UK designer launches 30-year Christmas jumper

By Mark Kinver
Environment reporter, BBC News

Image source, T.Cridland
Image caption,
The 30-year Christmas sweatshirt is guaranteed to keep its wearer in festive cheer for three decades

The Christmas jumper has now become a staple of festive activities - from boozy office parties to essential wear when carving the turkey on the big day.

While the designs are naff and the craftsmanship questionable, one UK designer is looking to make the festive fixture more sustainable.

The 30-year Christmas sweatshirt that is guaranteed to see you through three decades worth of festive frivolities.

Tom Cridland hoped it would make people question the "fast fashion" industry.

"I am told it is the world's first Christmas jumper to come with a 30-year guarantee," Mr Cridland told BBC News.

He hoped the guarantee would prompt people to realise that jumpers, and clothing more widely, were for longer than just Christmas and made people think about sustainable fashion.

"It is an idea that came to me as a business opportunity, not because I am some sort of philanthropist.

"It was of extremely high quality and at a relatively accessible price, yet I was effectively being priced out of the competition by the fast fashion retailers who were making clothes so cheaply and selling it on so cheaply that it was impossible for many smaller, independent brands to take a share of the market."

Image source, T.Cridland
Image caption,
The team are confident that the garments can withstand 30 years of everyday wear-and-tear

Mr Cridland said the concept of the 30-year guarantee, which he also offers on other ranges such as jackets and trousers, was more than having confidence in the fact the garments were well made and used durable fabrics.

"I think people need more than that these days, and they certainly need more than that to engage with a sustainable fashion brand," he told BBC News.

"While we may reap the marketing benefits from this, our customers also reap the benefits from this concept as well because if we make that pledge. The 30-year guarantee means that if anything should happen to the sweatshirt within 30 years, we will repair or replace them free of charge.

"We are essentially making a pledge that we are going to make our clothing as well as possible and to be a durable as possible. For the consumers' point of view, people are buying these sweatshirts with the intention of keeping them for 30 years.

"It is not that it is letting fashion trends pass them by because the only reason people would replace things like that is because they would wear out because they had been badly made by a fast fashion retailer."

Although the 30-year Christmas jumper will set you back £65, considerably more than what you would pay for one from the High Street but considerably less than the £24,000, which is the asking price for this year's purportedly most expensive seasonal warmer.

Mr Cridland felt that the 30-year sweatshirts' asking price represented good value for your hard-earned money.

"I would argue that the 30-year concept is cheaper than the ones from the fast fashion retailers," he said.

"If you are going to go out and buying a new navy sweatshirt every year or two, why not get one that is made from nicer materials, made by people who are paid a fair wage.

"In terms of cost-per-wear, if you are going to keep a garment like that for 30 years then it is going to be cheaper."

He explained that offering customers a 30-year guarantee was a pledge that he believed the garments and the materials they are made from would stand the test of time.

"If this clothing was exceptionally poor quality and this was not a claim we truly believed in, we would essentially be planning to go out of business - which I am not.

"Making that pledge has earned us the trust of a lot of customers."

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