For many, Christmas – with its fun-filled festivity and timeless traditions – is truly the most wonderful time of the year. But it is (gasp!) also perhaps the single-most wasteful time of the year. The figures are shocking. Estimates have it, for example, that the UK disposes of a whopping 230,000 tons of food every Christmas. In 2014, 4.2 million Christmas dinners went to waste; that’s roughly 263,000 turkeys; 7.5 million mince pies; 740,000 slices of Christmas pudding; 17.2 million Brussels sprouts; 11.9 million carrots and 11.3 million roast potatoes, according to the UK news source, The Independent. The Guardian reports that if you would line-up from end-to-end all the natural Christmas trees purchased by Britons each year, the line would stretch the same distance as a return trip from London to New York City. Pile up on top of that the garbage from all the decorative items and gift-wrapping materials – 4,500 tons of tin foil, 13,350 tons of glass, and a incredible stretch of wrapping paper, long enough to go around the equator NINE TIMES!!! – and you have one horrific holiday mess. Ho, ho, OH! And that’s in the UK, alone.
One Briton, however, is determined to do his part to turn the tide of Yuletide trash around – one tacky holiday sweater at a time.
The 30 Year Christmas Sweatshirt
In defiance of the culture of waste and of yet another Christmas tradition – the buying, giving, exchanging, and wearing of the tackiest holiday sweatshirt one can possibly find – British designer Tom Cridland has created a sweater (or jumper, as the Brits would have it), designed to last not one, not two, not even three, but 30 years!
“As Christmas approaches, many people are going to be heading to their closest fast fashion retailer to purchase a cheap, unethically produced Christmas jumper,” Cridland says in an email to Expat. “By the end of the month, there is a good chance the same jumper will end up in landfill to be replaced the next year. This is symbolic of today’s throwaway culture,” he adds.
Out with the throwaway culture
Cridland, who has developed a following of fashion fiends for his fabulous men’s chinos, came up with the idea shortly after Hollywood A-lister and environmental activist, Leonardo DiCaprio, ordered some of the trousers in 2015. The 26-year-old designer, inspired by DiCaprio’s staunch eco-advocacy, “decided to try to lead an industry trend towards protecting our natural resources by making truly durable clothing,” he relates.
The 30 Year Christmas Sweatshirt is not only poised to become a smart sartorial sensation, but also a sensible solution to a serious situation. “As fashion has now become the second most polluting industry after oil, I want this Christmas to be the year we as consumers try to be more sustainable in our choices,” Cridland states.
Built to last…and last…and last
So what’s so special about Cridland’s sweatshirt? Well, as the name implies, it is – most importantly – the fact that it can go for three decades. Possibly, even longer. “This is the first ever Christmas jumper to come with a 30-year guarantee. It’s so well made that if anything happens to it over the next three decades, we will repair or replace it for free,” Cridland explains.
“In contrast to the needless cycle of consumption and waste that exists all over the world at Christmas, this is a garment built to last. Its lifespan makes it cheaper than any alternative from an unsustainable fast fashion retailer and it is handcrafted out of Italian cotton, so it will look smarter too.”
Take your cue from Cridland – resist that tacky holiday sweater, for reasons far weightier than the obvious it-is-simply-too-ugly-for-words-anyways. Let one man’s efforts inspire you to wake up from the bad dream that is mindless holiday consumption. Throw out the throwaway culture and help make Christmas a whole lot greener. And while you’re at it, keep passing that fruitcake right along.
Check out www.tomcridland.com to learn more about The 30-Year Christmas Sweatshirt
By ANGIE DUARTE