excellent literature and cosy, made to last Birdsong knits. From left to right: Heather Hand-knitted Jumper in Spice, Zadie Smith’s new critically acclaimed book Swing Time, available in all good book shops. Moebius Silver Necklace, handcrafted by survivors of human trafficking. Hand-knitted Half & Half Scarf.

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Your body suits you

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From left to right: Guerrilla Girls; Erase Discrimination, 1999. See their current exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery, from now until March 2017. Reclaimed textile rose Bodysuit – £35. Quote from Pinterest. Below: Mark Rothko; Pink on Pink, 1953. Mursal in the Rose Bodysuit. Warsan Shire quote. Buzzfeed, 12 Things People Don’t Understand About Eating Disorders.