Garments that say NO to sweatshops, and a shopping experience that promises diversity and shuns Photoshop, are just two of the pure goodness-laden treats that you can expect from Birdsong – the London-based purveyor of sustainable clothing, who is leading a quiet style revolution via fashion that's fairer to women.

Protesting the fast-fashion model, favouring small-scale production and time-tested staplesBirdsong has gone from strength to strength, creating garments (think empowering slogan tees like ‘No Borders’ and positive-minded declarations of ‘Optimist’) that focus on the connection between women, from worker to wearer. 

Raising a toast to four years of revolutionising the way that we dress, the feminist brand is now bringing its pop-up shop to vintage retailer Beyond Retro in Dalston, East London, along with a jam-packed schedule including a birthday party (woohoo!), a panel discussion on positive activism, and a comedy night of thought-provoking wit... We spoke to Birdsong’s Co-Founder, Sophie Slater, to talk fashion, feminism and protest – and getting stuck in for the greater good!

Image via Birdsong

What are the power of clothes in protest? Can fashion be a part of revolution?
People have always used clothing to convey messages – whether they be of their politics, sexuality or gender identity. Some of our bestsellers are our slogan tees like the ‘Optimist’ – but, as a brand, we also make statements that last longer than the time it takes to read a T-shirt! Wearing and manufacturing our collection of original wardrobe staples is a protest in itself against the fast nature of the fashion industry, the obsessive pursuit of trends, and the systematic abuse of women in the production line.

We know that women want more from their wardrobes, but that the world of ethical, sustainable and local fashion can be a minefield! So, we’ve ticked all the boxes for our customers, to convey a statement that a radically optimistic means of doing fashion can be achieved.

Image via Birdsong

Is that your hope for the future of the fashion industry?
It’s estimated that 60 million women worldwide – who are aged between 18 and 35 years old, and working in the garment industry – make less than a minimum wage. These women are producing the clothes that we see on the high street every day, and are hidden in the fashion supply chain. We know that it’s near on impossible to track exactly where your clothing comes from and who made it – and that’s why we’re here!

Together, we want to change the way that fashion works. We work with skilled women makers in the UK who face barriers to employment, and pay them a fair wage. We ourselves are ethical, local and sustainable – but we'd like to see most of those precursors as a given across the industry, and form a blueprint for a better world. 

Why do you do what you do?
We design clothes for remarkable women, but our pieces are also made by them; we work with expert women makers – from artists and printmakers to seamstresses and painters – who struggle to find employment, and pay them the London Living Wage to bring our designs to life. We make clothes for an optimistic future.

Abigail wears 'Optimist' T-shirt by Birdsong... The Birdsong pop-up runs at Beyond Retro, Dalston, 92-100 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XB from 10.30am on 5 September to 9 September, 2018. Click here to discover more.

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