Mister Beacon Episode #133
Sustainable Fashion using IoT PixelsAugust 17, 2021
This week we’re talking about the circular economy and the process of making fashion more sustainable with auto-ID technology. We’ve brought on Tom Cridland, who is a fashion designer, podcaster, and musician who has created a new clothing line with a 30-year guarantee in order to promote more sustainability in the fashion and clothing space.
We discuss the impact of auto-ID in the fashion industry, and how Bluetooth tags in clothing could be implemented to improve supply chains as well as creating a used market for clothing. We also hear Tom’s experiences with Elton John and his band, and what ultimately inspired him as a musician and fashion designer.
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Steve Statler 00:00
Welcome to the Mr. Beacon Podcast, the show that focuses on the worlds of digital and physical coming together, of making everything intelligent, and bringing meaning to IoT, we try and bring together guests that will make us all smarter learning about significant technologies, significant, significant companies significant applications. This week's episode is unusual, we're focusing on circularity, sustainable fashion. Why would we do that? The reason is, a massive amount of our resources are focused on making clothing. And there's a huge amount of pollution and waste that come about that it's clearly fixing. This is clearly one of the areas, which is a big opportunity for IoT. And if we're going to address this area, we need to understand it. To that end, we've got Tom Cridland, who is a renaissance man, he's eclectic. He is a fashion designer, just bought one of his items of clothing, in fact, and he's focused on clothing that last 30 years. I think it's really interesting to understand this as a baseline to then understanding how technology could revolutionize this area. So if you have an interest in circularity, if you want to see the end of fast fashion, you want to understand how our lives are going to change then please listen to Tom Cridland. And by the way, you're going to get a lot of music as well. One of the things that distinguishes this podcast is our love of music. We drive and bring a bit of humanity to IoT in that way. And Tom is an amazing musician and a podcaster as well. very gifted young artist. Please enjoy this interview with Tom Cruise. Mr. beacon podcast is sponsored by William intelligence for everyday things powered by IoT pixels. Well, Tom, thanks so much for joining the podcast. You're a very unusual guests. For us here on the Mr. beacon podcast. We don't we talk a lot about music. But we don't normally have musicians on certainly not ones who have got tours on the books and have got this amazing repertoire that you have. So and the amazing contacts that you have. And I'm really looking forward to talking to you about that. But really, the reason why you're here is to talk about circularity, sustainable fashion, which I believe has a direct relationship with Internet of Things technology. So the plan is we're going to talk a bit about your fashion line and some of the unusual things that you're doing in sustainability, then we're going to talk about IoT and where fashion and sustainability and IoT can come in. And then I've got a ton of questions I want to ask you about all of the interviews you've done with Annie Lennox, Smokey Robinson, Nigel Olsson, Michael Imperioli, who that was an amazing interview that you do on your podcast, greatest music of all time. So long intro But first of all, thanks for joining the podcast. Thank you for having me. It's a real pleasure to talk to you. Um, so you're a musician, but you have a fashion line. How did that happen?
Tom Cridland 03:48
Well, the fashion line came first, I started that when I graduated from university, I was very keen to avoid life, in a corporate job in a nine to five job. And away I envy those people because it started off with me wanting to sort of do no work and continue drinking and having a bit of a laugh, like I did at university. And the whole point was to not work corporate hours. Here we are a few years later, and I work corporate hours. But I do love it, at least to a large extent. And, and so you know, I would say to anybody who's looking to do something entrepreneurial, for the reasons of spending less time working, it doesn't quite work that way. Almost the nine to five probably is the option that you can take where you do the least work. But so that's that was my motivation for pursuing a career in fashion. It was not because I'm some kind of do gooder, or some kind of person who started out with a huge interest in sustainability. And I decided to make my pivot my back my brand started off. Specializing in making trousers it was a bit like spoke the fashion brand that specializes in Making trousers that are of a perfect fit apart from, you know, I wasn't backed by venture capitalists. So I didn't have lots of funding, I had a six grand startup loan, and no expertise. So it was like a bad version of spoke. But I will say that I was the first trouser expert not spoke. And, and so that was what it was first. And then I thought, Okay, I need to do something more interesting than just making colorful chinos. Also, with my posh accent, it didn't quite give off the right vibe, it looked like I was Harrar Henry, going to regathered all the time. It didn't really give off a great impression. So that's why I became interested in sustainability. And I wanted to come up with something that was really eye catching that would get me lots of media attention, publicize the brand. And I also wanted to emphasize how interested I was in the idea of not changing your wardrobe too often not shopping at prime mark. Because it's more expensive to shop that way. Just buy something every week and then throw it away. And you look worse, you don't look as smart as if you just buy something a bit better quality and keep it for longer. So I didn't want to reinvent the wheel, I didn't have the budget to do stuff like there. Another brand to talk about would be like Pangaea, because they're like, they're really doing a lot of interesting things with materials, I don't have the budget to do that, again. So I'm not like a great scientific innovator. So I wanted that I wanted to find a way to stand out in the sustainability, area of fashion, because at that time, this is 2015 before these brands had come along. And so that's where I came up with this idea of that 30 year sweatshirt. And then the whole 30 year clothing collection, guaranteeing the item of clothing for 30 years, encouraged people to keep the item of clothing for longer show that we're committed to making quality items of clothing. And it's simple. It just requires us to pledge to repair the item, if anything happens to it. And hopefully your as the brand continues to grow. I mean, we're still independent, as it continues to grow. Hopefully we can get better and better at doing it.
Steve Statler 07:01
So much to talk about here. So I want to tweezer apart a number of the things that you have raised, hopefully without damaging the garment. Let's start off with why sustainable fashion. I mean, isn't fashion to be fashionable doesn't have to change constantly.
Tom Cridland 07:23
I'm not very good businessmen. And I, you know, I hadn't quite appreciated that for a start. Yeah, I think fashion, I don't think seasonal fashion is ever going to start. I think that's quite unlikely. I hopefully there are going to be some ways around that. I you know, I think it's quite unrealistic that we're all going to keep everything that we own for 30 years. That's not what I'm suggesting here. So I'm just saying if you've got a plain Navy sweatshirt, or a plain white t shirt, or plain pair of, you know, Navy chinos, beige chinos, like those items that can kind of go with anything more Jazzy, that might be more seasonal, you might as well buy those really good quality items and keep them for longer have those more sustainable cornerstones of your wardrobe. And then with the more jazzy stuff, you know, again, invest in higher quality. And when it comes to if you're, if you're shopping for seasonal fashion, you should probably have some money in the bank, you know, I, I haven't really had the opportunity to go into expensive fashion stores all the time, and like shop for the latest wears every season. But a lot of those brands where it's like really kind of high fashion, and recycling and reselling that stuff is actually possible, you know, like people really do want to buy vintage or vintage Sandler run or that type of stuff is essentially the only part of the fashion market that I think should have no future is prime mark, and mass produced, like crappy clothing.
Steve Statler 08:52
Yeah, and I mean, I guess the the thing that I'm getting at is the damage that that causes, I mean, the level of pollution that comes from the production of pro clothing is really significant, isn't it all of the dyes, the chemical wastes the the the whole carbon footprint of creating something and if you're then essentially throwing it away, or to be frank, just not wearing it. I mean, you're like constantly buying cheap stuff, which has, we talk about sustainable fashion in terms of the physical lifetime of the garment, but there's also emotional sustainability. I think I'm probably a little bit older than you. And I have to confess I do have 30 year clothing in my wardrobe. And the reason it's there is I love it, and it's kind of becomes part of you and it's sort of maybe not particularly fashionable, but I just enjoy going back seeing these old photographs of a favorite jacket or something like that. That accumulated memories. And so I think there's some real benefits emotion to having emotional sustainability building your own brand. And I think the really cool thing is that entrepreneurs like yourselves, can actually charge more for something that is better. And we can get more joy out of clothing that is well made, we can spend a little bit of a bit extra and buy a little bit less. And at the same time, we're causing less pollution. And the whole production process is less exploitative as well. I mean, this cheap stuff does not come without a cost, it comes at the cost of all of the workers who are in sweatshops, because the people that make this stuff can afford to pay them well. So I'll get off my soapbox, and we can get back onto yours. Or at least your platform interesting. So how do you make a sustaining, but what's the difference between something that's sustainable and something that's not sustainable?
Tom Cridland 11:08
Well, I think a lot of fashion was already sustainable. Before I came up with this idea, the novelty of the idea was the 30 year guarantee, I haven't come up, as I said, you know, there are companies like Pangaea, I think, and and others come up with more innovative design techniques. But that said, you know, we use organic cotton, recycled polyester, we, we make the clothing in the United Kingdom, we used to make it important to go and we just make it to a very high standard. And then if anything happens to it, we repair it, we stitch it up, we don't throw it away. I mean, it's a pretty simple concept. It's not, you could probably walk into, you know, brands that I was talking about, you know, Gucci or wherever else on the sort of proper, expensive High Street, and their sweatshirts would probably last you 30 years as well, I mean, probably some of those very expensive brands, the sweatshirts would also be quite cheaply made, but I think most of the Most High quality stuff will last for that long, it's just I wanted to put on my hand and say, you know, our stuff will last for 30 years, we're prepared to back it, it's going to be cheaper than the light suns fail, it's going to be cheaper than the stuff that costs hundreds of pounds. It's a more reasonably priced type of high end fashion. It's not as cheap as Prime Archons are gonna make it to the highest quality that we can, you know, and double reinforced all the sleeve seams and, and you know, do extra things to try and stop. wear and tear, stop the running of dyes, etc. But at the end of the day, it's it's about us saying we're making the best clothing that we can and we're prepared to provide you with a warranty. That underlines that that kind of approach to fashion, treating it as sustainable. And kind of going against the grain in terms of that fast fashion culture that's become more prevalent.
Steve Statler 13:01
Making your clothing in England is pretty unusual, used not to be unusual. It used to be standard. But now obviously, China is the place that most people go to because and other developing countries. How did you go about finding someone to make your clothing Was it fun? If you get or just a lot of hard work?
Tom Cridland 13:29
It was it was quite fun. It wasn't it wasn't, you know, particularly it wasn't like the worst thing that we've ever had to do. I enjoyed making the clothing in Portugal. Sadly, Brexit put a stop to that.
Steve Statler 13:43
You know, I'm interesting.
Tom Cridland 13:45
I really enjoyed working with Portuguese suppliers. I mean, Portugal is a wonderful place to make clothing. But you know, Brexit is causing a lot of problems in general, because, you know, customers in Europe are just getting sent bills for VAT and duty that are more than the cost of the T shirts that they're buying from us. I think john lewis stopped EU orders know how all the European sales whilst not wanting to be one of those people who moans You know, I think it's absurd. I mean, I had Professor Anthony grayling, on my podcast and he's like, seemingly obsessed with overturning the result of Brexit. You know, I think that's a bit weird. Like, get over it. And I'm saying that business that's you know, losing money as a result of Brexit. I just think we've got to move past Brexit now and just get on with it. But at the same time, it is pretty annoying. Like I'm struggling to see. You know what the particular point of it was, other than to get everybody to have a great big argument with each other for about five years.
Steve Statler 14:53
Yeah, very. I was really sad to see it happen, but it's happening. I guess we just have to live with it. For a while and really understand what it means and then if we decide that it's wasn't a good idea, then hopefully there'll be less division and acrimony because the the arguments will be obvious. darting up a fashion brand pretty challenging, I imagine and it sounded like you were close to giving up. How did how did Nigel Olsson make a difference in your trajectory?
Tom Cridland 15:28
Well, I love that music. I've been obsessed with. He's
Steve Statler 15:32
the drummer for elton john, just in case people. You and I are not completely obsessed by elton john, which I am. But
Tom Cridland 15:39
I'm glad to hear that you're obviously a matter of taste. Steve, always forget that people don't know that the other members or a lot of people don't know the other members of Elton's band because in my mind, these guys should be as celebrated and I genuinely believe they should be celebrated as members of Fleetwood Mac eagles. You know, Beatles even these are some of the greatest popular musicians of all time, Nigel Lawson, Davey Johnstone, the late great demare. I'm very passionate about about this, as you can tell, and I think back in the day A few years ago, when I used to excitedly pitch, the press sort of saying all Nigel Olsen's wearing my like, you know, Chino brand, thinking that people would be like, oh, Nigel Olsson. That's pretty cool. I remember being somewhat depressed when I went on Twitter to discover a bunch of people kind of slagging me off saying, oh, he's that Elton John's drama guy. Weird. You know, I don't think people get it. But Nigel is a great drummer. And he helped turn things around in the sense that I was obsessed with the elton john band. I was spending more time drinking and listening to elton john, and I was working on my business. We were in Los Angeles, with my brother celebrating his 21st and I just had this moment where I was like, Alright, I'm gonna email the Nigel Lawson fan club, offer him a free pair of trousers. And you know, hopefully I can meet him as a result. And he replied, and and we ended up starting this kind of thing where we made him clothing to wear on tour. And we started off by going backstage on a couple of shows just to say hi, and we got on well, and so it's evolved into a great friendship, going for dinner, you know, occasionally and catching up and he's just such a wonderful guy. You know, he's such a nice person as well as being genuinely you know, even if he'd just even if we just had a bit of awkward chitchat about the the trousers before one of the gigs and then never met again, you know, would have still thought what gentlemen, but it's been one of the best things to ever happen to me to make friends with such a great musician. And then recently, this year, I had david Johnstone Elton's guitarist on my podcast twice, which was great, because when it comes to meeting up with Nigel, I don't want to pester him and say, you know, oh, can I meet Davey? Or can I meet Elton? I mean, I would never in a million years, ask him whether I can meet Elton. You know, I've invited Elton onto the podcast separately, but I would never go through Nigel. I'm to get Elton on, I think hopefully, you know, before he retires, or whatever he will come on, because I think I could do a better job interviewing him. Then perhaps some of the people who do when I see it whenever I see him on like the one show, or Howard Stern, I just thought the interviewing was crap. And we learned nothing new.
Steve Statler 18:29
Yeah, it's such an interesting person. And just going back to your point about the musicianship of that band. You read about the early albums that were made honky Chateau and things like that. And it was clearly a very spontaneous, rapid process. It wasn't like, Hey, guys, I've written this stuff. Here's your part. Here's your part. It was collaborative. So that if you love those early albums, which I think most elton john fans do, it was like he was in his absolute prime. Then they're the product of that amazing ensemble that he bought together. And I actually have a ticket to see him at Dodger Stadium. I think it's his penultimate. So I'm really really looking forward to it. I I saw him in Vegas, and I think you saw him in Vegas. And I have to say I was a little disappointed. You know, he's someone that since Captain fantastic came out. I have been a devoted fan of and it was a bit of a lean back. comfy seat experience. And I kind of wanted the, the stadium experience the kind of high energy everyone standing up thing and so I'm looking forward to hopefully getting a bit of that from from law. Other
Tom Cridland 19:53
thing is, you know, even in the 90s, the crowds Elton Giggs used Stand up, used to be a bit trendier than ever since I started going 2010 I mean, when I started going it was the idea if there was such a thing, but it was the one of the low points of his career. When I went in 2010 he you know, he wasn't cool at all his he was falling down to playing. And these are huge numbers, but for Elton is a superstar. It's not that great. Like he was playing like 1000 9000 10,000 he was playing weird places as well. Like places literally in the middle of nowhere. I loved it. I thought that the show then was musically better than it is now. He played for longer. His band were awesome. And they're still awesome. They're the same same guys apart from Bob birch, who sadly passed away. But like the graphics in the background will a bit crap. Like there was no tech there was no it was just a bunch of like 70s guys wearing really cool clothing and just playing gray and all the 100% live no backing tracks. And the essence of it is still the same. What's changed in the interim. The reason why they're in Dodger Stadium is Rocket Man has come out. David furnish has become manager. And he's done a very, very good job at making Elton a proper elitist, pop star celebrity again, you know, Elton, all his peers, you wouldn't see kind of Don Henley or Bob Dylan, kind of mixing with Lady Gaga and doing lipo and doing all these award shows and being so public facing but Elton Spotify streaming numbers and the fact he's playing stadiums again, that it shows that maintaining this kind of celebrity status has really helped his career. So yeah, the Vegas stuff was comfy seats, and he was playing smaller arenas. The Dodger Stadium will hopefully be yeah, hopefully it will be a more raucous affair. But I have to say that it's it's a lot of the people at these gigs. The devoted fanbase is still the same. A lot of it is like people came to see a celebrity. I don't think you know, you. I when I went, I saw him in Lucca. In Italy in a couple of weeks before it played inside the walls at the liquor festival, like most people do, that fits about five or 6000 people. When I saw him next, they had to move outside because there were 25,000 people who wanted tickets, they had to play outside of Lucca, just to accommodate all the demand. And you know, let me tell you, you know, people were not humming along to burn down the mission. A lot of people were asleep in the middle of the concert I saw. These are people who just wanted to see crocodile rock and Rocket Man. They weren't there. For the jams. They weren't there for like a 12 minute version of livan, but in my mind is still him in a band killer.
Steve Statler 22:46
So any prospect of getting Ray Cooper on your podcast, do you think Yeah,
Tom Cridland 22:50
yeah, that that that looks like it could be a goer. At one stage. I thought it was a definite guy. They were like, oh, we're just looking for a day. And then they were saying, you know, Ray would rather do this when they're back on tour. So I mean, fingers crossed. I mean, I'm keen to get I've been trying to sort of, I mean, it's not been half hearted because I really do mean it. But I was trying to get people behind the campaign to get them inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because it's something that both Nigel and Davey have sort of expressed that they would like they ducked in into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, like the street should be.
Steve Statler 23:21
Alright. Well, I,
Tom Cridland 23:23
I quite agree. I've tried. I've tried a little bit to kind of encourage that. So be good to get Ray Cooper on just, you know, not that he needs like a podcast to boost his profile. But it'd be good to have something up on YouTube, like a good interview with him because there's not many.
Steve Statler 23:37
Exactly. So he's an he's an enigma. And he's just a fascinating character on stage. I mean, the guy's just so full of energy, and I'd love to just learn a bit more about him as a person, which is why I really enjoyed your interview with with Nigel and you talked about him as being a gentleman and he dresses like a gentleman that he he turned out very nicely for your interview with him. I have to say, Yeah,
Tom Cridland 24:05
man, that was a nice made in Portugal. Tom Cridland custom suit that he was wearing there. Yeah, it was a I mean, it was not something that was available on our website. We just make totally custom stuff. For Nigel, we're just making a bunch of stuff right now. In London. That's being resized where he's got some custom embroidery. We've done some custom embroidery of a single because obviously I'm quite a fan of Nigel solo stuff, as well. You know, Nigel in the 70s had had a few hits and made some albums with some huge people playing on it. You know, like Lee Sklar played on bass. David Foster was a producer on Nigel Lawson solo records before David Foster was like the biggest producer in the world. And he did a cover that Elton played on and the ultimate band played on so it was effectively the 1973 74 Golden Era. It was like an elton john record, but Nigel takes lead vocals and the rest of them play. It's called only one woman. And it's actually a cover of a big song. And because I was throwing around ideas to put on the back of the thing, so it's got embroidery of only one woman on the back, and then another one's got Nigel Olsson drum Orchestra and Chorus, which is like an album that he did in 1971, which was, you know, that was around the time where Elton wasn't big enough yet, for him to sort of say in interviews that he was going to be doing it for the rest of his life around that, it seems that he was sort of like, Ah, this is amazing. I love Elton. You know, hopefully, I won't just always be known as Elton John's drama, like, I want to do my thing. Even when you read interviews like that, and you see how things have evolved, and I think the band now they seem like very modest guys, you know?
Steve Statler 25:48
That's right. Absolutely very, not self obsessed. I have to say. I mean, be fascinated to know how you got Cliff Richard on your podcast. But Cliff who is a super interesting guy, he's just a major pivotal figure in the history of popular music in the UK. But you know, very kind of int he was, I think, self obsessed is is a little too critical. But he was just very conscious of his himself and not self conscious but conscious of him self whereas, you know, you know, I look at who else was listening to that I really liked Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet, super entertaining, very thinking about other people thinking about the industry, thinking about others. And you probably don't want to say anything nasty about the frigid weather that came across to you when you were talking to him.
Tom Cridland 26:59
I mean, the thing is, is that I like trying to be candid about people because, yeah, like the best. One of the best podcasts. I mean, I'm always gonna say the elton john band and my favorite podcasts because they genuinely are less than what I'm really interested in. But like a great example of a podcast, probably one of the more entertaining musicians who came on was David Crosby because he says what he thinks, you know, he basically said Kanye West is an asshole. Rick Rubin is an asshole. That's what you want to hear in an interview. You don't hear people just like just being vanilla. That's not you know, that's not why with pop culture. That's pretty much what the Gallagher's made a career off you know, Oasis didn't exactly reinvent the wheel musically. I prefer their interviews to their music. Their interviews cracked me up. And and so when it comes to clip, Richard The thing is I bought a CD last summer of Cliff Richards 80s stuff, like wired for sound carry. Big cheesy ballad ocean deep. There were loads of absolute bangers university that didn't actually sound the production did not sound a million miles away from the production on the weekends. Number one really trendy album after hours. Like Cliff Richard, like in the 80s is basically pop music of today. He is he is like made a lot of absolute bangers. The problem is that cliff doesn't, you know, he doesn't think he's very cool. He's, he seems very insecure. Like the fan. He's cool. He's a good looking guy. He's just, you know, he's like, 80 years old. He literally looks as young. He looks younger than some of my contemporaries from uni. Like, you know, I've just turned 30 he looks. He looks as young as me. In fact, I was just coming back from Portugal and he lives in the Algarve. And there was a cardboard cutout of him advertising some Portuguese wine I found quite funny. So I took a little selfie next to it and put it on Instagram. And a lot of people said, you know, clear cliffs cut out looks younger than you may. He looks great. I think, you know, he shoots himself in the foot a little bit sometimes. I find him a fascinating character cliff, Richard, you know, that's like, he's made some bad stuff. Some pretty terrible records. Like, there was I think there was a mashup of what a wonderful world with mashed up with something awful like I think what a wonderful world mashed up with Somewhere over the rainbow. And the music video is Cliff flying through London or something. It says it's like laughably bad, but in general, I think he's really cool. I think he's made some absolute bangers.
Steve Statler 29:47
Yeah. I mean, when you have a career that is that long. I mean, what an incredible industry, a very challenging industry to try and stay relevant and you're going to throw yourself in the arms of people creatively who may be He should have done but you can't deny his talents and you can't deny his role in, you know, the quote that the john lennon quote, that, you know, it started with him, it started with cliff, you can't get a better endorsement than that can, you know, I knew this is gonna happen. I've just drawn into like a magnet to talking about about music. And this is supposedly a podcast about the Internet of Things. And one might ask, what the heck is sustainable fashion got to do with IoT. But I think there's a lot and I think it's there's some technology and there's some business reasons for the overlap. And before I joined Willie up, which is the people that that's my day job, the people that, that allow me to do this semiconductor company cloud syncing as a service company, I started a company called cause based solutions. And the premise was, you know, we should try and find ways of making a profit that actually make the world better. And that way, everyone has more fun, we can feel better about it. And rather than, you know, giving back being virtue signaling, it can be a way to make a living, and that really will be sustainable and positive thing. And I really feel like there's an opportunity with sustainable fashion on its own. But I think when you start to bring some of the technology that we're working on, which is essentially a computer the size of a postage stamp, it powers itself by recycling by harvesting radio frequency energy, suddenly, you can give a put intelligence in clothing and identity. And one might reasonably ask why the heck would you want to do that it's clothing should be about texture, and fiber and feel, and color and cut and all these things. But I do believe that technology has something to offer for circularity. And the sustainability consortium recently did a study where they tried to look at how often people wear something. And if you think about it, we have some fundamental problems with fashion. One is, people make fashion and they don't know whether people like it or not, they know. Obviously, you know, if people buy it, and you'll have seen, hopefully, eventually, I Well, you probably won't see it. But I did buy your your red, one of your red sweatshirts. And I think I'm going to like it. But let's face it, neither of us knows whether I will do and unless we keep in touch you I know if I wore at once, and then thought it was a terrible mistake. Or if it becomes, you know, part of my weekly rotation favorite thing, and I wear it for the next 30 years. So I believe that bringing IoT, this kind of postage stamp sustainable, battery free computing integrated in for pennies into the care label will allow with the appropriate permissions by the wearer, some people won't want to do this, some people will. If if the wearer is interested in having a relationship with the designer, then that designer will know oh, this person has been wearing this constantly. And we did a good job. Or there was obviously there's there's something wrong and in the unhappy circumstance where the doesn't like the thing, but maybe others will they have a way of certifying, oh, I only watched this once. And you know, this is the provenance. And maybe wardrobes can be a little bit more like Uber or Lyft, then then they can have the old model of you buy it. And that's it. You can have kind of more of a fluid movement of clothing through your wardrobe and the clothing can find the person that loves it, and maybe they'll be happy together. I'm sort of talking about subscriptions to clothing, rental of clothing. And, you know, I think one of the things that stops people buying more, certainly in my case is my wardrobes full. I've got no space to put stuff. And if we had a better mechanism for adding some intelligence to clothing so that you understood what you like, and you had a easy mechanism for getting money back and finding a home for the things that maybe aren't a good fit. Maybe it's great item of clothing, but someone else would appreciate it. And so I think that's where that's where the opportunity is and the building blocks to make this crazy idea happen are actually pretty Close to hand washing machines now have Bluetooth and Wi Fi, and they can energize and read these tags. And so clothing can communicate how often it's washed, which would be of direct interest to someone that's thinking about buying it and giving it to a second home. And I think, you know, ultimately, when clothing gets to the end of its life, one of the challenges with recycling, which is kind of the last resort for clothing is much better to find another home for it less wasteful, then there's a future where the waste disposal companies waste management in this country in the US do a much better job of recycling because there's a digital identity that can be easily read. And you know, that clothing can be disassembled, and, and and recycled more appropriately. So that's my little soapbox moment, talking about how IoT and fashion can come together. I'd be interested in any thoughts you have on that beam be brutal.
Tom Cridland 36:10
There's a lot there. I'm very, very interested in the idea of cleaning subscriptions for one, rental, I mean, clothing rental makes so much sense. Especially considering the price of some things that you would only want to wear a couple of times, or you really will only have the opportunity to wear it particularly expensive stuff. Like there's some stuff that I see that I just think God, I would love to wear that to a party and stuff. And then I mean, well, the Coronavirus hasn't been ideal, but you know how many parties to go to a year, you know, maybe at best if you've got a very full social calendar, it's going to be like 50 a year, but like realistically, in 50 years, like five to 10? Maybe. So you know, and of those like, what are they going to be like? What are those parties going to be? How often you're going to be able to wear something flashy. So clothing rental, or like weddings, for example. You know, if you get invited to a wedding, and it's like summer suits. Well, I don't have like a linen suit. At the moment. You know, I had a bad one that I got made in Vietnam that like that kind of crap. Really, it's not been cut very well. I would love to go to this wedding. Because it's going to be a swanky wedding at the weekend. I would love to go wearing like a nice, you know, proper linen suit. But do I want to spend 600 pounds? 700 pounds on that? Maybe not? If I could rent rent a really good one for 100 quid, that would be very interesting. And I guess it would kind of be more sustainable as well. I mean, in terms of technology, technology in clothing, I've seen that a lot of companies are doing things where you can track the supply chain with little chips. And all of that stuff. That's really interesting. I've absolutely, I would sign up right away. I just don't have the budget at the moment. Yeah, no, I do. You know, I would love like I see companies that Pangaea spoke, I've talked about these guys, there are other companies. I mean, Harry's shaving company was quite a big inspiration for the kind of way that I wanted to do things. That's of course, a subscription based company, as it should be what you know, for shaving stuff, but the point is that a lot of these companies have have just had more budget and more opportunity than I do. So I'm working within quite a restricted framework in terms of what I can make possible, but there are a lot of great ideas and that that technology tracking stuff in your clothing for the supply chain for where it might end up. That's pretty revolutionary.
Steve Statler 38:47
I agree. And I'm really glad you mentioned the supply chain, cuz, you know, we were getting to a point where we're sufficiently funded where we actually talked to, we have a PR company and they're like, don't talk about what's gonna happen, because you're gonna freak people out. But it's actually the supply chain, but it's the bit between the the mill where the fabric is made. And in the store that has so much room for improvement, there's a lot of clothing that is just dumped because because too much was made. And then, you know, getting the right piece of apparel in the right store is is a nightmare. If you're a brand. You have zero visibility, typically of the inventory and the wholesale channel, you you, you get kind of this bulk purchase from you. But imagine a world where you get a real time view of the inventory levels in every store that stocking your apparel, and you know, one of the biggest obstacles to selling something is if it's out of stock, if it's not there. God forbid someone next one of your items of clothing, then, you know, let's say there's a really great suit that you make. And it's not selling. You know, it's not selling in Regent Street, the Regent Street stores should be selling it. And it's like, oh, they obviously don't like the suit. No, they love it, and people stole it. And the inventory system didn't get updated. If you have a digital ID that's associated with the apparel and brands can actually be on this see, and if they can see what's in stock in, in the different stores, then they have an opportunity to, to make less stuff, but actually have more of it in stock and sell more of it and have less returns less wastage, there. And I actually think this is a fundamental part of how we address climate change is by cutting capital employed in inventory by 10, or 20%. Let's make 10 or 20% less stuff. What would that do to the environment? If we made 10 or 20%? less stuff, and then compound on that? What happened? What would happen if people actually bought spent exactly the same amount they are, but bought less stuff? They bought the they bought the 600 pounds suit, the $1,000 suit? And then when they started to grow out of it, as some of us do, they find another home and then they have the money to buy another grater. So this is this is the future that I believe in anyway. So thanks for giving me a good excuse to to pontificate about it appreciate No, no,
Tom Cridland 41:38
I, I really share that, that view, I think that that is the way forward. I don't see the appeal of the way that a lot of people apparently doing things.
Steve Statler 41:50
I think it's just easier isn't it and and also, the technology that's making this possible is only just, you know, coming into its own RFID has been around for a while, but the infrastructure was super expensive. And this battery free Bluetooth stuff that we're investing in, is very new. So I think it's gonna happen we have if I look at our customer base, we've got over 30 of the largest companies in the world that are in our early adopter program. And four of them are fashion companies, which is amazing. So we have like pharmaceutical companies, CPG companies, but we have some amazing brands that I think see it and it's gonna take some of these giants to move it to get an ecosystem in place. which I think has to work across companies if you're going to have wardrobe management, it can't be Versace wardrobe management, how many you know, that doesn't make sense. You want something that works across Hugo Boss Versace LVMH. And then that's a platform where entrepreneurs boutique designers can slot in and they can can put in the hooks that it'll be like the App Store. But for clothing, it'll be like Netflix, but for clothing. And you have big artists and small artists that are making stuff for Netflix. And I think that's that's the way it's gonna go, personally. Very good. Let's get back to music. How did you get Cliff Richard on your show?
Tom Cridland 43:24
Well, I was at the stage where it was going to be a one off podcast. So it was going to be you know, just a one off series of the Greatest Artists of All Time, as as many initial ones we're going to be. And, you know, I was as surprised as anyone when a lot of these people agreed to come on the podcast. But yeah, it was amazing. It was amazing to talk to him. And I think he's exactly the type of person who doesn't give that many in depth interviews like this. Who would do well to do more of them. Because yes, he is a very interesting guy.
Steve Statler 44:00
I'd love to hear more from him. I was like, Okay, we got warmed up. We got the perfunctory stuff out of the way let's get into more of the depths and yeah, I'd already given out and
Tom Cridland 44:13
yeah, not to do a three hour and I'd love to do like a Joe Rogan experience with Cliff Richard, you know, give him a glass of Keane to the you know, car me or whatever. Portuguese wine and you know maybe a spliff like Ilan musk on the Joe Rogan podcast we could have Clive Richard smoke you know smoking weed and really like telling us things about the BBC. I would have enjoyed to really get you get you know, get down to brass tacks with him but he sadly you know, only had an hour but that was pretty good. As far as play Richard interviews go.
Steve Statler 44:51
Amazing. And what about Annie Lennox? Isn't she wonderful person? I think she is I'm gonna again, pontificate a bit but You know, my, the zenith of my musical experiences when I ran the college radio station back back in the 80s. And it was a wonderful thing I got to hang out with people that knew a lot about jazz and punk and all the stuff that was going on, we got a lot of white labels, but probably the peak of campus radio resurgence in the early 80s was when Annie Lennox agreed to be interviewed by us and Well, I didn't interview her unfortunately, we it was before I was in charge, and so I didn't get to kind of elbow other people out of the way and rushed down with a microphone, there was some very, very nervous person who'd never interviewed anyone famous for and we kind of sent him down to interview her. And he just completely froze. I mean, he literally became incoherent and couldn't talk. And she interviewed herself she she literally said, well, you're probably wanting to know about you know how we're feeling about the fact that we've got a number one and because you know, they didn't agree to come to campus radio Hatfield, when, when their whatever it was sweet dreams is at number one, they were like, you know, a, an emerging band, and they ended up at campus radio Hatfield, and she could rightly have been very arrogant and obnoxious and kind of brushed off this chap whose knees were knocking, but she was, it was a great interview, and she did it all on autopilot. So did you get that impression when you talk to her? I think she comes over as being super nice. Yeah, she was very, very pleasant to talk to you. I thought. Yeah,
Tom Cridland 46:52
it was. It was a great interview. I feel like, again, that one could have gone on for longer. I mean, often feel like they could have.
Steve Statler 47:01
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You're very multi dimensional artists. So as well as interviewing artists you actually play. Tell us about the tour that's coming up.
Tom Cridland 47:18
So I'm opening for the stylistics across about 20 dates, and starting end of October, finishing early December. And yeah, I mean, that's a huge honor. It's pretty difficult, to be honest with you to try and make the type of music that I really like. No one listens to on tik tok, or on Spotify or anywhere, you know, that type of old school 70 sound. I mean, by July the 17th. On July the 17th, the rest of the music that I've recorded will be out. It's called the one single week box set. So basically back in 2019, I decided I'm giving up everything, to only focus on writing, recording, playing live, I'm just going to drop everything else and follow the rock'n'roll dream. And I manically wrote and recorded over 100 songs, drawing on my many years of musical obsession, and then did a 48 state tour of the US I played every single state every single contiguous state in two months with a band and that caught the attention of the stylistics. Then Coronavirus, happened at all with the statistics got postponed to now. And I realized that I'm going to need to keep everything going and I realized I want to keep everything going I want to do my clothing. I want to do other business stuff I want to do my podcast etc. I can't just make music because it's not possible you can't support yourself and also you drive yourself mad if you're only focused on something like music that you love too much becomes a chore rather than a pleasure but I did we did with a lot of extraordinarily talented musicians I put together over 100 songs 100 songs recorded them and people who really like I sent send the link to a few people a couple of people to review and you know I think people have been pretty knocked out I've been really happy with the response to because I've there's been a bit underwhelming this music was initially planned for release in 2019 but I didn't have the scope to finish the vocals for over 100 songs you know it was very crazy manic to try and put that amount of stuff together so finally releasing it all finished mix mastered. Like I'm not mucking around songs. You know, these are songs real music played by real players. Original stuff. A lot of it quite 70s quite inspired by Elton and all of that type of thing. And yeah, I think I think a lot of people who like that sort of thing will be very interested in it and hopefully, you know, going on tour with the stylistics will help promote it.
Steve Statler 49:46
So will you do any Elton covers in your settle or just gonna be things from his 20s midlife crisis? Is that the one of your
Tom Cridland 49:56
Yeah, a midlife crisis in your 20s that's the new Is my new album again, that album is basically just take I've taken like 15 random songs from that 100 songs and I never really made a cohesive album as a result, because I basically recorded 100 songs and loads of different genres. A lot of like melody ideas come from that Elton's school of thought but lots of different production on this stuff. Yeah, I'll play some Elton. To answer your question more succinctly. I, you know, alongside doing my own music, I also have this band Tompkins elton john ban, because Elton's retiring, someone needs to keep this great music alive. And so I'm, you know, putting myself forward to be one of those people to continue to play those, those good tunes. Because I've spent If nothing else, you know, I've already done my 10,000 hours of dedication to this craft,
Steve Statler 50:50
you have I mean, it's, it's, I hate to ask them or make the point that's been probably made ad nauseum. But for someone of your age, you have an encyclopedic knowledge of a genre that took place even I guess, before you were born if I think about it, but how did that happen? What what what turns you on to to become such an expert in this era that predates your birth?
Tom Cridland 51:18
Well, I was first of all obsessed with the Beatles. So I was equally obsessed with the Beatles and like all stuff that derives from the Beatles like all of their solo stuff or their like Jeff Lynn jesslyn production another
Steve Statler 51:33
amazing artists incredible
Tom Cridland 51:37
and like Tom Petty the world breeze, just anything Beatles, he, I was really obsessed with that. But then I've always been obsessed with with pop culture and media and all that stuff. And, you know, I listened to modern music. I love Dave, the the UK rapper who plays piano, and it's just extraordinary. He is amazing. But the 70s became like after the Beatles became my second like deep deep love and Elton's music, elton john band. I just love studying that stuff. I'm interested in the personalities and the stories. I haven't actually spent enough time on the music only got into actually making music 2019 before that, my first ever thing was the Timex 2018. I play drums and saying, played 100 gigs, around England in pubs. And then we got booked to play a hotel in LA. So we we played some we did free records as a band, and I was like singing drummer, then 2019 I did my own solo stuff. But that was like, that's all I've done music wise myself. I'm not I'm not trained. I taught myself drums. Now I've switched to teaching myself piano and singing at the same time. So you know, hadn't been playing piano since I was three. I didn't go to Royal Academy or anything. You know, I'm, I'm winging it to a large extent. But I'm getting I'm getting there. And then I'm going to go out and I'm going to play a hell of a lot of gigs to really cement that knowledge.
Steve Statler 53:07
And will you be coming back to the US?
Tom Cridland 53:10
Oh, yeah, definitely, early to early 2022 is when I plan on going to the US next To be honest, I would actually flee the UK and go to America sooner. But I've got this stylistics tour. So I'm going to prepare with some warm up gigs in Portugal. Just to get like, really comfortable playing and singing, and then do the tour in the UK. I mean, I could just saying, you know, I don't need to Ghana at the same time. Having only started it last year, like last year, I couldn't even tell you what middle C was. So to be playing and singing like Elton John's material and like, we're going to do a funeral for a friend. And you know, we're not getting lazy. We're not going to do just like I'm still standing or stuff like that. So this is going to be a lot of work on it is it's been a lot of work. But now I'm really winding down doing anything else other than practicing. Because I need to I need to get in shape.
Steve Statler 54:08
Yeah, well, I must give you an incredible affinity with the artists to be so familiar with that music. I mean, I I am unfortunately, a music wannabe. I can't play a note but just doing the like GarageBand not GarageBand Guitar Hero type stuff just doing that. And you know, starting to I remember I can't remember the one of the Rolling Stones kind of terribly long tracks which had a bit of memory but I remember drumming to that on one of those games and and it really made you listen it made you listen to the the the complexities of of the music and suddenly you get a new appreciation when you're, you're actually trying to reproduce what some What else is done and you're actually reproducing it in a way that I think is pretty compelling. So that must bring you closer to the artist I
Tom Cridland 55:08
mentioned. Absolutely. And I was very interested in studying the intricacies of this music earlier because I noticed the way that he improvisers every single show differently. The piano part and the vocal parts are always slightly different. This because he's just insanely talented, and so are his band. They, they don't labor over this stuff like he wouldn't need to practice all summer like me to get in shape for a gig. Apparently, he's not even played the piano during this lockdown. And he's just signed up to like 100 Stadium shows and he'll nail it. This is a guy who's 75 years old. He's so overweight, he can barely walk. And he is that good live, he plays for nearly three hours. He doesn't need to think when he plays it. See, that's what it seems like. He's just that talented.
Steve Statler 55:54
And his ability to compose I think he was on Oprah and someone, he they threw a book out to the audience. Someone read a few lines. And he composed around that. That was that was just incredible. That ability. Extraordinary. Well, Tom, thanks so much for giving up a bit of your day to talk. It's been an eclectic conversation. But hopefully, hopefully one that people will find interesting, and I certainly found it interesting. And I appreciate the chance to talk with you know, I've
Tom Cridland 56:31
really appreciate the chance to talk with you. It's been the high point of the day. And yeah, hopefully, we can meet in person in in America.
Steve Statler 56:41
Absolutely. If Willie continues to do well, maybe we'll have a corporate gig on the deck of the Midway and your band can play and the one that's that that would be. That's that's what I aspire to. Very good. I'm looking forward to getting my red sweatshirt, so I wouldn't get up. Congratulations. Thank you so much, Steve. Here. All the best. Well, I hope you enjoyed our conversation with Tom is a remarkable person. An amazing podcast, over 400 interviews with incredible musicians, but also purposeful business with his sustainable fashion line. I hope you found that as interesting as I did. Please do. Tell your friends, tell your colleagues Like us on whatever the platform is that you're using to listen or watch this podcast reviewers. We thank you for your support. If you have been thanks for listening, and we'll see you next time.