Tom Cridland is nothing if not persistent.
The 25-year-old entrepreneur from the U.K. flooded the in boxes of fashion press in anticipation of his visit to the U.S. this week to set up a beachhead for the launch of his eponymous label in America.
The pitch? The 30-Year Jacket.
Cridland started his company two years ago with a $9,000 government start-up loan and used crowdfunding to grow to more than $1 million in sales. He created a direct-to-consumer model of staples such as T-shirts and chinos that were “simple but well-made,” he said. Today, nearly all of the company’s business comes from white T-shirts and navy or gray chino slacks.
Although money was tight, Cridland got the word of his company out through Facebook and other social media platforms in the U.K.
The two “game changers” for the brand, he said, was, first, a move to develop a following among celebrities and today, Cridland said his label is worn by Leonardo DiCaprio, Rod Stewart, Ben Stiller, Frankie Valli, Hugh Grant, Daniel Craig, Stephen Fry, Brandon Flowers, Robbie Williams, Stephen Merchant, Elton John’s band, Nile Rodgers and Jeremy Piven.
The second was the brand’s move to market a product that was sustainable and “people would keep for a long time.”
He worked with his manufacturers in Portugal to create the 30-Year Collection of T-shirts and sweatshirts. Now he has expanded that range into the 30-Year Jacket. The jacket is made from cotton and features double-reinforced stitching, so it “feels pretty indestructible,” he said. “It is so durably made we back it with a 30-year guarantee. We are deliberately launching the jacket ahead of our U.S. launch to try to encourage an industry trend toward protecting our natural resources by making durable clothing and to encourage consumers to think about the way in which they consume fashion.” The jacket will retail for $350. The T-shirts are $55 and the sweatshirts $95.
Cridland said the 30-Year Jacket will be the last product offered within the 30-Year Collection so that his brand doesn’t become “too gimmicky.”
Instead, he will work to find an office in Los Angeles and a spot in New York — from which to sell his brand — and will turn to adding some additional pieces to the offering. “The brand was inspired by America,” he said, “and this is where people are most [receptive] about Internet start-ups,” so the focus will now turn to the U.S. market.