Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. The leading cause of melanoma is sunburn with 1 in 8 adults and 1 in 5 teenagers getting sunburnt on an average summer weekend.
But sunburn isn’t just limited to the warmer months, with UV protection being just as important on the piste or even a cool, overcast day. Australians love the outdoors but having some of the highest UV rates in the world, we need to be ever vigilant that we take precaution.
Tscudo is a small Sydney business that produces sporting and lifestyle t-shirts made entirely from recycled plastic bottles! All of their t-shirts have a UPF rating of 50+ and use 6 plastic bottles in their manufacturing process.
Started in 2017 by Simon Webster, he has combined his love of the outdoors with the sun safety needs for an active, outdoor population whilst helping to reduce the impact of plastic waste into the environment.
We caught up with him to hear his story and learn more about his line of clothing and why we should be taking notice.
T&S: Who is Simon?
Simon: Today, a man with an evolving hairline. A husband to an incredible wife, a father of two beautiful girls, always a dreamer with a passion for the outdoors.
T&S: What is the origin of Tscudo name?
Simon: Tscudo (pronounced Te-skoo-doh) has two main drivers:
- To highlight the importance of recycling and the ripple effect it can have on your community.
- To assist in protecting your skin when outdoors whether you’re on land or in the water.
So the name needed to embellish this. ‘SCUDO’ in Italian translates to ‘shield’ (I’m from an Italian background). Considering the core style behind my brand is the long sleeve Tee, adding the ‘T’ in front of the SCUDO seemed a perfect play on words. So TSCUDO was born!!
T&S: We noticed the turtle logo, what significance does that have with the brand?
Simon: The turtle is the perfect logo to represent tscudo. They’ve been around for over 100 million years and somehow have remained relevant to their environment. Its shell provides a constant shield against the elements. It doesn’t necessarily try to change the world around it but it seems to effortlessly trust the process and by doing so leaves its legacy.
Although it moves at a slower pace to many other animals it continuously moves forward building momentum and I like that. The tscudo top acts very much the same way providing a constant shield while the wearer is amongst the elements. And like the turtle’s shell, it can be worn everywhere.
Having a Stage 1 melanoma removed which was a real scare and certainly put me in my place.
T&S: How did the idea of a creating a highly UVF protective clothing item start?
Simon: After 8 years of working in the outdoor industry, I’d noticed a real interest in technical sun protective fabrics, as well as a gap for a sun top that was a lot more versatile than the simple rashie / ‘beach’, tops available. It was an idea lingering for some time but the idea took its own course in January 2017 when my wife noticed a spot on my back and suggested I get a skin check.
Not long after I was having a Stage 1 melanoma removed which was a real scare and certainly put me in my place. I was given the all clear afterwards, however, this also gave me not only a lot more clarity in life, but a reason to simply start building tscudo.
T&S: Wow, that’s a pretty salient way to drive action. Hopefully, tscudo tops will go a long way towards preventing future sun-related issues.
T&S: Who does all of the work (the different jobs) – design, manufacturing, etc?
Simon: I do the majority of activities. From design, sourcing fabrics, delivery, posting orders, admin. Though I have some incredible people around me who feed me ideas and suggestions and assist with digital and artwork. I use a local Sydney manufacturer to cut and sew the tops. I do so, not only because of the craftsmanship and quality but to support local industry and it’s working out well so far!
I actually envision fabrics that monitor UV exposure when outdoors and the protection you’re getting and that is required. Tscudo plans to be part of this movement.
T&S: What do you think the future of outdoor wear might look like? Beyond sun protection, could we be looking at materials that change with the conditions such as Barometric pressure changes that warn of thunderstorms!!?? Or even monitor the body such as perspiration rate Vs hydration?
Simon: Absolutely. We’ve seen the rise in wearable technology over the past years for eg: watches, gps trackers. I believe fabrics will have plenty of technical function in the future. Fabrics will talk to apps on our phones or watches and give us a whole variety of data and info. From monitoring heart rate to calories burnt. I actually envision fabrics that monitor UV exposure when outdoors and the protection you’re getting and that is required. Tscudo plans to be part of this movement.
T&S: Tyres and Soles really enjoy working with the smaller boutique brands because the products are often more interesting and have a story to tell. How tough has it been to go up against some of the larger brands, with mass appeal, in a very competitive market?
Simon: It’s great to see a platform like Tyres and Soles supporting brands like myself. The support is invaluable and assists in driving innovation and growth for the industry. So thank you! At tscudo it’s important to stay focused on our “Why”. If I start comparing myself to larger more established brands it can be daunting and potentially be misdirecting.
T&S: That’s understandable – even though TSCUDO is still a fledgling, do you have a business goal or mission statement that will help in giving you the direction that you need?
Simon: tscudo stands on three pillars.
- Sun protection
We’ll always let these pillars drive what we do and the products we create. Our moto is “Your Journey “. Everyone has a story. Every story is important. At tscudo we want to be part of these stories in this grand adventure and be the shield during your journey.
Our moto is “Your Journey “. Everyone has a story. Every story is important.
T&S: Any plans to expand the range? Shorts? Colours? Patterns?
Simon: As tscudo grows, yes, I’ll certainly look at growing the range into other relevant sun protective styles using sustainable fabrics. But for now, tscudo wants to establish itself as the go-to brand for sun protective tops for men, women and children.
T&S: Sounds fantastic! We’ll look forward to seeing them. Do you have any plans to partner with other initiatives or organisations, particularly those that have a ‘sun safe’ approach?
Simon: Yes. tscudo is planning on joining established organisations who focus on sustainability and cleaning its community and Tscudo also has plans to set its on clean up morning.
Alongside this, we will collaborate with other like-minded brands/organisation around sun protection and education on avoiding skin damage and melanomas.
T&S: The tops look great. Do you have any formal training in the clothing industry?
Simon: Yes. I studied fashion. But what has also lead me here is the experiences I’ve had along the way in the apparel and outdoor industry mixed with my travels
“Nothing gets done until something gets sold”.. You need to always be selling, whether it’s your product, the brand or yourself.
T&S: There must be so many factors when starting a business such as this. The production setup, logistics, marketing and of course the costs. What are the biggest hurdles you’ve faced along the way?
Simon: Some years ago a wise old man during a brief chat told me “Nothing gets done until something gets sold”.. You need to always be selling, whether it’s your product, the brand or yourself. Building a brand is a journey and it rides off momentum. It will have its ups and downs.
It’s important to understand just why you’re doing this and why you started in the first place. I’m no guru but I truly believe in the message I’m sending and educating others around it. The biggest hurdle was starting. So if you have an idea. START.
T&S: We think that’s something that Tyres and Soles certainly recognises! Where should people go if they want to learn more about TSCUDO?
Simon: We’ve just launched our website, tscudo.com.au.
T&S: Thanks for your time Simon, it’s been great getting to know you and where tscudo has come from and where it’s going.
Simon: My pleasure!