London - Some clothing items never go out of style, like the classic trench coat, the white t-shirt or a fitted blazer. However, how long do these iconic items remain in our closets? Do we wear them for a few years until they actually fall apart, a few months or do we tire of them after one season and swap them out for the latest trendy piece? With consumers around the world consuming the staggering amount of 80 billion items of clothing a year, the number of times most people wear one piece of clothing before they retire it to their local charity - or the bin - is seven.
The notion that fashion has become 'disposable' many not be very concerning to consumers, but the environmental impact made by the fashion industry churning out billions of clothing pieces every year should be. Over 20,000 litres of water is needed to produce 1kg of cotton, one of the most widely used materials in garments, which is sufficient to produce one t-shirt and a single pair of jeans. According to a recent World Wildlife fund report, 73 percent of the global cotton harvest comes from irrigated land, which is saturated with insecticides causes widespread agricultural pollution. Unsustainable cotton farming around the world has lead to the destruction of large-scaled ecological systems in China, India, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
Therefore developing a new fashion concept which is not only stylish, but also sustainable may seem like no easy feat, but one menswear designer has taken it upon himself to create an item that will withstand the test of time, wear and style with 'the 30 year sweatshirt.' Thomas Cridland, known for his self-titled brand of high-quality trousers, which have become popular amongst the likes of Daniel Craig, Leonardo diCaprio and Ben Stiller, has designed a sweatshirt which is said to last at least 30 years. The premium crew-neck sweatshirt is meant to last a lifetime, according to Cridland, but is supported with a 30 year guarantee.
'There are some items that should feature in everyone’s wardrobe and a crew neck sweatshirt is certainly one of them'
"Working in the fashion industry, I became more and more familiar with the concept of built-in obsolescence - clothing brands making their garments to deliberately only last a certain length of time so that customers are forced to return and buy more," explained Cridland on where the inspiration for the sweatshirt came from. "I think the concept is wasteful and unnecessary, especially for wardrobe staples like sweatshirts. It is better to buy less but make sure what you do buy is special and The 30 Year Sweatshirt is an attempt to promote the concept of sustainable fashion."
Unlike his eponymous trouser label, Cridland has decided to launch a campaign for the 30 Year Sweatshirt on crowdfunding website Kickstarter and is currently seeking 50,000 pounds to start the production of the sweatshirts, which will be handmade by artisans in Portugal. "We settled on the target amount of 50,000 pounds to simply aim to make a big impact. With a smaller target, I fear we would have failed to attract the attention from the press that we have been so thrilled with. By the time production, international shipping and the initial cost of the campaign are all taken into account, we won’t make a profit from this venture," he adds.
Crafted from high quality three fine yarns, the 30 Year Sweatshirt is a loopback and is made using an old school technique of traditional knitting that forms loops on the backside of the sweatshirt's fabric. The fabric itself consists of 80 percent organic cotton, 20 percent premium polyester and is treated with a silicon treatment to prevent shrinking. The sweatshirt colors are also unique and were produced by blending up to six different shades. To ensure that both men and women can enjoy the sweatshirt, the garment is designed to offer a "modern unisex fit," although Cridland is in the process of developing a more fitted sweatshirt for women and will offer them a choice of the original or updated fit.
Rather than offer the sweatshirt at full retail price, Cridland is offering the 30 Year Sweatshirt on Kickstarter at the wholesale price of 55 pounds or 85 dollars, as he does not believe in pointless distribution and retail markups. "For all those kind enough to support our project, we're going to go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that they are happy," he adds. "Should they, without meaning to, cause the sweatshirt to tear slightly we will fix it immediately and pay for the return postage. In the unlikely event the elbow of the sweatshirt gets worn, we'll sew on a beautiful elbow patch that will only add to the look of the garment."
Since the launch of the campaign, the 30 Year Sweatshirt has seen 67 backers who have pledged 5,816 pounds. "We've received so many supportive and touching messages about what we're setting out to achieve, so I'm really happy with how the project is going so far." The Kickstarter campaign is set to run until Wednesday, July 15, 2015.