A British entrepreneur is taking what he calls the global scandal of 'fast fashion' waste head-on by marketing a sustainable sweatshirt that will last for 30 years. But he's up against the ''fast fashion'' giants like Zara and H&M who have had a profitable 2015. Ciara Lee reports.
It's the season of goodwill - but some Christmas presents will end up cast to one side, or worse, on the scrap heap. Hoping to be the gift with a difference - the 30-year sweatshirt. Designer Tom Cridland wants to break the cycle of poor quality garments. He's developed the pullover with a family-run factory in Portugal. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DESIGNER AND CEO, TOM CRIDLAND, SAYING: "I asked them. Show me the oldest sweatshirt that you guys have ever made, and they have been in business since 1964. They showed me a sweatshirt from the late 70s which was still in perfect condition. In terms of technology, what they weren't able to do in the 70s was treat it against things like shrinking and piling which we have done with a unique silicone treatment that they have developed there." Among the brand's fans - Leonardo DiCaprio, Rod Stewart and Daniel Craig. But at £55 and with trends constantly on the move, it's up against stiff competition. It's been a bumper year for fast fashion brands. Profits at Inditex - leaders of the fast fashion pack and owners of Zara - rose by a fifth in the nine months to October. The world's largest fashion retailer has been helped by Zara which rapidly churns styles replicating those on the runway. BGC's Mike Ingram. (SOUNBITE) (English) MARKET STRATEGIST AT BGC PARTNERS, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "Really it's this just in time model which Inditex has pioneered which is so powerful. It's real time marketing, it's real time retailing." Hennes & Mauritz, the world's second-biggest fashion retailer has also posted gains - although the owner's of H&M have been hit by a milder winter both sides of the Atlantic. But it comes at a cost. An estimated 400 percent more clothing is made now than 20 years ago, with 97 percent outsourced to poorer nations often with lax safety conditions. For Tom, the plan is to build the brand's customer base. It's already launched a 30-year t-shirt - and says it won't rule out the possibility of a longer lasting Christmas jumper.