Upcycling Fashion with All Saint's Founder Stuart Trevor


Stuart Trevor, Emily Lane, Bret Schnitker


May 14, 2024


Stuart Trevor  00:03

I was at Notting Hill Carnival, one August on holiday and I looked up and I'd had a few drinks with some mates and looked at my saw All Saints road.

Emily Lane  00:26

Welcome to Clothing Coulture, a fashion industry podcast at the intersection of technology and innovation. I'm Emily Lane.

Bret Schnitker  00:34

And I'm Bret Schnitker. We speak with experts in disruptors who are moving the industry forward and discuss solutions to real industry challenges.

Emily Lane  00:42

Clothing Coulture is produced by Stars Design Group, a global design and production house with more than 30 years of experience.

Emily Lane  00:53

Welcome back to another episode of Clothing Coulture. Today we're going to be talking with a designer and entrepreneur, someone who has an illustrious history in this industry of fashion, from Creative Director at Reiss to founder and chief executive of All Saints, a brand we know and love so well to a new venture, where he's paving the way for a much needed evolution in this apparel industry, addressing sustainability with his own namesake brand. Stuart Trevor, welcome.

Stuart Trevor  01:29

Thanks. Hello.

Emily Lane  01:30

Hi, I'm so glad to be talking to you. You're one of your early brands, the brand first brand you founded, All Saints has been a longtime favorite of mine. So particularly in the era in which you were, you know, leading the charge, I still have all of those garments I bought years ago. So it's a testament to what you've developed there.

Stuart Trevor  01:54

Thats nice.

Emily Lane  01:56

I'd like to kind of start at, you know, you've got this great new project, which we'll definitely talk about. But I'd like to kind of go back to some of those earlier years. At the time, you had really been known for addressing some edgy icons, rock stars, and you'd had some other successes and working for another brand. At what point did you know it's my time? This is the time for me to start my own brand. All Saints.

Stuart Trevor  02:29

I was wondering which one you were talking about that?

Emily Lane  02:32

I know because you've had multiple

Stuart Trevor  02:35

so yeah, I've done 10 years with at Reiss. I started when I was about a teenager think I was still at University studying and I want to Smirnoff Fashion Awards, and I'd want to Paul Smith Mont Blanc competition. I was a finalist in this and I met Paul Smith and he offered me an internship he loved what I was what I made and he wanted i I'd made some suits out of a turn them inside out. So I put the seams from the inside of the of the facings on the outside. And I I'd taken like a Levi trucker jacket and I put the pockets and strips on the outside of a suit. You know. And then I then I want to Smirnoff Fashion Awards at the Royal Albert Hall. It was televised and then David Reiss rang me, rang the college about 14 times and I just ignored him because I'd been offered this internship at Paul Smith and I. That's what I wanted to do. But I was told I had to go to see David Reiss. So I went to see him. And he basically handed me an envelope with 500 pounds in it and a ticket to Pisa and I was like What's this? And he goes open it and I'm like, and I was think I was I had gone down to London that I'd been told that I had to go by the university, dean of faculty. So I went there. And when I got there, he had the number one shop on the Kings Road and it was mobbed. You've never seen anything like it. There was 500 people in what seemed like 500 people in this store queuing up there was a queue of about 40 people at the til buying suits and leather jackets and bloat, you know, and honestly I got it as a serious business. I didn't really realize that. And anyway, so he gave me this envelope ticket to I ended up in I agreed to go to Florence when I looked at the money and he said you don't have to tell Paul Smith. But that's why I thought well you know, I'll take the money and I'll go fly he was like you know come to Florence with me and you know the number one menswear fair in the world Pitti Uomo, we're gonna go the stay in the best hotels in the world. We're gonna eat the best restaurants in the world. We're gonna go to the best fabric mills in the world. And you're going to buy choose fabric from there and we're going to go my factory, we're going to put it into work and you'll be in the shop downstairs in about two months and I was like 18 I was like All right.

Bret Schnitker  05:01

Sounds like yeah, and the price. Sounds like he had an eye on the prize.

Stuart Trevor  05:06

He did. Yeah. Yes, he was. So and I'll tell you a funny story because I, I got on the plane and the following week and

Bret Schnitker  05:14

First class, I hope.

Stuart Trevor  05:15

No, it wasn't it was, it was, I think it might have been business class, but it was only from England to Italy. So. But I was a kid. And, and he goes to me like, so what's the big look? What's the big look for next winter? And I just sat there. And it was like one of those moments, you know, when the camera goes up? Because they don't teach you anything about what's the big look for next year back in those days at uni. So I just I just sat down and thought, what am I going to say? So I just described what an external tutor that used to turn up once a week or once a month in Nottingham, and he used to wear trousers that had a little zips in the leg and he used to wear you'll find this funny because it wasn't this was 1985 or something. And in England, we didn't know what a hoodie was. The hoodies didn't exist exist. But this tutor had a little Levi's hoodie that had a zip. And it had the little kangaroo pocket and it had the hurt a little. So I was explaining because I didn't really know. I couldn't say I think hoodies are going to be but it was. So it's like a cardigan, and it's sort of knitted, but it's not knitwear it's sort of like sweatshirt fabric. And it has a zip and he's going that sounds good. And all that up. And I said all you know on a Mac over the top with a little tab on it. And maybe patch pocket. You know, I remember getting out the taxi in Florence and we arrived I'm thinking wow, this is a made.. We stayed in beautiful hotel. 18 years I'd never been abroad in my life really. I was like, wow, this is it. But then he went up the stairs and I was wandering around in the Piazza thinking, well, at least I got a trip to Italy have it because I thought he's gonna find out. I haven't got a clue what I'm talking about. And we went around the shops and Marcela had just launched his first collection. So it Bikkemberg's and Dries Van Noten and under millimeter stone, and in the window of the all the best doors, Louisa Via Roma and all that sort of stuff. There was like hoodies, and Macs and trousers with little zip said,

Bret Schnitker  07:20

like, you plan it

Stuart Trevor  07:21

all the things and I was like, Oh, we're buying all this stuff. And we're walking around Florence with these, like, you know, big bags full of designer gear. I've never, I've never spent I've never been I've never bought anything designed to store it and I didn't have any money. So we would, and we took it back to the hotel. We walked up the stairs, a rang the office, and he was like to ring you know, to speak, he rang he ran down the hotel and he said, Can you send up a bottle of champagne? Some of them little nibbles. And then he rang me so one minute, he rang the office and he goes, because boy is a genius because he got it already. The genius is unreal, like that. And..

Bret Schnitker  07:57

Was he calling Paul Smith at that moment?

Stuart Trevor  07:59

No I had to go to St. Paul Smith when I got back and all that and to be honest, Paul Smith, I asked him like, you know, over the summer, you know, when I come in with you and all that, I mean, I'm gonna have to pay my you know, he's not a we don't pay interns. So I think I'm like, how am I gonna live and this David Reiss has offered me 50 quid a day. I was,

Bret Schnitker  08:23

Especially now that you're spoiled.

Stuart Trevor  08:24

I have no money. Yeah. And I've had the treatment. But you know what you did as well. When we were in Louisa Via Roma. I tried on a red galti a double breasted blazer made out of red wolf gabardine, it was beautiful, had a silt lining with skeletons on it. And and it was about the equivalent of it was in lira back then. But it was the equivalent of like 750 pounds or whatever, which is probably about 10,000 pounds in today's money. This was 35 years ago. He said if I buy you that jacket, will you come and work with me? And I went well, what about Paul Smith? He goes, No, you tell this Paul Smith to do one. He goes if I buy you that I just looked at and I thought there's no way he's gonna buy that jacket. I went yeah. All right then. So we shook on it. Because I thought there's no way he's going to take me to the shop and get 750 quid out and buy this jacket. And he took me to the shop and I tried to on and he was started going are you sure you like it at all? Are you sure? I'm like, I love it like that. And he went, Okay, and he went and he bought it like that. And then that was it. So then I was stuck.

Emily Lane  09:31

Nice signing bonus.

Stuart Trevor  09:32

It was nice. Yeah. So but I carried on I did a year at uni and I did my degree and then I left and I joined him and he just allowed me to do whatever I wanted virtually. And we were working with the best fabric mills in Italy. We were making most of it in Italy. I went over to Hong Kong with him and we found the factories that were making, like the most amazing product in Hong Kong and I and and we I got on amazingly well with them all. And and I went back We did Paris Fashion Week we went to New York we did New York fashion with Reiss and we sold it to Barneys New York, Bergdorfs, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom. Fred Segal, you know, every Maxfield we were selling to every, you know, and then in Japan, we were selling to Cebu and Barney's Japan. And, you know, and I was like, the whole time thinking, God, I if I can do this for him, I could do this for myself. So I, I just wrote down, you know, all the different clients, or all the names of the buyers and how much, you know, Barney's we were doing, I don't know, half a million a year or something. So I wrote up I do about 250 with them. And I've I, if I have it, if it was undermine it, and I went to the bank, and the bank just went, well, we're not gonna give you any money. And then one of the Chinese Hong Kong based factories came to see me and said, Listen, we love you, and we want you to come and represent us. We are doing about 10 million a year, we're gonna give you 10% of the turnover. If you come and join us and leave, and I was like, how much are you gonna give me and they went 10. And I'm like, billion, like, if you've got that much money, I've got a business plan to show you. So I showed them the business plan, and I asked all the buyers from Harrods and Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, and Barney's and all that I'd written down. St. Mr. Saint my initials that ST Like Simon Templar, which was a James Bond type characters from the 60s, played by Roger Moore before he became James Bond. And when I was 20, I bought the car that was in not the actual one, but the same model of car. The Volvo P1800. It looks like a common gear looks like the Aston Martin DB5, and so on from about 20 years old. I used to drive that everywhere. And everywhere I went, everyone was always the sanit is the sanit. Okay, so I had the saint I had Mr. saint. I had St. And I, I was at Notting Hill Carnival, one August, bank holiday, and I looked up and I'd had a few drinks with some mates and looked at my saw all saints road. And I thought all saints that's actually if you someone asked you, where's your jacket from? And you said, Oh, it's the saints or what? All Saints just froze. So I registered the name. And so I got a letter back from the intellectual property company saying that there was a conflict of interest with the NFL. So I wasn't going to take that as a as a no. So I wrote to the I got the telephone, I found out that they had a European office, and I made an appointment to go and see them. And I presented them with what I wanted to do. And very luckily, luckily for me, the guy was really cool. And he was like, you know, general one, as long as you don't do American football. Can you can you can go away and I'll and he wrote me a letter out there and then gave me so I registered the name AllSaints and launched the first collection. And, and it was quite Yeah, and I showed it at Paris. And the same show that I used to show Reiss and all the buyers that I sold Reiss to Kaymer I didn't even I don't know what I remember, at the time actually been too scared to write to the David was Reiss was quite an intimidating, I was kind of thinking, I'm not going to contact them and invite them. I'd thought if they find me, they find me and anyway, they all found me. And it was quite funny because a friend of mine was still working there. And David, he used to say to me, he we used to argue quite a lot about something he used to call the things because he's he was quite classic gentleman in a navy blazer with a white Oxford buttoned down shirt and tie and a pair of chinos and a bass Weejun low fun and I was doing all these bomber jackets and little sort of like you know, little zip you know, little cool items and things that you know he used to call it cheap disco rubbish and all that and I used to laugh but because that's what sold and so my new collection and then all the buyers came down and they said well David David you know Where's where's the kid Where's Where's where's your guy? And he's dead it he actually told them hes dead and they will and then they walked around the corner they saw me they're like oh my God

Bret Schnitker  14:32

Risen from the dead.

Stuart Trevor  14:33

yeah it's the AllSaints is risen from the dead. Yes Christ. And so they went and they actually went back to David he's round he's just right there where you want to buy is that because cheap disco rubbish. He won't deliver I promise you he won't deliver and all that and we I think we wrote something like a million dollars at that show. With all the best buyers and the first the first ever show. We did something like two and a half million in the first season. And we delivered it and and then you, then you got your second album. So and that went even better. And you know, everybody received everything and and it sold out. And then when Yeah, we were off, oh my gosh

Emily Lane  15:24

That was quite a ride for a while and then eventually you sold the company what, What led you to that decision to sell AllSaints?

Stuart Trevor  15:33

There's a funny story about that we were, we'd gone from halfway through I think 1994 is when I started around 2000, there were issues with the Chinese factory what what what happened in 97, they were in Hong Kong went back to the Chinese, all the property prices devalued by 50%. So the Chinese run out of money, because they'd funded everything the meteoric rise, we were doing about, I don't know 6 7 8 million, they were funding it all off of their property, like you know, as collateral with the bank, but the bank called in the money. So I had to swerve away from them. And I brought in the ex retail director from Reiss as a business partner, we put some money in, we decided not to wholesale anymore, because the margins were tight. And we just opened, I think we opened in six months, another six stores, I already had three, four, and we opened another six. And the business just kept going from like, you know, 6 million to 8 million to 10 million to 40, you know. And then we had about 14, 15 stores. And this partner of mine, the ex retail guy decided he'd made a decision that he was going to put in a no relationship policy within the staff of the business. And it was kind of weird, because we had the coolest rock'n'roll brand in the world. And he decided in his wisdom that no one was allowed to sleep with each other. Or, you know, and so I was bringing the Manchester shop trying to speak to the manager that oh is not here. I'm like, where is he because he's been suspended. I'm like, what, I didn't know anything about this. And I'm like, I'm gonna ring the guy in Birmingham rang the guy in Birmingham. He's been suspended, the area managers been suspended. So is the girl that stood on the window, but they're all suspended off. And I'm like, What the hell's anyone? I've told them that they're not. And I'm like, You're not going to stop these young, you've got all these really cute, call model type. Guys and girls working. They're all I'd rather they were sleeping with each other than sleeping with Paul Smith's staff or Ted Baker's staff or what you know, I'd rather they were all hanging out. And anyway, I was approached by someone else at the time. And he offered to buy out this partner and, and, and he did. And then within about a year and a half, he had majority share. And they wanted to move all the production to China. They wanted to they they wanted to shut down all the stuff I was doing in the UK. And we just I just didn't like any of that I didn't want to do that I loved the fact that we had made in England, and that we were doing still doing a tailoring in Italy and jeans in Italy. And they didn't want to do all and I just I think at the same time as well. There was like those, the Iraq War had gone off. And then in London, there was these four bombers blew themselves up on the tube. Yeah, I think they called it the seventh set. And I remember thinking God, they're gonna bring the war to England. And I just, I remember the morning that that happened. I was waiting for people to arrive at the studio. And some people didn't turn up and I remember thinking, I'm gonna have to ring their mum. Fortunately, none of them were. They were on the tube at the previous station, so everyone was fine. But I just remember thinking I don't I just kind of had a feeling that maybe it's a good time to get out. So I did. And that was in 2006, 2007. And of course in 2009, the crash came. Yeah. And I I don't know whether it was a premonition or whatever. But I just, I didn't want to be. I'm risk averse. And I just didn't want to have to go through all of that. Yeah. So it seemed like a good idea at the time and I didn't really want to do it. But you know, once you're not in control, and someone else is telling you how to run your business. I just didn't want to do that. So I decided to move on. And I'm you know,

Bret Schnitker  19:53

like every entrepreneur, you came up with something else.

Stuart Trevor  19:56

I just did it again. I think I used to say I used to, you know, you, you fall off the bike and then you just get up again and you get another bike. And so I launched another one. And I did another 10 years with Bala Guerrero Trevor. And in that period that that was I that was the at that period for some reason was the one on one I dressed all the all the rock bands, virtually every rock and roll band in the world would come to me specifically and we had more success, dress and rock stars than we did selling clothes.

Bret Schnitker  20:30

That had to be fun though.

Stuart Trevor  20:31

It was great fun. Yeah.

Bret Schnitker  20:32

Did you get like just calls up saying hey, I need stuff.

Stuart Trevor  20:37

Well, we yeah, we saw I was telling you earlier we had a so I dressed I used to experiment with things and make I discovered some fabric. I used to love to make like white dinner jackets like Bryan Ferry used to wear and I discovered this fabric that had a sort of Teflon coating and you could get red wine and pour it on it. And it would just so I'd made these white suits. Of course, nobody bought them, you know, and we had them in the studio and I got a phone -

Bret Schnitker  21:09

Bryan Ferry had 1000 probably

Stuart Trevor  21:14

I, a stylist rang me to say that she was dressed in a band called Kasabian for the front cover of The Enemy. And did I have any white suits and I went, I guess what? So she came in, she got these white suits and a load of other stuff. And they did the front cover of the enemy and it was with they were it was called they called it Beggars Banquet. So it was like Rolling Stones inspired with a goat's head soup and, and they were wearing white suits and Top Hats and canes and red silk scarves and things like that all things that I had seen in my studio,

Bret Schnitker  21:49

including the goats head.

Stuart Trevor  21:50

I did have a yes. Because the Rams All Saints Rams skulls came because I had RAM skulls and I had did have goats Ed's. And I had like I had a lot of taxidermy. Back then I had like a hawk and, and I had an eagle and a swan still got them.

Stuart Trevor  22:09

So the Kasabian crew went to meet Roger Daltrey from The Who, because for Teenage Cancer Trust, they were playing at the Royal Albert Hall. And unbeknown to me, so I get a phone call. And it's an Hello Mate. And I'm looking at the phone thinking, you know, you guys, it's Roger. And for some reason, I knew it was Roger Daltrey. And I, because I had no idea wasn't, nobody told me. He goes, Listen, I've got something really huge. I said, Yeah, go on. He goes, I can't tell you what it is. He goes, it's but it's huge. It's bigger than bigger than you can believe he goes, but I've signed an NDA. I can't tell you what it is. Because what is it because it's a Super Bowl. Like laughing my head off like thinking -

Bret Schnitker  22:54

You twisted his arm? No, not really.

Stuart Trevor  22:56

Is that why you're wearing two jackets today. Because someone will take it right off.

Stuart Trevor  22:56

I don't I really just- I wouldn't trust him with any secret. He anyway, so he came to see me. And I was wearing a, I had made a jacket out of this really beautiful Italian fabric that had big thick sort of boating stripes on it. And it was lined with a Union Jack and had zip teeth around the edge. And I brought all these other things. And I laid them all out. And Roger walked in and he just looked at me and he goes, come on, come on. And he made me take the jacket off. And and he put it on. And he started doing this. And I was like what you're doing, because what do you think I'm doing? I said I've got no idea. And he goes, I'm swinging the mic. So in and of course you you can watch the the Super Bowl halftime show with The Who and he does the whole wearing my jacket throws the mic up there catches it and singing and all that sort of stuff. And then a couple of years later rang me because I've got something even bigger. He goes, I can't tell you NDA. that it goes what is it? He goes the Olympics. So they did they close the ceremony of the Olympics in 2012. Were in another one of my jackets. Then I had to go and meet him at Mark Knotless Studio in Chessex. So you know, dire straits and all that. And so Mark stood there, Rogers there. And I brought all these things and he goes Come on. Then he just cut it he just made me take off my jacket and put it on and he and he wore it and and it was funny because that was covered in reason

Bret Schnitker  23:17

Cause it's Freezing, freezing in St. Louis. Teo foot of snow when we arrive and it's all gone. No though. But anyway. So yeah, yeah.

Stuart Trevor  23:35

That's so great. I love how you kind of stayed open to the new opportunity or from from the time you are graduating all the way through. It's like you never know what doors going to open but it's great that you've stayed kind of present and open for those Opportunity gets, what extraordinary chances you've had.

Stuart Trevor  24:08

I mean as people say, to me a lot, a lot like, oh, it's alright for you, you found it all saints like as if it was an easy joy, I was just like, you know, sitting in the back of a Bentley with my driver. from work every day, I have been on a roller coaster, all my life, it's up and down. And none of it's been easy as a lot of really, really hard work and managing your way through, you know, stress and duress and hard times. And, you know, that's kind of like I used to kind of never really talked about it years ago. A lot of people are there, I realized after a while, that actually, I don't want everybody to think I've had an easy life, I don't mind telling them that I've actually worked really, really hard. And I've managed businesses through ups and downs, because that's actually the most difficult or the most rewarding part is getting through getting through the obstacles, I used to say that running a fashion business was like was like being a dog at Crafts, Crafts is like a, the dog show where the dog has to go in and out of the cones end up over there. And then through a hoop round, you know, because there's so much that needs to be done. It's not easy at all, everybody, lot of general public, they walk in a shop and they pick up a shirt or a pair of trousers or leather jacket, they think, oh, yeah, there's so much that goes into it all, you got to get it all made beautifully and correctly, and you've got to get the buttons and the trimmings and, and the buttons. And you know, they can't fall off and the lining can't wrap and you've got to get everything is a lot. This is a lot harder than anybody would ever imagine. And

Bret Schnitker  26:45

the world is a complicated place. You know, everyone thinks, when they see these large brands, the trajectory was just kind of even. And the real world is ups and downs, like you mentioned, it's you know, it's I think, so much of success is perseverance, right? You you just you don't you love what you do. But you have to have perseverance to survive.

Emily Lane  27:06

It's a people business and and, you know, people are less than perfect. So, you know, in in those challenges, I was just talking to brands the other day, it's it's how we how we overcome these challenges that really make us who we are, it's really the fascinating part of our stories.

Emily Lane  27:30

So in these lessons that you've learned, you know, through some of those hardships, are there some core principles that you carry with you that are like this is these are the things that are the difference between the people who have the opportunity to really make it versus those who might suffer.

Stuart Trevor  27:49

I don't want to stress about the hardship and all that because it tell you what, I've had a fantastic time I've just added a whole thing has been a lot of fun. And I mean, yeah, there are, you know, it's not it's not an easy, easy ride or whatever. But we've had I've had party after party and lots of fun and traveled the world. And, you know, we've been to so many different beautiful countries. And, you know, I've had a really great time, and I'm still having a great time and all that and, you know, my ambition as a kid was to, to create the greatest rock and roll brand in the world. And I still haven't done that I'm still on that mission. So you know, this is hopefully what I'm gonna do with the new brand.

Emily Lane  28:35

So let's talk about that a little bit. Your your namesake your eponymous label, Stuart Trevor, you know, a few years ago, we've talked about this multiple times on the podcast how, over the years, we've been pretty negative about what we see as a reality in sustainability for this space. I know, Bret, you, you've had a few platforms that you've talked about.

Bret Schnitker  28:59

I think it's the industry's largest failure. I mean, out of what 111 million metric tons of fiber and textiles end up in landfills every year. People think that you can just turn on the light switch and switch to a sustainable kind of initiative. Only 13% of any fabric out there is available in everything sustainable. And every time we have conversations, it's like this exclusive club, you have to check the boxes and you have to meet minimums and you know, last I looked we're trying to change the world for the better and it's just it's such a challenge when I look at all of these different, you know, challege things that we're looking at to try to overcome our future.

Emily Lane  29:38

We're seeing some positive transformation, which is exciting and you know I to address some of the the need for a bigger conversation here. I saw one of your statistics Stuart on your site of every seven minutes, a pile the height of Mount St Everest., I've Saint, Saint just in my head is being discarded and heading for the landfills.

Stuart Trevor  30:09

That'd be seven minutes.

Bret Schnitker  30:10

It's astounding.

Emily Lane  30:12


Stuart Trevor  30:13

I produced a deck for investment investors and, and that was one of the statistics on there. And I, my daughter, who's 19 said, Dad, you can't put that. And I'm like, why? And she said, because you can't just make things up like that. I said, I haven't made that up. She went, Well, that can't be true. She goes it and I went, What do you mean, it can't she said that if that was true, no kid would kids would stop buying clothes like that. I went Come here, let me show you. And I showed her where I'd got the information from. She's like, What are we going to do? I'm like, yeah, what are we going to do? Well, about five years ago, I started working with mentoring young startup brands that had a positive social or environmental impact. And they kind of taught me that these young kids were kind of teaching me about sustainability and about these facts. And it's just and I saw it, see it getting worse, year on year, and I was speaking to investors on their behalf. And all these investors were like, you know, I used to love all saints, but I kind of, I don't like it. And it's not the same. Why don't you do another brand? And I was like, the last thing the world needs is another clothing brand. And they would, they would go but I love what you're wearing. And I'm like, I only wear vintage. I only and they're like, Well, I've never seen a jacket like that. Well, I embroider it and I patch it. I add add things to it. And and they were like, Well, why don't you do that? And so I went back to see them. And they asked me and then another one would be like, Why don't you Why don't you do another brand? And I'm like I said, What about a clothing brand that doesn't produce any clothes? And they were like, What do you mean, and I'm like, there's so much clothing in the world. I could, you know, we could go six generations, and we don't have to produce another garment. And we'd still have enough clothing to go round. Because people have wardrobes full of. I mean, I don't know that we've all probably got 30 pairs of jeans in our wardrobe and 10 leather jackets and whatever and we never wear them. And so what what I've done now is I've set up the idea is that my new brand starts out with 99% of it is vintage pieces that I have curated. I have a there's a warehouse in London, there's one in Liverpool, there's one in Plymouth, there's in America in France, the one in London that I go to is 80,000 square meters and it has probably a million garments in it and in there you could go in there and you can pick up Korean War era parkas from US military, you can get M45 field jackets that you know I can get 200 of them and I and I at the moment I'm I'm buying 10s and 20s and, and I patch them up and I overtime and embroider I've got a factory in Leicester and we have the machinery that we do all the embroidery for the inside of Aston Martin's and Bentley's and Land Rovers and Range Rovers and that you know, people nowadays they can, you know, wealthy clients, they want their own signature or initials embroidered on the seat, you know, this machinery exists and we can, we can embroider on demand. So we're doing like chainstitch embroidery, and we're doing, you know beading and the sort of VAs that you let us with the chenille and we're adding. So we're taking existing pieces, it could be like a suit jacket or a blazer and we're adding like, you know, thorns or flowers or, you know, animal, you know, in embroidering directly on the garments, we're probably going to end up doing it where people could send me a picture of their pet and we could embroider that onto the garment or whatever. But you know, the all of the clothes already exist. And all I'm doing is trying to make something more interesting out of them. And I've got an artist. I've got several artists now that I work with and they hand paint things directly onto the garments we use like a fabric medium, and acrylic paint and we paint directly on to the garments and these artists are doing it. They don't really want any money. They pay them small amount of money and a bit they love it because they've now got a walking billboard with their art on it and it looks really cool. One of the artists I met a kid in a gallery in Margate His name is Timothy midnight. He comes from Sandpoint in Idaho, in the Rocky Mountains and he ended up in Margate with The Libertines, Pete Daugherty and Carl Barat that is it they're a rock and roll band from England. And they were like you know is hanging out with them. And they're rolling little cigarettes and going outside and smoking. The minute we got martini, he rang his mom and his mom, I'm hanging out with kids who smoke. And his mom's like, wow, that sounds cool. You should paint that. So he was painted these cats with red boots on with a little cigarette and in a martini glass. And I really liked it. And I said, Can you paint some of that on the clothes? And then because I've got all this vintage military, I said, Why don't we do cats who care? And all that? He said, why? And I said, because we are cats who care. So we now have the cat holding the world in his hand, and, and drop the cigarette. I don't I don't like smoking. I'm really I'm kind of anti smoking. But I don't mind cats who smoke Oh, dogs. Yeah, obviously drink or play cards. Yes, dogs playing poker. And so now we've, we've done all that. And I've got other artists now contacting me saying, can we can I paint on your stuff. And so I mean, it's early days, we were, we've just started out. We realized as we went through, we were taking vintage T shirts and hoodies and, and things. But we realized that you know, underwear, socks, but also T shirts, things that people sweat in some people, they're not going to wear it. So I sourced the most sustainable 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, and 50/50 50% recycled cotton, and 50% organic cotton T shirts and hoodies and things like that. So we are going to take pieces, but we buy them from someone who holds stock. So I don't go to the factory, because that was the biggest issue as well in the world is especially after COVID. A lot of the factories turn around and say we now want 1000 pieces per color. And the buyers. Of course, when they go to do the buying, you know, the black is going to probably be the best seller and then maybe gray mile and then maybe white. But then whatever they want sky blue and pink, they've got an order 1000 pieces of a color. Well, some of that isn't going to sell. So what do they do with it, they sell it off to this TKmax or whatever, you know, and, or it ends up well people, some of them were sending it off to landfill. And they got call and all that because there was kids putting tags in Apple tags in in gardens at H&M and Burberry and all that and they found it all in the desert in in Chilean things that you know, so. And it's horrendous. And it's you know, yeah, clothing, mountains, mountains and mountains. So I you know, we're, I'm trying to do something about it. So, I mean, I'm not saying that, you know, all the factories have got clothes and all that, you know, nobody should produce any more. Of course that's going to carry on, but maybe we should stop making everything out polyester, because you know, there's we don't need. I mean, you know, this is one of the biggest lies of all, is that sportswear manufacturers say that it needs to be made up polyester because it wicks sweat away. That's a lie. There's only one reason why they make everything polyester is it's cheaper. You know, they could be making everything out of 100% organic cotton. I know professional runners, and they run in 100% merino wool, because that's the best garment very lightweight for people to you know, proper athletes to wear polyester because you know when you go to the gym and you work out you sweat and you know how long you 30 minutes 45 minutes, and then you take off and you get in the shower and you put on fresh clothes. So you know it's not like as if Why do they Why is everything made out of polyester? It's oil and gas.

Bret Schnitker  37:35

Yeah, I you know, it's amazing. They some of the statistics are saying that about 55% of all apparel is made in synthetics polly's, nylons, etc. And that number is only going to rise with the issues with Xinjiang, cotton, they're thinking 75%, 85 percents now going to be in some paddock and you know it, you know, that has a landfill life of 300 years. Yeah, it just doesn't biodegrade. And it's just, it's such a frustrating situation. And I think that until the major polyester producers, the world find a bio poly one that, you know, actually degrades in a landfill. And there's a few things happening.

Stuart Trevor  38:39

There is this thing I read recently about some scientists had some sort of microbial enzyme and they put it in a plastic bag in the office or in this in the in the laboratory or whatever, when they go, went to pick it up a week later, they realized that the bag had a hole in it. And the enzymes are eaten through the polyester. They're now trying to culture these enzymes so that they can maybe have a solution to to that, but this could be years down the line.

Bret Schnitker  39:46

That's the thing. We are looking at it you know, by 2025 they say they're going to we're going to use the resources of two Earths and last I remember we had one.

Emily Lane  39:53

That's right around the corner.

Bret Schnitker  39:54

That's I mean, that's close. And so when you take a look at all these different signs and conditions, there needs to be some acceleration of thought process. And I think what I've kind of distilled after kind of looking at all these different directions is that all of these different things that are occurring, upcycling, you know, they talk about slow fashion nowadays, you know, as an American, I remember going to Italy in Florence and looking at, you know, the guys that were construction guys in the streets working and they had their one Armani suit that was $1,200. And they had it for their life, you know, that was their investment in a really nice piece. And there's a lot of conversation about if we shift to slow fashion, if we buy intentionally, and we wear these pieces as things that we would wear in our lifetime. at higher levels. One, the industry can be supported, we're producing less garments, we're not throwing things away. But I think is, as the West gets more aware of that, all of a sudden consumerism is exploding in the Far East, and you look at the conditions that are going on there, and are we going to be enough to make a difference, when you have basically 3.1 billion people that are embracing fast fashion, you know, and considering

Bret Schnitker  41:06

And it sounds like you've figured out a way, I've always looked at upcycling and vintage clothing. And I'm like, how do you get it to a level where yeah, how do you scale it to a level to meet-

Stuart Trevor  41:06

I think there's going to be a move away from it, though. I mean, I so Vivienne Westwood, who we all love. She used to say, Buy less, buy better, and wear things for life. They used to think she was mad. How can you be saying that when you're producing clothing and all that, but she was right. I shouldn't mean, you know, buy. I just think she was 100%. Right. And I think that there's a change coming. I agree. I'm speaking of manufacturers in Portugal, that make all the production for Canada Goose and Balenciaga and Armani and, and they're aware that in the next five to 10 years, Gen Z that these kids are gonna move away from fast fashion. I mean, obviously, there are going to be the still going to carry on, there's good loads of people that don't give it and they'll carry on. But I think there is, I apparently is statistics going around. It's 62% of Gen Z love vintage clothes and buying like, you know, sustainably. So I'm all for that.

Stuart Trevor  42:23

Thats really all asked me they come in and they asked me, like, you know, how are you going to scale this? I mean, I'm not in it for money. I've never, never, never been interested, although I do know that this, this this can this new brand could easily reach, you know, become a billion dollar business. Because it's the future, I believe. And so people ask me, like, you know, how are you going to scale it? I mean, if I want 10,000 pairs of Levi's tomorrow, I can make a phone call now. And I can get 10,000 pairs  

Bret Schnitker  42:53

but to ship it from the middle of the desert, I suppose.

Stuart Trevor  42:55

Well, no, there's in America, there's an in Canada, there are people and you know, and there are warehouses in the UK, a lot of it gets shipped over to, you know, other countries and sorted and you can get it back. I mean, I there's no, the last thing we need to worry worry about is am I going to have enough stock to upcycle that's the last thing we need to worry about. And the idea of, you know, painting it or embroidery, or printing it or whatever. That's easy. Yeah. How many garments do you need to do a day, I've got a little factory in London, we make these little jackets, from deadstock fabric of everywhere I go, there's, I mean, I've got a fabric mill in vanities got 42 million meters of fabric, and all that on rolling, you can get whatever you want. And I make these I only make like, so I am making some new stuff I make I take deadstock fabric, and I turn it into living stock.

Bret Schnitker  43:49

But that's actually a way to really scale if you're thinking there's so much fabric out there every day, millions and I get emails all the time about you know, 100,000 meters of this and 200,000 meters of that. Yeah. And so even from the point of upcycling of cycling Fabric is a wonderful idea because at least it's not ending up in a landfill you're managing to find people

Stuart Trevor  44:11

People ask me about that. And I because a lot of people don't know, but we know because we're in the fashion business. So someone needs 10,000 Max, and all there's three meters and a Mac that's 30,000 meters a cloth that the fabric mill doesn't make 30,000 meters they make 10% more because there's always false and every meter of cloth goes over a light box and they find a fault and they tie a little string on the end of the roll three point inspect and and you find these rolls if the rolls have more than 20 little strings on it. That roll is discarded so that goes it used to go to landfill Burberry were caught out for you know, burning their fabric where they can't do that anymore is illegal so I can go in and there's a funny quite an interesting story there. You know the phrase no strings attached. Yeah. That comes from the olden days when a tailor used to say, Send me send me 10 meter as a cashmere, no strings attached. And that's where it comes from.

Bret Schnitker  45:09

I am now 62. And I've just learned something. That's Killer. Awesome.

Emily Lane  45:16

Wow. Well, that's great. I love hearing what you're doing. And it really does help me see how you can offer something that's more bespoke, more customized, but really-

Stuart Trevor  45:27

What we realized as well, so what I was doing so a lot of these parkas and feel jackets, I was buying vintage varsity letters, because quite a lot in the rag market people, you get the cardigans in the sweaters and they're all moth eaten. So they you know, you get you can get the letters and I was buying, I bought up like couple of 100 of these. And I was sticking them on the paraks. And on some sheepskin, shearling coats and things like this. When realized we only launched in September last year, we realized that the people that were buying it were buying their initial. So there's a there's a shielding that I sold for 600 pounds or something. And it was with an F on it. And someone called Fay to Parker with a W somebody called Warwick bought it. So I realized now so that's when I invested in this machine that can remake these varsity letters. And we can so people can now go on my website, and they can choose the garment and they can put their initials on there. And if it's if their name is Stuart Trevor, they can have an S and a T, or whatever. So we're trying to develop things like that, that so we take vintage pieces. And we create almost almost like a walking work of art. And I actually put a little label on the back of everything I used to. I used to go to all the old what are they called, like? Costume houses, and I borrowed once the frock coat that Marlon Brando wore in Mutiny on the Bounty, and it had a little white patch on it that was zigzagged on. And it had Paramount Studios, Marlon Brando lot one scene 72, and all this sort of stuff. So I've made this little label with Stuart Trevor, and I sign it. And if it's a one off piece I'll write lot is got lot. And I wrote one of one. And if you know the model, and it says model on it, and if your names, you know, Glenn, or model, Rick or model, Susan, we know what and and I date it. And so every single piece is going to be signed, dated. So it's almost like a work of art, it's sort of thing

Bret Schnitker  47:28

and the trend is personalization. So you're playing into both-

Stuart Trevor  47:31

What are you gonna do that? How are you going to do that work and you sign 1000 of them or whatever? I mean, that, you know, I mean, at the moment, we're only selling like, you know, 10 20 30 pieces a week or whatever. But so it's very easy, but even you know, when we get up into the 1000s, or whatever, it's not that none of it is that difficult. Yeah. You know, it used to be when I was doing Reiss and doing AllSaints, you know, it used to be that I would buy vintage to get the creek creative juices flowing. Now, where is the creative juices? You're right, I've cut out the middleman, I've cut out the bit where I send it off to the factory and they send it back and I order 500 and wait for it to arrive or whatever. We just get the one piece and sell that and, and then but, you know, someone said to me as well, how are you going to how you know these military pieces? You know that the American military spent $5 billion a year on clothing? That's every year since 1945. There's millions of garments, right? There's no way we're going to run out. I mean, if we do run out then great, great. Yeah, I'll retire.

Stuart Trevor  48:35

Can I tell you some of those are last little story that I'll tell you. So when I was a kid, about 18 years old, I was working for David Reiss, and I was flying out Milan, and I was at Lunati Airport and there was a guy who had a Levi jacket on and it had Jesus loves you written on the back of it. And I just thought I thought wow, this guy and I went over to him and asked him, Where did you get that and he he was a photographer is a quite a famous photographer called Albert Watson. And he'd been doing an Amani shoe in the Midwest. And he had gone into a thrift store. And he pulled out this Levi's jacket I had Jesus loves you written on it. And I was like, wow, could you imagine that? The feeling that you would get from pulling out. So what I decided there and then that I want that's what I did with AllSaints. I wanted to get that feeling every time you lifted up a garment everything had to be really special. I wanted to get that kind of hidden treasures sort of vibe. And that's kind of what I'm doing now. So it's kind of like, yeah, it's trying to create unique items of hidden treasure. I mean, there are some basic items in there as well, because some people like that. But anyway, that's that's yeah, that was quite an interesting story.

Emily Lane  49:42

It's great. Well, thank you so much, Stuart for joining us today. It was great to hear your story and learn about this amazing new brand that

Stuart Trevor  49:53

Follow me on Stuart Trevor official on Instagram on and have a look at Stuarttrever.com

Emily Lane  49:58


Stuart Trevor  49:59

And Uh, let me know what you think

Emily Lane  50:01

I'm gonna go shopping online. Well thank you for joining us and thank you for joining us. Don't forget to subscribe to stay apprised of upcoming episodes of Clothing Coulture

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Upcycling Fashion with All Saint's Founder Stuart Trevor