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This IWD, support #WorkerToWearer

This IWD go back to movement’s roots and support #WorkerToWearer

This year will mark 110 years since the protest of 15,000 women garment workers in New York City, sparking events that went on to form International Women’s Day. We’ve achieved amazing things in the past few years with the women’s movement.

Birdsong is going back to the day’s roots and asking you to take a pledge to support the women garment workers of today and tomorrow. With an estimated 40 million garment workers worldwide, 90% are women and girls. They’re facing poor conditions, unfair pay, and risking the sack for standing up for their rights or finding themselves pregnant.

This year stand with Birdsong and vow to support a different way of doing things with #WorkerToWearer. Read more about the origins story of IWD over at i-D, where co-founder Sophie has written a piece about the history of the day and it what it means for brands today.

Feel connected to your fellow women, from worker to wearer, by watching our t-shirts be embroidered by Mona, at her community sewing school on a housing estate in Tower Hamlets. Mona is a real fixture of the community and £5 from our £26  t-shirts goes to her sewing lessons for women from low income backgrounds, and people with disabilities. Watch Mona at work here:

  • Rosa Round Neck Abstract Embroidered Tee

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  • Birdsong X Know The Origin Embroidered Organic Sweatshirt

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  • Pre-order ‘Still I Rise’ Embroidered Organic Cotton Tee

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  • Birdsong X Clio Peppiatt Embroidered Bamboo Panther Knickers

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International Women’s Day should be a celebration of rights for all. Let’s make that happen. Share your vows for a better fashion industry in the comments or on our hashtag #WorkerToWearer.

Here our head office team share their expectations and hopes for the year.

Sophie, Co-Founder & Brand Director: “International Women’s Day should be a celebration of the right to fulfilling and fair work, for the wages we all deserve. That’s why I founded Birdsong to empower all from #WearerToWorker”

Sarah, Co-Founder & Managing Director: “IWD has become so broad and grown so much, which is great. But for me it’s got to be about celebrating the unsung women. That’s really what we’re trying to do with Birdsong, hopefully giving access to women who would usually be passed by when it comes to movements like this – and creating beautiful things in the process.”

Susanna, Designer & Head of Production: “As our makers at Birdsong are all local, I get to visit a lot of them every few weeks and it is a pleasure to get to know them and their cultures (and often their cuisine!) I know this is a rarity in the fashion industry as often the person has made your clothes is on the other side of the world. I’ll be celebrating this IWD with one of our Maker groups Fabric works, sharing one of our universal passions- lunch!”

We’re also pairing up with Hodder to give away one feminist themed book every week in March. All you need to do is a refer a friend.

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Warning: Empowering Valentine’s Content

Warning: Empowering Valentine’s Content

Happy Valentine’s day. Whether you love or loathe it, we hope you’re spending this week full of pancakes and fuzzy feelings.

To celebrate love in all it’s earthly and less tenuous forms today, we thought we’d go back through our archive and celebrate some of the amazing women we’ve been working with over the years.

That includes you dear reader. We love you all. Thanks for choosing makers and clothes with love.

We’re reading

Everything I Know About Love
Dolly Alderton’s accounts of messy nights, female friendships and early adulthood is next up on our reading lists. After hearing her speak on the theme of friendships as the highest form of true love last year, we’re on board with her priorities.

Eat Up
Food is something you should love. And there’s not many better versed on the subject than wonderful Ruby Tandoh. Read her book or Women Cook For Me here.

How to Be Single
For anyone who’s ever spent Valentine’s day ‘single’, here’s a heartwarming, honest, wholesome account from 100 other people over on Manrepeller. Including this beautifully spot on quote to keep by your mental bedside: “I think the willful compromise that comes about from relationships is tender and necessary. I just don’t feel the need to engage with that now.”

A Compendium of Heartbreak
If, like me a couple of years back, dear reader, you have to felt the pain of a long relationship coming to an abrupt halt the week before Valentine’s, this may be the ticket you need. Things that also helped me: beautiful strangers giving me palm and tarot readers, crying and sleeping on friend’s sofas, buying easter eggs whenever you feel like it, Kelis Caught Out There on repeat…etc.

Here’s to great women, may we know them and be them

Anu & Liz, 2016.

We turned up at Anu’s flat a couple of years ago and her and Liz had been having a pizza sleepover with their pals. We stuck them in some jumpers and caught these tender moments.

Anu is an amazing DJ, illustrator and writer. She’s done sets for Resident Avisor, Boiler Room, and has her own radio show on NTS

Liz does ace stick and poke tattoos down in Peckham

Sophie Davidson is a dear friend. I used to look at her photographs lovingly in magazines, on Tumblr, and in zines ordered from afar. Imagine my surprise when I met her at a house party when I visiting London five years ago. She was really into feminism and feeding. We hit it off. She still takes most of our photos to this day. Check her newsletter out (featured above) if you’re not already.

Sophie wears the soon to be Reissued Mel Slip dress. Arriving in April. Pre-order via email.

We don’t have favourites amongst our makers (honest, we love you all), but if we did have to rate our makers on culinary bribery then Mohila would win by far. Not only do they have the best banter, Roksana, Shak Lema, Shemima and Sheerina make the best balti curry and egg bhuna you will ever taste. Just as well catering is their side hustle. Thanks for all the t-shirts gals.

Mohila make all our hand-painted goods.

Aisling Bea is our favourite ever comedian. Not only does she manage to get her jokes bang on the money, but she has pretty fabulous dress sense too. She puts passion into everything she does, whether that’s out getting lols, writing about mental health, or speaking about feminism, she’s a gal after our own hearts. Read our interview with Aisling from last year.

Did you enjoy this delightful digest? Want more stuff like this direct to your inbox? Sign up to our mailing list

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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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What’s in store at our Festive Shop?

What’s in store at our Festive Shop?

We’re back and bigger than ever. And it’s not just the finest thoughtful gifts we’re curating, but a whole host of events too. Expect crafternoons, free goodies, exciting panel discussions and evening events running all week. We’ll also have a child-friendly area in the shop for any caregivers this holiday season wanting to bring smaller humans along. Here’s a guide to what’s going on…

Wednesday 13th

Press Launch – 6-9pm
(email for invitation requests)

Thursday 14th

Public Launch Party 6-9pm

Friday 15th

From 2-5pm – BYOB (Bring your own baby) Mother and Child Zine Workshop
Drop in session with Birdsong co-founder Sophie and artist Megan Pickering. We’ll be providing collage materials, scissors and glue, as well as some examples of zines. Come together with your small one and make your own festive zine to give to loved ones.

Saturday 16th

TBC – Morning Yoga & Meditation Session with For The Core, (watch this space)


2 – 4pm – Slipper Making Workshop with Juta Shoes – Buy tickets here

Craft your own reclaimed leather espadrilles with social enterprise Juta. Juta teach marginalised women in East London shoe making as a means of income. Support their project and make your own shoes – with all materials provided. Juta shoes are made from environmentally-friendly jute soles sourced from Southern Spain and reclaimed leather from local factories.


8-10pm – Disco Night with Polyester Zine

Come for late night shopping and some tunes as the Birdsong Team and Ione, editor of cult feminist fashion zine Polyester, spin some tunes.


Sunday 17th

All day – Make Do and Mend Session with Susanna

Head Designer at Birdsong will be on her sewing machine for the day to offer advice on caring for clothes and minor repairs, making them last longer.


From 4 – 7pm – Feminist Book Club/Poems with Birdsong

Bring along your favourite stanzas to read out loud in a cosy and inclusive environment. Hosted by gal-dem journalist Ari Potter.


Monday 18th

 7 -8:30pm – Maintaining Optimism: A Panel with Sarah Corbett of Craftivist Collective, Charlie Craggs, Birdsong, Tskeyna and Chatterbox

2016/2017 were tough years for the best of us, but activism and the concept of intersectionality is thriving. What can we do to ensure we keep on making change and impact? Inspired by the infamous quote by Italian philosopher Gramsci, “Pessimism of the spirit; optimism of the will”, we’ll be asking four award winning activists and social enterprise founders what they do to maintain optimism in their work and personal lives.

Featuring panelists:
Sarah Corbett, is a published author, renowned Ted Talker and founder ofCraftivist Collective – a social enterprise which uses the technique of craftivism – combining craft and activism, to engage people in social justice issues “in a quiet, non-confrontational manner involving pretty, handcrafted gestures of defiance.”

Charlie Craggs is an award winning activist and writer of To My Trans Sisters. She founded trailblazing campaign Nail Transphobia in 2013 and has gone on to model for Selfridges (and Birdsong!), win awards with Marie Claire Future Shaper and the Observer New Radicals, and make the Rainbow List.

Mursal Hedayat is the founder refugee tutoring service, Chatterbox, which serves to solve the problem of under utilised refugee talent and has won awards from WeWork and seen Mursal interviewing David Milliband.

Tskenya-Sarah Frazer is the founder of a radically new, gender neutral, larger sized footwear brand TSKENYA – putting passion for feminist values and ethical production into the footwear line.

All speakers have stock on sale in our shop. Panel will include free drinks with the speakers and an opportunity to get books and gifts signed afterwards.


Tuesday 19th

 10am – 9pm – Closing evening. Come for late night shopping, mince pies and a chat with the Birdsong Founders.

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Birdsong’s Festive Feminist Concept Store is BACK

Following the success of our previous stores across London and Berlin, we’re back for the festive period to showcase our new collection. Our last three stores were featured in Style Bubble, Time Out, Dazed, i-D, Refinery29, The Debrief, and Metro.

We’re bringing together the best in feminist and ethical fashion and homewares under one roof. We’ll be stocking gifts from legendary, patented period pant brand THINX (all the way from New York), home goods from Aerende, shirts from cult Spanish brand Paloma Wool, gorgeous eco-candles, collections from London Fashion Week designer Clio Peppiatt, and much more.

Expect crafternoons, free goodies, exciting panel discussions and evening events running all week. We’ll also have a child-friendly area in the shop for any care givers this holiday season wanting to bring smaller humans along.

Full events schedule to follow. Invite friends via our Facebook event page.

We’ll be stocking:
– All Birdsong AW lines & some new, in-store exclusives
THINX Period Proof Pants
– Clothing by LFW designer Clio Peppiatt
– Cult knits by Hades
– Shirts by Paloma Wool
Such A Fan! painted clothes by Ibiye Camp
– Luxury ethical candles by M&J
– Knitwear by Mara
– Zines by Grrrl Zine Fair
– Gender neutral larger shoes by Tskenya
– Ethical basics by KTO
– Ethical slippers by Juta
– Ethical Homewares by Aerende
– Stationary, cards and comics by Clio Isadora
– Kits and books by Craftivist Collective
– Cards and gift vouchers by Chatterbox

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#BirdsongBecause – our Manifesto for Black Friday and beyond

Not another Black Friday…

The Birdsong Manifesto

We’re sorry. For the third year running, we’re not doing any sales, slashed prices, or everything must go panic.

We are, however, sharing our manifesto, for anyone who wonders what your money is  going towards creating. Share, have a read of our #BirdsongBecause campaign, or contribute to the hashtag to find our why we do what we do.

Want to see where our money goes? Hear from Roksana, Lema, Shamima and Sheerina.

Birdsong Because Campaign
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Birdsong Studios AW 2017 Lookbook

Birdsong Studios AW 2017

The first mainline collection from Birdsong Studios, created by exceptional women spanning the full spectrum of London. Designed in house by Susanna Wen, and hand cut, sewn, and finished by migrant women in Limehouse, Poplar and Shoreditch. Woollen sweaters and scarves were hand knitted in practised hands by older women in Enfield and Kingston.

Shop pieces here

This collection is dedicated to all the women – workers, wearers and beyond – who came together to create it. To all the women of our past, and the women whose futures we work towards.

Photography: Joanna Kiely / Creative Direction: Susanna Wen & Sophie Slater / Hair & Makeup: Daisy Moore / Styling: Susanna Wen & Alice Acreman / Assistants: Sarah Lumley & Claudia Nickolls / Models: Nina Markovic-Obiago & Georgia Haire

Shot on the Friary Estate, Peckham, and P.I.G. Studios.

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Power Tools: Dream Routines & Bedtime Rituals

Power Tools:
Dream Routines & Bedtime Rituals

As an on and off insomniac since I was a kid, it’s taken many years, different advice, and some firm rules to establish good “sleep hygiene”. Even then, changing seasons, where I live and the stresses of day before is enough to trigger eye bags than an Ikea carrier.

With the nights getting longer and winter fatigue firmly setting in, here are some crowdsourced tips for the difficult – and sometimes inappropriately timed – state of being conscious. Next week we’ll do morning routines that get you skipping out of bed. (Comment with any tips).

Part one: Getting to sleep.

Leaving my laptop at work on evenings and weekends has really helped.I also use the bedtime app in iPhone’s clock feature, which I set to dim my screen with orange light and stop notifications from 10pm – 7am. It also gives you a warning 15 minutes before your bedtime. I try to make this between 10pm-11.30pm, though the twelve year old in me still thinks bed before midnight is for nerds and the Flanders children.

I’ve also been trying to keep one or two nights at home as “sacred” early bed nights, rather than going out every night, which is easier now that it’s winter and my primary partner is Netflix.

Noise – living somewhere quieter has infinitely helped, especially now I’m not longer lodging in my best friend’s kitchen, being rocked asleep by lorries on the Old Kent Road. If you’re not in the lucky position of having a quiet home, earplugs help.

A cosy room. I try to keep my bedroom functional. It’s the place I get ready in, sleep and smooch. I try and do everything else in the communal areas, so that when I do go into my room at night and close the curtains, my eyelids start to feel heavy.

I also light a candle with a nice, sleepy scent. The smell is to train me that it’s time for bed.

Worst case scenario routine: Stay up too late drinking wine and watching reality TV, or shouting at the pub. Slump to bed, discarding clothes across floor. Stay in bed scrolling through articles, reading emails and chirpsing various people I fancy. Wake up in night and check group messages. Send 5am memes.

Dream routine – Wash and moisturize face, brush teeth. Plan outfit (checking weather) and pack bag for tomorrow. Set bedtime & morning alarm. Put phone away. Light a candle, tidy room, light some sage, say a spell. Drink sleepy tea. Read a chapter of a book, or write down “busy” or intrusive thoughts in a journal. Blow out candle. Go to sleep.

Darcey: Bedtime routine has to involve an ASMR video! They are my cure for sleepless nights and I wake up having slept so deeply. It also counteracts the scrolling on my phone until right before I sleep head buzz. The reality: Check instagram 12am, 3am, 5am, fall asleep in most of my day clothes with red wine thirst.

Ari: I wish it was: reading in bed, no screens with a hot cup of honey and lemon. It is actually: scrolling Instagram and maybe drinking whiskey

Culloden: The gold rules for me are blue light filters and decaf only from 8pm onwards. Before I go to bed I pile my clothes/bag for the next day by my bedside, if I’m sleeping alone I can blast loud music to startle myself into them when I wake up.

Alison: Bedtime routine has to include sacking off screens of any kind for at least half an hour before I want to get to sleep, a cup of chamomile tea or similar, and reading a book until my eyes literally shut. The tea part isn’t essential but makes for a good placebo.

Sarah: Ideally I’d like to read a few chapters from a book before I go to sleep (this has happened about 3 times) but in reality I queue a bunch of videos on the YouTube app, sometimes do some impulsive late night online shopping and often find myself 53 weeks deep scrolling through an Instagram meme account.

Sarah C: I get such bad insomnia, stressful tiring dreams and never wake up refreshed. But I try and get to sleep with my daylight alarm clock that does sleep time timer with dim colours to calm me down. I do gratitude jars in bed with my eyes closed and that calms me down, stops sadness and stress about the world and helps me relax and smile. I keep the blind open because daylight is supposed to help us wake up but that plus my alarm daylight doesn’t work and sometimes I even sleep through the alarm, birdsong and radio!

Nina: I have an app called Flux on my laptop and phone which starts dimming/warm lighting the screen from 7/8pm onwards. Blue/white light from screens mimics daylight in your brain – and the yellow warm light I think helps release melatonin which sends you to sleep.

What helps you get to sleep? What keeps you up?

Bedroom image from Seventeen magazine, 1963

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Birdsong’s Best of Berlin

Birdsong’s Best of Berlin

Last week we had the pleasure of pairing with super period pant brand THINX, hormone tracking app Clue, and the amazing Isla nails to bring our third feminist concept store to none other than Berlin.

Whether you’re in town for business and find yourself with a few spare hours or are in need of some retail therapy to nurse a hangover, we’ve rounded up the best places to browse, shop, and eat in the city.

Best of Berlin blog

Isla is a brand new, woman ran concept store and Berlin’s first nail art salon based in Mitte-Kreuzberg. Whether you want to practise DJing, shop for the best unisex streetwear styles, get your nails done or just hang out, Isla is the place to be. We got a super cute nail art design and great chat to boot. Nail art starts at €30.

Inselstraße 13, 10179, Mon-Sat 10am-8pm

Best of Berlin blog2

Whenever we visit Berlin, we make sure to take a trip to Moeon in Kreuzberg. Whether it’s beautiful basics you’re after, Veja shoes or a new discovery, this slow fashion boutique is sure to provide. Founded on a respect of workers and the environment, it’s one of our top ethical picks.

Schönleinstr.10 10997

Best of Berlin blog3

Looking for an atmospheric place in a fun neighbourhood, with delicious Indonesian inspired dishes and a good view to boot? Our team got a starter, beer and a main all for around €15 each. Also does amazing takeout, has a cute and cosy low table area for taking off shoes and super quick service. We recommend the scallops on spoons, summer rolls or anything with seitan. Extra points for the divided “veggie menu” on one side for herbivore ease.

Knaackstraße 16, 10405

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Host to our shop, this co-working, events and community space is home to ethical brands, yoga retreats and more. Owner Yasmine makes supporting women-led and empowering businesses a priority. If you’re in need of a hot desk or some friendly faces, swing by.

Chorinerstrasse 20 10435

Best of Berlin blog4

From their tagline that cheerfully encourages you to “bring your mum” you may have guessed that this isn’t your average sex shop. With a book and zine selection in the back, and plenty of toys and accessories in the front, this queer, eco, vegan, feminist adult store ticks all the boxes. Find everything from environmentally friendly dildos, carbon neutral lube and empowering literature.

Mehringdamm 79 10965
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Queen of The World – a photo story

Queen of The World
– A Photo Story

We went into the woods of Hampstead Heath to shoot a special campaign devoted to being queen of your own world. Featuring our super soft, bamboo knickers, with artwork by London and Paris Fashion Week designer Clio Peppiatt. Embroidered by Mona at Burdett Estate community centre in Poplar.

“Birdsong is such a source of inspiration for me as a designer. Working closely with them has deeply influenced and shaped how I go about sourcing fabric and making garments, they’re a really important voice in the fashion industry.”- Clio Peppiatt

“I’m so proud to be working with and know Birdsong – running this centre is hard but every order helps to keep it going.” – Mona

Photography: Tess Roby. Models: Anya & Ari. Wearing Gina bra by Naja, Clio Peppiatt X Birdsong Bamboo Knickers, Heather Jumper in Spice & Oatmeal, Classic Silver Hoops and Double V Ring.

Tess Roby is a Montreal-based photographer and musician who graduated from Concordia University in 2016, and whose work has shown recently in a solo show at Battat Contemporary Gallery, and in the current VICE photo issue alongside Wolfgang Tillmans.

Ari Haque is a first generation Bengali-British writer, poet and campaigner in mental health, reproductive rights and social care. She’s written for publications such as Women Cook For MeBurnt Roti and gal-dem.

Support women makers

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  • Heather Hand Knitted Jumper in Spice

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