Sophie Slater is one half of the all-female founding team of Birdsong, a London-based fashion brand that emphasizes ethical clothing production and feminist art. Slater and co-founder Sarah Beckett launched the online shop in September 2014, after meeting in a post-graduate program called Year Here and bonding over shared interests in clothing and social change. “We were excited and inspired by fashion, but knew that sweatshops and the way that fashion is marketed to women wasn’t doing much good,” she says.
In 2015, Slater and Beckett were accepted into an accelerator, Bethnal Green Ventures. And today, Birdsong’s small team sells shirts, skirts and more to an international audience. Looking ahead, Slater hopes to open a brick-and-mortar location. “We’ve run four pop-up shops this year, and the response has been incredible,” she says. “It’s always such an honor to meet our customers and community and collaborate with friends on events.” She also aims to one day open a manufacturing space in East London for local makers that would offer perks like childcare.
Slater says that being a business owner has done wonders for her self-motivation and self-esteem. “Birdsong has been incredible in bringing together all the things I’m most excited by,” she says. Throughout this entrepreneurial journey, she has been energized by the diversity and feminist energy of the artists with whom she works — and she is thrilled to help them turn profits on their creativity. “I’ve been able to support, hire or give a leg up to a lot of amazing activists, makers, friends and talented writers and photographers through our work.”