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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.

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Birdsong Loves: The Vulgar at Barbican

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Clockwise from left; Ariana Crystal Sweet Cavanagh bracelet, Hand-painted Organic Cotton Shell tee, Vivienne Westwood & Malcolm McClaren’s ‘Sex’ shop, as freelanced in the exhibition, the vulgarity of pink fabric. Below, Vivienne Westwood ‘tits’ t-shirt, Edna in our #AsWeAreCampaign, Channel’s Fall/Winter 2014-15 collection, some pieces of which feature in the exhibition.

The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined
Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK 13 October 2016 – 5 February 2017

The Birdsong team went to see some so called ‘vulgar’ fashion displays at The Barbican this weekend. From 18th century court wear to last season’s Gucci, the exhibition is a celebration of pop culture and excess. Recreate your own rococo/punk look with our moodboard inspired by the collection.

“Potent, provocative and sometimes shocking, the word vulgar conjures up strong images, ideas and feelings in us all. The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined is the first exhibition to consider this inherently challenging but utterly compelling territory of taste…fashion itself is shown to be inherently vulgar; but more especially when it is perceived to be too popular, excessive, sexualised, kitsch or camp.

One of the exhibition’s themes directly explores the relationship of fashion to the body; both through over exposure using lace and body stockings to simultaneously reveal and conceal the body in looks from Louis Vuitton and Pam Hogg; and the exaggerated body, where the body is explored and its erogenous zones are amplified in looks such as Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s tits top.

Some installations are devoted to certain materials, accessories, fashion labels and embellishments that have come to embody, at different times, the supposedly vulgar; such as gold, velvet, pearls and spangles.”

Visit Barbican website for tickets.