Tom Cridland: The sweatshirt that lasts 30 years

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Young designer Tom Cridland aims to help end ‘planned obsolescence’ in the fashion industry by creating a jumper that will last for 30 years, five years longer than he’s been alive.

Cridland, 25, has launched The 30 Year Sweatshirt as part of a campaign against fast fashion. Through a combination of technology, premium fabrics and old school craftsmanship, the Tom Cridland brand has created something that flies in the face of the wasteful disposability of recent industry trends. The company also works in partnership with charity Deki to support entrepreneurs living in abject poverty, giving them grants to work on their businesses. For every 30 Year Sweatshirt that’s ordered, 10 per cent is donated to the cause.

How did you come up with the idea?

I came up with the idea from speaking to my suppliers, a group of seamstresses and craftsmen in Portugal who have been making clothing by hand since 1964, about planned obsolesce in fashion.

We decided on the 30-year guarantee because they still had some sweatshirts made in the late 70s that were in perfect condition.

How is the sweatshirt made?

It’s made by hand out of 360g per metre of premium fabric – ringspun 80 per cent organic cotton and 20 per cent premium polyester – that increases comfort, mobility and durability. It is also treated to avoid shrinking.

Why should people buy it?

Tom Cridland customers are buying the sweatshirt because they’re excited about receiving a truly well made garment and, as one eloquent fan of ours put it, “weaving memories into the fabric”.

What’s wrong with the fashion industry currently?

Fashion corporates are outsourcing production, often unethically, making clothing out of poor quality fabrics and flogging them for next to nothing and systemically so that it will fall apart. Cost per wear on supposedly cheap wardrobe staples on the high street these days, therefore, is ridiculously expensive. For those who can’t afford a Prada sweatshirt, this is unfair.

Why does it need to change?

The 30 Year Sweatshirt hopes to invoke a bygone era where clothing was made with exquisite care. This will be fairer for customers, independent designers and brands and, of course, our environment.

What triggered you to want to do something about it?

I’d already designed the Tom Cridland Sweatshirt. The idea to guarantee it for three decades came from discussions with other smaller brands and those in the industry about the problem with cheap fast fashion, especially when it comes to their production of wardrobe staples like plain coloured sweatshirts and t-shirts.

Do you have a history of interest in sustainability?

I’m ashamed to say this is the first sustainability endeavour I’ve been involved with and it’s a win-win. It’s great for my young brand and it’s fulfilling to hear people so happy with what we’re setting out to achieve with The 30 Year Sweatshirt.

What kind of impact can this approach have?

It’s a David vs. Goliath situation but being all over the international press with a fun campaign and a well-made product that highlights this important issue in the fashion industry will hopefully make a difference.

Do you feel there is a wider movement of slow fashion picking up momentum?

There are some amazing brands that make their clothing ethically and H&M have also been making an effort. I tend to favour clothing and accessories that are beautifully crafted and might set me back a bit more, but I then hold onto them for years and years. We need to hammer home the point that re-wearing something lovely that suits you well is better than buying tatty crap that will fall apart and looks cheap.

Tom Cridland can be found here.

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Photo Credit: Tom Cridland.

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