A British entrepreneur is tackling what he calls the global scandal of 'fast fashion' waste head-on by marketing a sustainable sweatshirt that will last for 30 years. Jim Drury reports.
Modern Christmas is a time of over-consumption and waste. One of the worst offenders is the cheap and cheerful Christmas pullover, bought by well-meaning relatives, but destined to stay unworn in the wardrobe and replaced 12 months later. British entrepreneur Tom Cridland wants to change that. He's designed the 30 year sweatshirt, and says there's no need for us to keep buying poor quality pullovers. SOUNDBITE (English) TOM CRIDLAND, CREATOR OF 30 YEAR SWEATSHIRT, SAYING: "It's made out of organic cotton and then a little bit of polyester, which doesn't sound so glamorous, but is very helpful for functionality, mobility, and comfort. The cotton is very durable, quite heavy, 360 grams per metre." His team of Portuguese artisans use a traditional knitting loop-wheeled method - combined with a unique silicon treatment that prevents shrinking. SOUNDBITE (English) TOM CRIDLAND, CREATOR OF 30 YEAR SWEATSHIRT, SAYING: "In terms of technology, what they weren't able to do in the 70s is treat it against things like shrinking and piling, which we've done with the unique silicon treatment that they've developed there." Cridland says it's an alternative to 'fast fashion', in which consumers pay low prices for poor quality garments that fall apart in months and need replacing. The sweatshirt costs £55 and he hopes to persuade consumers they don't need to constantly update their wardrobe. If a sweatshirt shrinks or loses shape in the next three decades, Cridland will replace it. SOUNDBITE (English) TOM CRIDLAND, CREATOR OF 30 YEAR SWEATSHIRT, SAYING: "The mere fact that we're guaranteeing the sweatshirts for 30 years implies that the sweatshirts are made really well and therefore we're not wasting our natural resources, which is the main reason is why the project is good for the environment. Equally, in the future when my brand Tom Cridland does designs that are more on trend or maybe people won't want to keep them for 30 years because fashions will change, we are going to try to encourage people - and this is what all people should be doing anyway - rather than chuck you're clothing out, give it to Oxfam." The firm has also launched a 30-year t-shirt - and next year might even bring out a Christmas sweater themselves, in an effort to persuade grandma not to make her annual wasteful purchase.