The British eco-conscious designer Tom Cridland is about to launch his eponymous brand in the U.S. market.
The company has gained fame for producing durable products that promise to last at least 30 years. This philosophy quickly caught on with celebrities such as Ben Stiller and Daniel Craig, who have been seen in the company's chino pants.
The 25-year-old designer founded his company with a £6,000 ($9,000) government loan six months after he graduated from University of Bristol in England, where he majored in French and Portuguese. He started with chino pants, which were intended to be the company's signature item, and then launched "The 30 Year Sweatshirt," which the company guarantees will last 30 years.
"I wanted to create a fashion label invoking a bygone era when clothing was made with exquisite care and taste, and that had a strong focus on sustainability too," Cridland explained in an interview at his London pop-up store.
He chose the sweatshirt as the garment to guarantee to last for three decades because it had to be something practical that consumers would actually want to wear for that long. A sweatshirt an essential casual item in many people's wardrobe.
How does he make sure that it actually will last for 30 years? It starts with the quality of the material. He uses 360-grams-per-meter cotton and adds a small amount of polyester to ensure comfort and mobility. The double reinforced stitching prevents deterioration.
He developed the initial design working closely with artisans in Portugal but is in the process of moving production to Italy with the intention of bringing the quality to an even higher level by using Italian fabrics and craftsmanship.
The 30 Year Sweatshirt comes in nine cheerful colors: Chilli Red, Classic Navy, Dove White, Electric Blue, Green Goblin, Grey Seal, Seville Orange, Sherbet Lemon and Sunset Bluelevard (it's actually turquoise).
At the moment, the collection is limited to men's sweatshirts, T-shirts, jackets and trousers but Cridland is planning to expand into women's clothes and add more varieties as well as "limited editions." He doesn't want to rush, though.
"I didn't want to rush into creating a full collection," Cridland said. "Instead, every single product, no matter how simple, should be developed as meticulously as a full collection normally would be. Importantly, we have always shipped all over the world, as I wanted Tom Cridland to be a truly international brand."
This earnest and eco-conscious approach to clothing production which is the world's second least environmentally friendly industry (after oil), has earned popularity among celebrities. Apart from Ben Stiller and Daniel Craig, his designs have been seen on Leonardo DiCaprio, Hugh Grant, Jeremy Piven, Rod Stewart, Frankie Valli, among others. He also custom designed a jacket for Nigel Olsson -- Elton John's drummer for over 45 years -- for Elton's Wonderful Crazy Night Tour in Los Angeles.
This month, with the official U.S. launching, Cridland will be touring the country starting with New York and Los Angeles. He's planning to spend one-third of his time in Los Angeles from now on. After all, the city is the capital of "luxury casual." Cridland will be appearing in the press and is already engaged in lecturing commitments at universities to give speeches on his entrepreneurial trajectory.
-The 30 Year Sweatshirt is £65 ($90) and the 30 Year Jacket are available from £199 ($280). They're available worldwide from tomcridland.co.uk, with flat rate shipping.
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