Elvis & Kresse have been reclaiming heroic materials ever since we fell in love with London Fire Brigade's decommissioned fire-hose. After a distinguished career fighting fires and saving lives the hoses were destined for landfill. We started rescuing it in 2005 and have never looked back.
More materials soon followed, Kresse has always had an obsession with waste and likes nothing better than discovering and intercepting something new. The challenge is the same every time - what can we do to prove value, change perception, and respect these resources. Here are some of our most cherished raw materials:
After a distinguished career fighting fires all fire-hoses eventually get retired. We couldn’t bear to see this heroic material simply going to landfill. Since 2005 Elvis & Kresse have been perfecting the technique of turning these decommissioned hoses into an exciting alternative textile – beautiful, characterful, robust and mostly red! (Although some other colours are available.)
Parachute silk can contain minute flaws that are not visible to the naked eye. For obvious reasons these pieces are not turned into parachutes but with some careful cutting the material is ideal for lining Elvis & Kresse’s bags and wallets.
The off-set printing industry, the one that prints 1000’s of leaflets at a time, uses a printing blanket to transfer ink from the roller onto the paper. If the blanket is damaged or wears out it can no longer be used as any defect would appear on every single leaflet. We reclaim these blankets, clean them up, re-engineer them and create a new (vintage) raw material.
We are working with the Burberry Foundation to solve the problem of the 35,000 tonnes of leather waste produced each year by the European luxury industry. No matter how carefully patterns for leather goods are planned, high quality, unused, freshly tanned and dyed leather falls to the cutting room floor as seemingly unusable pieces. Our system transforms leather fragments from the production of Burberry leather goods into components which are then hand woven, piece by piece, into whole new hides.
Most unroasted, green coffee is imported in 60kg jute or hessian sacks. Once the coffee beans arrive at their roastery, the often highly decorated, biodegradable sacks are disposed of. We currently re-use this material for various purposes, even down to individual strands for the string on our swing tags.
If you have ever been to a shoe shop and bought a pair of shoes and said “don’t wrap them, I’ll wear them”, the shoe box will more than likely have been thrown away (hopefully recycled). We collect these unwanted shoe boxes, flatten them and use the material to make our packaging and labels.
Tea is imported into the country in large craft paper sacks, the inner-most piece is covered in a polymer coated foil to keep the tea fresh. Unfortunately this means that the sacks are not recyclable. We separate these layers by hand and use them to make our packaging, mailing pouches and to print all of our brochures.
Some of the leading auction houses in London hang huge banners to advertise upcoming sales events. Once the auction has finished the banners are no longer useful to them. We take this stunning and unique material and use it as the lining for some of our larger bags.
We dream of a time without landfill, when everything is recycled or composted. Between now and then we know there are far too many incredible materials that will either languish underground or suffer the indignity of incineration; when that happens we lose, we lose quality, narrative, and the opportunity to do something great. So we intercede, choosing story laden materials of incredible character, and do everything we can to ensure their second life is as long as possible.
We have partnered with Burberry Foundation to solve our most ambitious material challenge to date: the vast amounts of waste created through the production of leather goods. As part of a new five-year partnership, Elvis & Kresse have received a grant from the Burberry Foundation to support this work. We will also transform at least 120 tonnes of leather off cuts from the production of Burberry products into accessories and homeware.
Half of the profits from this range will be donated to charitable causes focused on renewable energy. The remaining half will be reinvested to expand our work in reducing and reusing waste, protecting the environment and inspiring craftspeople.
It is estimated that each year, 800,000 tonnes of leather waste is produced by the global leather industry. No matter how carefully patterns for leather goods are planned, high quality, unused, freshly tanned and dyed leather falls to the cutting room floor as seemingly unusable pieces. We have designed a system which transforms these fragments into components which are then hand woven, piece by piece, into a new kind of hide which is unrestricted by size or shape.
Through this partnership, we will demonstrate how the traditional leather goods supply chain can be disrupted and changed for the better. We want to ignite the maker’s movement and inspire others to use their creativity and craftsmanship to reengineer waste material to invent new, beautiful goods to be cherished.
We are constantly searching for more materials to grow our range of bags, belts and wallets, and have rescued over 165 tonnes so far.
We create stunning life-style accessories by re-engineering seemingly useless wastes and combining them with traditional craftsmanship.
We love to share, it makes the world a better place. This is why 50% of profits from our fire-hose range are donated to the Fire Fighters Charity.