Sustainable style takes to the streets

Sophie from Birdsong tells us about their latest collaborative concept store in Hoxton, and why online brands need to jump offline once in a while.

"This is the fifth pop-up shop we’ve done – including one out in Berlin. The way we run our brand is mostly online, but we would eventually love our own shop. Given that rents are so high, it’s a big commitment, so we see pop up shops like this one as little experiments for the future. Through this we’ve found that that Hoxton works really well for us - it's actually the second time we've come back to this space. Shops like this are the best way to engage with our customers: we get feedback from our products and get to collaborate with other brands. Our events tie it all in together which makes the brand a bit bigger. 

This shop features lots of different designers. We love working with complimentary brands because it adds to our feel - there are some things that we can't offer and when we want people to shop ethically and buy from small brands, it makes sense to champion those other small brands besides ourselves. In terms of the shop here, the other brands liven everything up and mean that there's something for everyone. We're championing a lot of young designers, brands that are run by women and people of colour.

Susanna (Head Designer at Birdsong) has designed Birdsong’s main print this season – the one that’s on the posters and our key pieces. She’s project managed it from scratch, and I think it's definitely our favourite's collection so far. It's got a custom print and the fabric is hand woven by women's cooperatives in India, so each thread, each weft is individual. Throughout the whole process, the clothes have been created by amazing women who were paid fairly from the very fabric, to the cut and sew, which most brands would struggle to say. We’re really proud of the progress that we’re making here."

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     A yoga studio gets transformed into a vibrant ethical hub for ethical fashion and design.
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    Finishing touches to the décor.
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    Product posters featuring Birdsong’s latest line.
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    Bright knits and bold bags by Jaggery London.
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    The Zine stand, featuring Polyester, an intersectional feminist fashion and culture publication.
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    Homeware by Earl of East and Aerende.
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     Jewellery by Suhaiyla Shakuwra.
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    Brand mission ‘#2: It’s 2018 – Social and sustainable is the new normal.’

Featured designer: Suhaiyla Shakuwra

Suhaiyla Shakuwra

“I'm a jewellery designer and Tarot therapist. The jewellery started from crystals, which I’ve loved and researched for years, getting an understanding of their properties and how they work. I started making jewellery incorporating the crystals, initially just for myself, as they’re better for you when they’re worn. People would ask me where I got my jewellery from, and so little by little, I started making them to sell, and promoting on Instagram. I officially launched my website and brand in May this year.

I found out about Birdsong from gal-dem, an online magazine written by women of colour. They had an event around ethical fashion and they were on the panel. Then Sophie reached out to me via my online boutique and told me about what she's doing. I'm into ethical fashion, and my brand is all about healing and wellbeing, forward movement, so this goes along with the ethos of my brand.

Ethical fashion is really on the rise. A lot of my close friends are ethical designers. At the end of the day, when you buy something, you're investing in that person and that business. So, I guess you have to think about what businesses you want to sustain (and be!). Is it corporations that are using sweatshops giving people a poor quality of life and putting them in dangerous situations, or is it sustaining a company that's ethical, and giving back, giving people fair wages and a better way of life.”

The latest concept store is open

Find Birdsong’s Concept Store at 11 Pearson Street, London E2 8JD, from 22nd June until 1st July, and look out for our next article, where the Birdsong team will look back on their pop-up shop and we’ll look at the creation and design process in more detail.

by Sophie Slater
At the age of 23 Sophie co-founded Birdsong, with specialisms and interests in feminism, sustainability and mental health. Sophie and the team at Birdsong are on a mission to create positive change in the fashion industry, whilst providing support to existing women’s charities.

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