A LIFE-threatening condition as a youngster inspired Alex Franklin’s carpe diem attitude which has seen the 22- year-old open a fashion business aimed at making an ecological difference.
The condition could return at any time, but he said: “It made me realise life is short, so go for it.”
Originally from Berkshire he studied graphic design at the University of Chester: “Exams weren’t really for me, but I love the business element of things and did business at GCSE.
“After I left university I didn’t want to sit around, so started my business.”
Albatross Clothing launched last November and sells a range of limited edition trendy fitted T-shirts which are as ecologically-friendly as possible.
All T-shirts are made in factories driven by wind or solar power and the printers use environmentally-friendly inks which are printed into the fabric rather than on top of it: “A lot of companies use cheap screen printing that flakes off as the shirts get older.”
He added: “I am into the environment, but there is a stigma around it. People think you have to be a tree- hugger or a poncho-wearing hippy.”
He said the green movement is becoming more vociferous and is targeting the big players over the effect chemicals in their clothing are having on the environment and people’s health: “They have promised to get rid of them by 2020, but that’s seven years off, so all our stuff is organic and there’s no chemicals at all.”
The business also sets itself high standards: “The quality of T-shirts is shocking today and they go really rubbish after three weeks.”
But he said his range is easier on the skin and longer-lasting and, although aimed at the student market the £24 price tag, including delivery, reflects their premium quality.
“People could get four Primark shirts for the same price, but until they buy the product people don’t understand the quality.”
Mr Franklin said the university’s backing has been incredible: “I did a business bootcamp at university and it was unreal the things people had done – there was a 22-year-old who had a multi-million pound company. I met some really fantastic people and they have been such an asset and a help.”