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Drapers 30 Under 30 2020: Sophie Slater, co-founder, Birdsong

Age: 28

This young entrepreneur has built one of fashion’s most compelling growing sustainable businesses – and is still two years shy of her 30th birthday.

Part social enterprise, part direct-to-consumer fashion brand, Birdsong employs women from local community groups to make its high-quality clothing. Employees are paid the London Living Wage and, since its inception in 2015, the brand has raised more than £100,000 for women’s organisations across London.

Birdsong’s knitwear, for example, is made by older women at an Age UK community centre in the capital. Dresses are made at community arts charity Stitches in Time in Limehouse, east London, while posting and packaging is carried out by adults with learning disabilities in Kentish Town.

The label’s pieces are as distinctive as its business model. Slater describes Birdsong as “creating clothing for women who dress in protest”. Key pieces include statement T-shirts bearing embroidered slogans such as “Tough enough” and “Still European”. Products are made from environmentally friendly fabrics, such as organic cotton, Tencel and bamboo.

Birdsong is sold in 28 countries via its own website. Late last year, it raised more than £15,000 in a crowdfunding campaign, which will be used to fund a new size-inclusive line.

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