It is usually assumed that you need to choose between trends or sustainability because these two things don't come hand in hand. In 2018 there are a number of brands challenging this notion, and none more so than East London–based Birdsong. The Hackney label creates T-shirts with slices of oranges and avocados across the boobs, plus vinyl black jackets—items that make up a typical Dalston wardrobe. However, Birdsong is serious about its accountability and sticking to the promise "no sweatshop and no photoshop."
"It's estimated that 60 million women worldwide, aged 18–35, work in the garment industry making less than a minimum wage," it explains on its website. "These women become hidden in the fashion supply chain, making it near impossible to track where your clothing comes from and who made it. Unlike traditional retailers, we're doing things a bit differently by working solely with women's groups and charities in order to produce our clothing."
Founders Sarah Beckett and Sophie Slater work with a number of powerful groups supporting women across London that have been hit by budget cuts. There's Knit & Natter, the group in Enfield for elderly women that donates all revenues for its knitting to a different charity each month; then Mohila, based in Tower Hamlets, is a group of low-income mothers who hand-paint all of the sweatshirts and T-shirts; and finally Heba on Brick Lane is a group of migrant women that was established over 25 years ago and creates all the clothing for Birdsong. The links with these women's groups clearly run deep, as the Instagram page regularly includes images of those making the clothes, and each product has a description of who made it.
Speaking of product, keep scrolling to shop our edit of the best pieces to buy on Birdsong right now.