Elvis & Kresse - Kent, UK
Luxury lifestyle handbags made from reclaimed raw materials (decommissioned fire hoses and leather), Elvis & Kresse create quality that lasts, combining craftsmanship with timeless design. Elvis & Kresse are a certified Social Enterprise, redistributing up to 50% of profits.
Elvis & Kresse got its start in 2004 when Kresse Wesling and her partner, James 'Elvis' Henrit, learned that 100 million tons of waste went into landfills in the United Kingdom each year. Visiting several landfill sites and transfer centres in a few weeks they had a chance meeting with members of the UK fire service who were discarding some of the 10 tons of fire hose they decommission each year.
A fire hose is 22 meters long, durable and robust, but if you get an irreparable tear somewhere in the hose, it goes into landfill. Kresse & James mission was to solve the 10-ton-a-year fire hose problem. Completely led by the material and the requirement to clean nitrile rubber by hand, stemed the beginning of a high end and niche brand.
SUSTAINABLY & ETHICALLY LED
Rescuing raw materials like genuine decommissioned fire hoses and reclaimed leather, Elvis & Kresse build to last, combining world class craftsmanship with timeless design. Giving back 50% of profits to charities. Elvis & Kresse are a certified Social Enterprise, a founding UK B Corp and a Walpole Brand of Tomorrow.
Elvis & Kresse are transparent, employing and training apprentices and nurturing the next generation of craftspeople in the UK. They are powered by renewable energy. They save material otherwise destined for landfill or incineration. Their packaging is also handmade from rescued material.
For over a decade, thanks to Elvis & Kresse, none of London’s fire-hoses have gone to landfill with over 170 tons of material reclaimed.
In 2017 Elvis & Kresse partnered with Burberry Foundation to tackle the even greater global problem of leather waste. Each year, 800,000 tonnes of beautiful leather ends up on the cutting room floor. In order to rescue these fragments Elvis & Kresse developed a modular approach. Creating three shapes that interlock to create whole new hides, each shape is individually cut before lovingly hand woven together, piece by piece, creating a strong, beautiful and tactile new material.
Elvis & Kresse have been delivering the future of sustainable luxury since 2005.
Elvis & Kresse have been reclaiming heroic materials ever since they 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. They 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 they can do to prove value, change perception, and respect these resources. Some of their most cherished raw materials in addition to fire hoses include printing blankets, auction banners, tea sacks, leather, coffee sack, shoe boxes and parachute silk.
They dream of a time without landfill, when everything is recycled or composted. Between now and then Elvis & Kresse intend to continue their rescue of these many incredible materials that would otherwise languish underground.
By repurposing and recrafting these materials (seemingly useless waste) into brand new luxury bags of timeless design, cleverly engineered with traditional craftsmanship and using every piece of these raw materials, Elvis & Kresse are doing everything they can to ensure a second life.
Design traditionally begins with an idea, for Elvis & Kresse, design begins with a problem. It is the material and the scale of the problem which dictate what they will make and how to make it. In the case of the hose, after scrubbing away the soot and grease that builds up after 25 years of active duty, a truly remarkable, truly green textile is discovered.
All Elvis & Kresse products are hand-made and unique, styled for use beyond single seasons. Their mission is to transform it, make it desirable or useful on it's own right.
Elvis & Kresse is tradition, re-engineered.
Elvis & Kresse re-distributes up to 50% of profits to projects and charities related to the unique materials reclaimed. 50% of the profits from the Fire Hose range are donated to the Fire Fighters Charity. In addition, donations have been made to many other charities over the years.
Elvis & Kresse was established to solve environmental and waste problems, what started with fire-hoses, now involve more than 10 different reclaimed materials.
Where most traditional businesses are only able to measure their success in one way... the bottom line. At Elvis & Kresse they have 2 additional measures of success; how much waste they are able to divert from landfill and how much money they are able to give back to their charities.