Thursday 8 September 2016

Sing A New Song

In what seems to be turning into the Start-up Of The Week slot, let's take a look at a new initiative that's seeking to freshen up the image of sustainable fashion.

Birdsong aims to be different in every way. The brand has built a network of artisans from across the globe that have one thing in common: they're groups of women who are using their skills to fight for a better way of life. Birdsong currently work with 17 women’s organisations, reaching 483 female makers on the margins of society. This includes elderly, migrant and low income background women, women recovering from addictions, single mums, and survivors of human trafficking who are finding a new trade as goldsmiths.

By teaming these women with contemporary designers, Birdsong are able to produce modern clothing with a story, that helps to give a life and purpose back to the most down-trodden. But don't assume this is just a charity exercise. The items that Birdsong sell are designed to transcend the seasonal trap, and built to last for years. Using short lead times and limited runs, they can move quickly, respond to customer demand and still keep costs to a realistic level.

The Birdsong ethos even extends to the marketing. Their mantra is 'no Sweatshop, No Photoshop.' Instead of the usual over-glossy shoots common to the industry, Birdsong use models they find on the street, in shoot them in a natural way that includes no re-touching in post. It's all about celebrating the natural beauty all around us, and walking away from toxic, unreachable images that tell girls that they can never be pretty enough.

Birdsong's online platform has helped them to reach a solid base of fans, including celebrities like Bake-Off's Ruby Tandoh. But there's always more to be done. Founders Sophie and Sarah are fundraising to launch a pop-up shop, showcasing the quality of Birdsong's clothes. The good news is that they're already nearly two-thirds of the way there. Why not take a look, and see if you can help spread the word?

Birdsong's Crowdcube campaign is here:

Or check out the video below.

In a sidebar, I'm happy to note that this entry marks our 700th blogpost on The View From The Pier. We'd like to thank everyone that reads and helps to share our work. It's very much appreciated.

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