Posted on

Sustainability 101: Bamboo is cool

Sustainability 101: Bamboo is cool

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. Welcome to our Sustainability 101 series, where we’ll be sharing our expertise on different fabrics, and sharing our own practises towards a better world.

Bamboo is a natural fabric with hypoallergenic properties. It feels buttery soft on skin, and is a strong fibre, meaning your clothes will stick around and be longer lasting. Our bamboo jumpsuits and shirts will keep their shape for years, and are easy to care for with no need for fabric softener due to their silky softness. Bamboo is also super absorbent and antimicrobial, keeping you cool and sweat patch free in any sticky situations. But there’s also some clever sustainable benefits to our favourite new fabric.

Bamboo is the fastest growing grass, and it can grow up to a metre a day, making it a brilliantly sustainable resource. Growing the plant also helps soil quality, prevents soil erosion, and is done totally free from pesticides. On top of that, bamboo can store 4 x times the amount of C02 than other trees its size, and produces 35% more oxygen. Sounds too good to be true, right?

The part to watch out for when sussing out the sustainability of bamboo is the processing. Like most bamboo, ours is treated in order to make bamboo viscose yarn. Our supplier uses a sustainable, closed loop system to ensure none of the chemicals used in this process are dumped into waterways, and the chemicals are instead fully recycled to make paper and soap. The yarns used in our clothing are certified by OEKO-TEX 100 as being free from harmful chemicals.

This makes our bamboo more sustainable than typical high street versions, which can still be harmful to people and the environment because of their chemical processing that ends up in rivers and drinking water. Some high street brands even use as little as 5% bamboo in their “bamboo” rayon clothing, with the rest being a slurry of chemicals. Not good. Our suppliers only use the highest quality, closed loop bamboo yarn, and are also working on getting their dyes certified, though assure us that they’re already safe.

Shop Bamboo

  • Muinat Black Bamboo Silk Kimono Dress With Contrast Stitching

    £125.00
    Add to Bag
  • Richmond Black Bamboo Silk Shirt With Contrast Stitching

    £140.00
    Add to Bag
  • Sanford Jumpsuit in Black Bamboo Silk

    £145.00
    Add to Bag
Posted on

Birdsong X Beyond Retro Pop Up

It’s our birthday and we’re inviting you to celebrate 4 years at the forefront of better fashion with us. We’re bringing our cult pop up shop to Dalston, in collaboration with legendary vintage brand Beyond Retro.

Shop original clothing, ceramics and prints made for fair wages in London. As seen in i-D, Refinery29, Time Out, Dazed and more.

Events, free drinks, and fairtrade chocolate from Divine. Open from 10.30am from Wednesday 5th – Sunday 9th September at Beyond Retro Dalston, 92 – 100 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XB.

We also have amazing events lined up. Buy tickets below to avoid disappointment.

Positive Activism: A Panel Discussion

It seems like there are more reasons than ever to become an activist. But how do you go about doing that while whilst also staying inspired and having fun? From period poverty, to representation of women of colour, protecting trans lives and opening up the conversation around mental health, meet the women at the forefront of today’s breed of creative, positive activism.

Buy tickets here early to avoid disappointment. Each comes with a free drink, Divine chocolate and a £5 voucher to spend in store. All profits go to supporting the women’s charities and communities groups Birdsong work with.

Speakers

Charlie Craggs is an award winning activist and writer of To My Trans Sisters.
Scarlett Curtis is a Sunday Times columnist, writer, blogger and founder of Pink Protest, a community for feminist activists around the globe.
Leah Abraham is a writer of arts, culture, and environmental issues.
Charly Cox is a 23-year-old writer, producer and poet.

A Comedy Night That Passes The Bechdel Test

Hosted by Liberty Hodes & Lauren Stone, Beyond Retro & Birdsong bring you a night of comedy from women at the forefront of feminist stand-up.

Get tickets here. Each comes with a free drink, Divine chocolate and a £5 voucher to spend in store. All profits go to supporting the women’s charities and communities groups Birdsong work with.

Featuring

Shon Faye – former lawyer, writer, presenter, artist, comedian, an activist for LGBTQ, women’s, and mental health rights based and editor-at-large at Dazed.

Sophie Duker have written for  British Broadcasting Co-orporation (Famlam, BBC2; The News Quiz, The Now Show, BBC Radio 4) and Cartoon Network (The Amazing World of Gumball).

Athena Kugblenu is a 2017 nominee for the 99 Club Female Comedians’ Bursary. She writes for BBC Radio 4 (News Quiz), regularly records stand up for BBC radio and in 2017 performed at the Johannesburg International Comedy Festival.

Samantha is an award-winning comedian and actress trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Samantha’s acting credits include The Crown, Silent Witness, Call the Midwife and several BBC Comedies.

Posted on

The fabric that’s changing the game for us

Four reasons we love khadi

For our latest collections, we used a traditional, hand spun and woven fair trade fabric called khadi. There are plenty of reasons to love khadi, from its natural texture and composition to being the perfect thing to wear next to skin. Here we go into four reasons why.

1. It gets better with age.

Your khadi pieces will soften with age, so the longer you wear them and love them, the comfier they get and the more the fabric will relaxes into the curves of your body. Khadi holds up well in the machine and will move better with your shape after several washes. We recommend washing at 30 degrees (better for the fibres and for the environment) and hanging outside to dry if the weather is good enough, or inside on a drying rack

2. It’s super versatile.

In its variously weighted forms, hadi can be a trusty friend throughout the year. From light and breezy dresses in the summer months, to heavier jackets and trousers to see you through the winter. Because it’s made from natural fibres, it’ll help you regulate your temperature better than sticky synthetics.

3. It’s a movement.

In the midst of British colonialism in India, Khadi became an effective vehicle for community action. In the first two decades of the twentieth century, Gandhi simultaneously reinvigorated the hand-spinning and handweaving traditions in India, and boycotted foreign cloth. In doing this, he was able to bring back self-employment and self-reliance in rural areas. Post British rule, khadi remains a symbol of autonomy.

4. Fair wages.

Social impact is kind of our thing. The production of khadi provides work to around one million people in India, eighty percent of which women and the majority of which are from the poorest communities in India. All this is regulated to ensure that both spinners and weavers are fairly paid. Once our khadi reaches us here in London, it is cut and sewn by our expert seamstresses in Limehouse and Brick Lane (for a living wage, obvs).

Shop our khadi pieces here.

  • Still I Rise Embroidered Organic Cotton Sweatshirt

    £65.00
    Add to Bag
  • Melissa Straight Legged Trousers in Alma Print

    £125.00
    Add to Bag
  • Monisola Button Down Shirt in Alma Print

    £125.00
    Add to Bag
  • Mariam Wide Legged Trousers in Alma Print

    £125.00
    Add to Bag
  • Khandiz Side Pocket Kimono in Alma Print

    £115.00
    Add to Bag
  • Elle T-shirt Dress in Alma Print

    £110.00
    Add to Bag
  • Lydia Tie Back Top in Alma Print

    £82.00
    Add to Bag
  • Summer Tote Bag in Alma Print

    £24.00
    Add to Bag
Posted on

She Must Be Mad – A collaboration with Charly Cox

She Must Be Mad –
A collaboration with Charly Cox

We’ve long been a fan of 22 year old wonder woman Charly Cox. A producer and fashion assistant in a past life, Charly’s already varied-beyond-her-years repertoire now includes published poet and mental health activist.Though she only started sharing her poetry with the world 18 months ago to her loyal Instagram following, a book deal with Harper Collins followed and sees her debut book published this very week. She’s since been asked to be Virgin Radio’s poet in residence, been published on Refinery29, hosted poetry nights to raise money and awareness for MQ Mental Health and been named by ELLE magazine as one of their 20 power players to watch out for in 2018.

She Must Be Mad is Charly’s first book and is out on Thursday 12th July. As natural allies in the world of taboo smashing, feminism and supporting mental health, we teamed up to make a limited edition organic cotton t-shirt. To celebrate, we headed out to the countryside, joining Charly at home with pets Peanut and Piper to hear more about the book in her own words.

Pre-order Charly’s book, and our t-shirt today. £1 from each t-shirt sale goes to MQ, funding vital research into young people’s mental health. Design by Charly, embroidery by Mona.

How did you get into poetry?

I think I’ve probably been writing poetry long before I realised that’s what it was. As a kid, my favourite books were always the ones that were lyrical, and then as a teenager I was scribbling odes to boys at school in the backs of homework planners. Now, it feels like one of the few things I do that keeps me semi sane.

I started consciously writing as a form of therapy, to untangle all of the lost and confused thoughts and feelings I had, in a desperation to claim them and make them tangible. Now they’re in a book! Crazy!

What’s your favourite piece of feedback on the book so far?

Cecelia Ahern tweeted last week that she wished she’d had it at sixteen but was pleased she had it now. I screamed in a strangers face on Oxford Street and then burst into tears. I don’t think it’ll ever get better than that.

“I started consciously writing as a form of therapy, to untangle all of the lost and confused thoughts and feelings I had, in a desperation to claim them and make them tangible. Now they’re in a book!”

What other themes did you want to explore in your work?

Before I started writing the collection, I thought that the bulk of the book would be focused on depression and bipolar but as I began to unpick what the main anxieties of my teens and early twenties have been – I realised so much of it has been over my body. It was really frightening, reading back on old diaries and phone notes to see how unsettled I was, how often I still am and where that all comes from.

She Must Be Mad is split into four sections – She Must Be In Love, She Must Be Mad, She Must Be Fat and She Must Be An Adult. For me, they’ve been the four most defining points of blindly navigating a coming of age.

You talk about mental health a lot, why did you choose this particular phrase for the title of your book? Could explain about the work you do with MQ and being an ambassador?

It’s no well hidden secret that the percentage of young people facing mental illness and poor mental health is staggering, made no better by our lack of understanding, lack of resources and lack of funding. I was diagnosed with Bipolar ii Disorder when I was 17 and have peddled as much energy as I’ve had left to speak honestly and openly about it.

It was a murky journey of trial and error with medication and treatment and I was left incredibly frustrated. MQ Mental Health is a brilliant charity that helps to fund research into the science behind mental health – currently the UK only receives 6% of government spend when nearly 15 million people are living with a mental health condition. The more research we do, the better we can make our services and hopefully start to understand properly why and how so many of us suffer.

What’s your favourite piece from the Birdsong collection?

I love the ‘Still I Rise’ t-shirt. Maya is a babe.

What do you like about Birdsong?

No sweatshop, no photoshop! Shout it louder for the people at the back. There is no sweeter greater thing in knowing that every gorgeous thing you purchase from Birdsong is supporting and enabling women from charities and workshops to learn a craft and make a fair wage.

 

‘She Must Be Mad’ is out on Harper Collins this Thursday 12th July. 

Birdsong x Charly Cox ‘She Must Be Mad’ Embroidered Tee

£32.00

We’ve collaborated with poet, producer and mental health spokesperson Charly Cox to create this super limited edition tee.  £1 from each t-shirt sale goes to MQ, a charity funding vital research into young people’s mental health.

This shirt is on a pre-order schedule – expect your t-shirt within 2-4 weeks of ordering. You’ll be notified via email when your order is shipped.

Machine embroidered onto ethically made 100% Organic Combed Cotton tees by Mona and her friends. Mona runs a community sewing school Bow Sewing Centre on a housing estate in Poplar, Tower Hamlets. Mona is a real fixture of the community and money from these t-shirts goes to her sewing lessons for women from low income backgrounds, and people with disabilities.​

Single Jersey 100% Organic ring-spun Combed Cotton. 155 gsm.

A round semi-mock neck, form fitting tee. Cut in a wide rib, soft, fabric washed organic combed cotton. Set-in sleeve, wide 1×1 rib neck collar. Inside back neck tape in self fabric. Sleeve hem and bottom hem with wide double topstitch. Go up a size if you prefer a relaxed fit. Not sure how it’ll fit? Check our t-shirt supplier’s size guide here.

Clear
  • Organic
  • Sustainable Fabric
  • Limited Edition
  • Makers
  • Mona runs a community sewing school Bow Sewing Centre on a housing estate in Poplar, Tower Hamlets. Mona is a real fixture of the community and money from these t-shirts goes to her sewing lessons for women from low income backgrounds, and people with disabilities.​

  • Additional information
  • Weight 0.2 kg
    Dimensions 30 × 20 × 2 cm
    Size

    XS, S, M, L

    Fit & Fabric

    Set-in sleeve with drop shoulder
    1×1 rib neck collar
    Self fabric tape on inside back neck and across the shoulders, two needle chain topstitch
    Sleeve hem and bottom hem with flatlock stitch
    Side seams with flatlock stitch
    100% Organic ring-spun Combed Cotton
    200 gsm

  • Reviews (0)
  • Be the first to review “Birdsong x Charly Cox ‘She Must Be Mad’ Embroidered Tee”

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

Be the first to review “Birdsong x Charly Cox ‘She Must Be Mad’ Embroidered Tee”

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

  • Makers
  • Mona runs a community sewing school Bow Sewing Centre on a housing estate in Poplar, Tower Hamlets. Mona is a real fixture of the community and money from these t-shirts goes to her sewing lessons for women from low income backgrounds, and people with disabilities.​

  • Additional information
  • Weight 0.2 kg
    Dimensions 30 × 20 × 2 cm
    Size

    XS, S, M, L

    Fit & Fabric

    Set-in sleeve with drop shoulder
    1×1 rib neck collar
    Self fabric tape on inside back neck and across the shoulders, two needle chain topstitch
    Sleeve hem and bottom hem with flatlock stitch
    Side seams with flatlock stitch
    100% Organic ring-spun Combed Cotton
    200 gsm

  • Reviews (0)
  • Be the first to review “Birdsong x Charly Cox ‘She Must Be Mad’ Embroidered Tee”

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

Be the first to review “Birdsong x Charly Cox ‘She Must Be Mad’ Embroidered Tee”

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

Posted on

The Round-up: Going For Gold

The Round-up:

Going For Gold

Happy Wednesday Flock. As always we’ve rounded up the best cultural digest to send straight to you. Got any suggestions of anything you’d like to see? Want to do a shout out for a pal? Get in touch.

For this weekly dose of goodness subscribe to our newsletter here.

Chrystal Genesis and Heta Fell of Stance Podcast. Photography by Grace Gelder.

We’re listening

At Birdsong we love a new podcast discovery, and this week’s is no exception. Launched on Trump’s inauguration day, Stance Podcast “is an independent arts, culture and current affairs podcast exploring diverse, global perspectives”. Exploring everything from colourism, to cults and Grenfell Tower survivors, it has everything an engaged and interested person would want to hear about.

https://stancepodcast.com/

We’re reading

Amy Sherald’s new portrait of Michelle Obama

“Evidence of power is more elusive in Sherald’s paintings. Her models are black, and they are creatures of fashion who stand upright against backdrops of pastel monochrome.”

Inside Dollypalooza, the Epic Dolly Parton Fan Festival

“It’s a celebration of Dolly Parton,” Faibyshev explains, “but also, it’s a celebration of being the best version of yourself.” The evening includes burlesque shows, trivia games, and a costume contest that sees drag queens flaunt their best Dolly Looks.”

We’re watching

Mirai Nagasu is the First American Woman to Land a Triple Axel

A collection of Ted Talks by black women.

We’re wearing

Go for Gold in our limited edition Kore Lurex Trousers, as worn by customer Ruth.

Kore Tailored Trousers in Lurex Stripe

£82.00

Tailored trousers in structural, reclaimed lurex stripe. High waist, side-fastening, and slight crop.

Clear
  • Made in the UK
  • Sustainable Fabric
  • Limited Edition
  • Makers
  • Our skilled 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 16, UK 18, UK 8

    Materials & care

    This fabric is reclaimed so the exact composition is unknown. Wash with similar colours at thirty degrees.

    Shipping & origin

    Hand made by migrant seamstresses in East London. Ships from London, UK.

  • Reviews (0)
  • Be the first to review “Kore Tailored Trousers in Lurex Stripe”

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

Be the first to review “Kore Tailored Trousers in Lurex Stripe”

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

  • Makers
  • Our skilled 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 16, UK 18, UK 8

    Materials & care

    This fabric is reclaimed so the exact composition is unknown. Wash with similar colours at thirty degrees.

    Shipping & origin

    Hand made by migrant seamstresses in East London. Ships from London, UK.

  • Reviews (0)
  • Be the first to review “Kore Tailored Trousers in Lurex Stripe”

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

Be the first to review “Kore Tailored Trousers in Lurex Stripe”

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

The round up : Melanin Millennials, magCulture & Bethnals

1. Melanin Millennials

We love this new podcast by Londoners Imrie and Satia. The two young black women discuss everything topical, from British pop culture to socio-economic issues, bringing their distinct perspectives and experiences as women of colour to the table. Topics are serious, yet relatable and fun, making the show refreshingly interesting.

Have a listen on Soundcloud.

 

480x270_79008

Image taken from Stitcher 

2. magCulture's first retail shop

magCulture’s founder Jeremy Leslie felt it was about time London got a proper magazine shop. The indie magazine’s first physical store, carefully curated to create a unique browsing experience, just opened its doors in Clerkenwell. Alongside established magazine names you will find a changing selection of smaller titles, selected for the quality of their editorial style and design. We can’t wait to check it out.

 

MAGCULTURE_012

Image from Creative Review

3. Bethnals

There is no better way to blur gender boundaries than through unisex clothing. Bethnals, London’s unisex denim brand, embarks us on a gender break with simple, long-lasting gender-neutral denim inspired by the diverse cultural hub of London. Definitely worth the detour for those who steal their boyfriend and girlfriend’s jeans or fancy more androgynous styles.

 

Screen-shot-2015-02-03-at-13.38.00

Image taken from Denimblog

Posted on

Win a £75 Birdsong gift card with Pinterest

Win £75

 

In the run up to Christmas and to celebrate the launch of our #AsWeAre campaign, we are giving you the chance to win a £75 gift card to spend on whatever you want from the Birdsong website.

Entering the competition is simple, just  take the following 4 steps. The competition will be judged by us. We will announce the winner on Wednesday 9th December.

To join the competition you will need to:

1. Follow Birdsong London on Pinterest.

2. Choose your favourite image from our website and pin it.

3. In the comment section of your pin please write a short comment about why you chose this particular image, using the hastag #AsWeAre so we can find you.

4. The best response wins. Good luck!

To see the full terms and conditions, click here.

Posted on

Deeds Not Words

Suffragettes. Deeds not words - Birdsong

Deeds Not Words: Show your support for our sisters from the past by wearing a piece from our specially selected Suffragette Collection.

It was hard to miss the arrival of the film Suffragette on our screens this October; particularly with the lively protest against domestic violence by protest group Sisters Uncut, staged at the world premiere of the film in Leicester Square. The 2015 film is the first time an entire feature length film has been devoted to the subject of the struggle for women’s suffrage in the UK during the early 20th Century.

sisters uncut

It is a story of the true fight so many brave women fought just to obtain their right to the vote. Often with violence, used by them and against them, imprisonment and for many the fight saw women lose their families, livelihoods and their place in society as they knew it. On behalf of Birdsong, I went to see the film and have collated a special collection of our clothes, so you too can help support the Suffragette movement, supporting those women who fought in the past and supporting our sisters in Saudi who still to this day are denied the right to vote.

The Suffragette colours of white, green and purple are particularly prevalent in Suffragette, with directors Sarah Gavron and Abi Morgan, subtly weaving these colours wherever possible throughout the film. green, white and purple bannerThe film is a dark story and does not feature the light hearted singing or sash wearing featured in Disney’s Mary Poppins; which is still the way so many of us are introduced to the Suffragette movement as young children.

Cary Mulligan, a staunch fighter for women’s rights and equality, plays the protagonist Maud Watts. Maud is a working class laundry worker who despite the wishes of her abusive overseer and her caring but oppressed husband, she finds her voice within the Suffragette movement. We watch as Maud begins to get involved in the more violent protests, leading to her incarceration, hunger protest and eventually the loss of her employment at the laundry, the home in which she once lived, her married life and her beloved child.  Her son was put up for adoption by her own husband, as he was unable to cope on his own with the young boy nor with the humiliation her participation within the movement bought on his family on their East End street or in the laundry in which they both had worked since a young age.maud Maud shows her resilience and determination, staying true to her cause despite everything. Channel your inner Maud by wearing our Audre Tartin Midi Skirt a beautiful plaid skirt of green and navy, the skirt is made by women’s group Heba who support new migrant women in Brick Lane, helping them to find work, make friends at feel at home. A very different environment to the Edwardian laundry featured in Suffragette where we saw child labour, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and workers oppression. Birdsong is proud to say that 70% of the money from your purchase goes back to Heba, a group fighting to give their women a place in our society.

Suffragette highlights the work of Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) which was a cross-class movement, a fact not to be dismissed in a time where society was bound and segregated by the class system. Maud and Violet from the laundry, were in the same WSPU division as shopkeeper Mrs Ellyn, who in turn were all friends with Mrs Haughton, the upper class wife of a politician. suffragettes togetherTheir class did not matter, it was their belief that women should have the right to vote that drove them on and saw them work together; whether they were in prison, at a protest or awaiting an audience with Emmeline Pankhurst. Pankhurst is often viewed as the most famous suffragette, the founder of the WSPU, Pankhurst is played by inspirational actor and women’s activist, Meryl Streep. Two problems we see affecting women today, irrespective of their class or their place in society, are eating disorders and drug addictions. It does not matter where you were born or to whom, these are battles many women face every day in the UK and across the globe. Sweet Cavanagh is based in Notting Hill; women come to this support group to receive help and counselling but also to learn how to make jewellery which we sell at Birdsong. This November, wear our Purple Passion Necklace or buy it as a Christmas gift for a friend or sister and show your support for women fighting battles every day. The film Suffragette is an important film in so many ways; teaching us about the fight fought by so many for the right to vote we all enjoy today; teaching us that as women our voice is so powerful and that when we work together, leaving aside all the judgements of society, we can change lives. I would certainly recommends a trip to the cinema to see Suffragette and we at Birdsong hope you like the pieces we chose to honour the film and the wonderful women who worked so hard, as all of our makers do today.

Here’s our suffragette collection:

Beth Purple and Gold Necklace by Sweet Cavanagh
Beth Purple and Gold Necklace by Sweet Cavanagh – £54

Audre Tartan Midi Skirt by Heba. Ethically made in London. No sweatshops, no photoshop.
Audre Tartan Midi Skirt by Heba – £34

Zandi Pulp Ring by Quazi Design. Ethically made in Swaziland. No sweatshops, no photoshop.
Zandi Pulp Ring by Quazi Design £18

Purple Passion Necklace by Sweet Cavanagh. Ethically made in London. No sweatshops, no photoshop.
Purple Passion Necklace by Sweet Cavanagh – £36.00

Umi Unisex Bomber by KHAMA. Ethically made in Malawi. No sweatshops, no photoshop.
Umi Unisex Bomber by KHAMA – £64.00

White Denim Hand Painted Jacket by Mohila. Ethically made in London. No sweatshops, no photoshop.
White Denim Hand Painted Jacket by Mohila – £44.00

This piece was written Vicky, a long-time friend of the Birdsong team. She helps us out by providing her support, cooking us lovely dinners and making us a lovely cup of tea.

Posted on

Fashion month: The round up – who used the most diverse models?

Who used the most diverse models in Fashion Month? - Birdsong

Fashion month has come and gone – so how are we doing on the diversity front? In a round up of SS16 Fashion Season, it has emerged that 79% of models were white.

Prada at Milan Fashion Week. Source: F.Tape

Looking at the 117 key shows from New York, London, Milan and Paris, The Business of Fashion has concluded that only 797 models of colour were featured all month demonstrating that the lack of diversity that still exists within the industry.

So, which fashion houses used the most varied models? The New York Fashion Week definitely lead the way in the use of diverse models and Chromat had one of the most multicultural shows of the week. 70% were racially diverse. In addition, the creative director of Chromat, Becca McCharen, booked two plus-size models: Denise Bidot and Sabina Karlsson – a definite improvement on previous shows.

Models backstage at the Chromat show. Source: FashNerd

Carrie Hammer’s “Role Models Not Runway Models” featured 27 powerful women rather than a more mainstream list. She included CEOs, entrepreneurs, journalists and an Olympic gold medalist to walk the runway during the NY fashion week. She aimed to recognise the achievements of a diverse group of women as well as showcasing her new collection.

With 60% of diverse models, Tracy Reese and Sophie Theallet weren’t far behind Chromat. Reese is a leader in the industry for diversity but Theallet is a new addition, casting 25 models of colour out of 42. A vast improvement on last season where she only cast one model of colour. Kanye West also included a diverse presentation. Gypsy Sport also deserve a mention for sending a cast of radically diverse street cast models down its runway, including a pregnant model, and an older female artist known as No-Bra.

The Tracy Reece show. Source: Mane Addicts

Backstage at Sophie Theallet. Source: Sonny Photos

In summary, whilst there is still a long way to go, improvement has been made with the numbers of diverse models up 4% from the previous season. ‘Diversity innovation has begun and some in the fashion industry have woken up to the influence they can choose to have if they want to operate as enlightened practitioners,’ – Caryn Franklin.

This piece was written by Ella, who has been placed with us from Digital Mums – online training and flexible jobs for mums who want to get back into work.

Sources: Jaclyn Peiser, Fortune Ted Stansfield, Dazed Fusion Net.