"Nothing lasts forever" this is a phrase we all learn from a young age. Our phones stop working when the latest update comes out, our favorite jeans last a year before they go out of style, our cars breakdown faster and faster, the list is (truly) endless and to be honest it bums me out! It is like Heidi Klum is standing on the runway of your life constantly reminding you that "one day you're in, the next you're out!" I don't think it has to be that way though. I mean, we are the masters of our own fate right? And we get to choose what brands we support and what if that brand focused not on the quick, trend driven turn around, but rather on making quality, responsibly made, timelessly tailored clothing? Tom Cridland is one such brand.
Tom started designing clothing at the wee age of 18 and never looked back. He worked to create the perfect pair of trousers and has made it his goal to create classic pieces that will last you a life time... ok thats an exaggeration but the guy is known for his 30 Year Sweatshirt, and 30 years is basically forever (according to my 6 year old nephew). He sells his pieces direct to consumer, cutting out the cost of the middle man, keeping the cost of your new digs down. "Quality over quantity" my mom and Tom have that mentality in common.
Tom and his lovely lady/business partner Debs reached out to me a while back. We had a little e-chat about their brand and what it is like working with your significant other. Heres the run down...
Could you please introduce yourself and tell us what it is that you do-
We are Tom Cridland and Debs Marx. We’re both 25, we’ve been dating for nearly 7 years and we run a sustainable fashion brand called Tom Cridland, that’s perhaps best known for The 30 Year Sweatshirt and T-Shirt.
How did the brand come about?
We founded the brand in January 2014 with a £6,000 government start-up loan. We wanted Tom Cridland to be the world’s number 1 maker of men’s pants and were inspired by the great entrepreneurial scene in America to start a direct to consumer e-commerce brand that offered luxury clothing at an accessible price point.
How has it been working with your significant other on a project at this scale?
It has been an absolute pleasure for both of us. People often joke about us being wimpish for never wanting to spend any time apart and, without wanting to be nauseating, we love working with each other as we love spending time with each other.
What do you feel are your individuals rolls in the company?
Tom is in charge of creative direction, getting us new business and doing press interviews as the face of the brand, Debs is in charge of running the brand day to day, managing logistics and ensuring that we are financially well organized, but there is a huge amount of overlap and we try to work together as much as possible.
How do you support each other within the project but also do whats best for your company?
The two go hand in hand. This business is a labour of love but also our livelihood, so we take a lot of pride in working on it together as hard as we can to support ourselves. An important part of our working relationship is that we rarely tell each other what to do, as we both think the other is extremely talented.
How did you get interested in sustainable fashion?
The people who say that sustainable fashion makes no business sense are either stupid or insanely greedy. Some people in fashion industry use the fact that trends exist to try an argue with the business model behind the 30 Year Collection, taking a stand against fast fashion by guaranteeing our items to last for three decades. The fact that we care about making durable clothing does not mean we have no business sense. The rationale behind the Tom Cridland brand aiming to lead the way when it comes to sustainable fashion is two fold: firstly, the world needs to wake up and realize that fashion is the second biggest polluting industry after oil and, secondly, in business terms it’s a gap in the market like any other. I think the press coverage we’ve received demonstrates that people are interested in these sustainability issues but we need more brands making them more fun and accessible. Fashion is a means to be joyous, after all.
What impact has the 'fast fashion' industry had on the two of you and your business?
The 30 Year concept is specifically an anti fast fashion one, so that has been the main impact of this sad movement on us. Fast fashion is what lead us to come up with that life changing idea. It has won and will hopefully continue to win people over. It’s interesting that we’re offering a 30 year guarantee so people get drawn in to find out more. When they read more, they engage with sustainability issues and are often influenced to change their shopping habits. On that note, if you fall into the fast fashion consumer category and are reading this - which is, admittedly, doubtful - please buy a copy of Andrew Morgan’s incredible film, The True Cost.
Where do you see the fashion industry headed in the next few years?
Time wise, at the moment, we can only try to concentrate on carrying out our vision! Unfortunately, sustainability is quite clearly not being treated as a priority in the fashion industry. One only needs to watch The True Cost, as I mentioned, to unravel the grim world of fast fashion and its dominance on the industry these days. Tom Cridland is now a brand that we not only want to make luxury clothing accessible to people with at a value price point. We want it to be the world's number 1 sustainable fashion brand and for it to make sustainability fashionable in itself. That’s where we’d love to see the industry headed.
Hobbies outside of the office?
Travel, food, music, tv shows, film, art, interior design, comedy, fashion, karaoke… the list is endless! We were watching more films at university, hopefully we’ll find more time for that again at some point.
Are you coffee or tea people? Wine or beer?
Both coffee and tea, red wine is our number one drink, though Tom drinks lager on nights out.
Favorite place to go on a date?
Out for a meal, just the two of us, preferably on holiday or a weekend away!
And I always have to ask- what is a little life luxury you can't live without?
We’re actually pretty easy going, the number one luxury that we do get worn out without is a comfortable bed though! That said, now it’s been going on 3 years since we graduated, the occasions where we have to crash on someone’s floor or sofa are few and far between!
If you want to know more about Tom and his amazing sustainable fashion brand, click here.
Toms clothing has been seen on celebs such as Leo DiCaprio, Hugh Grand, Daniel Craig, and Ben Stiller (just to name a few). The colors and cuts are made to keep you looking crisp, clean and classic no matter the occasion. Not to mention the quality and brilliant ethic behind their manufacturing, will keep you feeling good as well.
Tom and Debs thank you for taking the time to chat and for what you are doing within the fashion industry!
In closing- if you haven't seen The True Cost, which Tom referenced in the interview, you really should go watch it... like now. Prepare yourself to cry, also to maybe not buy anything from your 'favorite' brands anymore (it is that intense... in a good way).
What is your take on the fast fashion movement? Do you think our concern is warranted?
*Photos courtisey of Tom Cridland