Elvis & Kresse – Master of Upcycling and Zero Waste

 

 

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Elvis & Kresse is an accessories brand for men and women. They make bags, wallets, belts, purses, home goods, and much more. Since 2005 they have been rescuing raw materials, transforming them into luxury lifestyle accessories and donating 50% of profits back to charities.

They dream of a time without landfill, when everything is recycled or composted. Between now and then they 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 they intercede, choosing story laden materials of incredible character, and do everything they can to ensure their second life is as long as possible.

The future of luxury is sustainable, ethical, reclaimed, open, generous and kind.

The Rescue 

In 2005 they had a chance encounter with the London Fire Brigade. When they learned that London’s damaged decommissioned hoses were headed to landfill they mounted a rescue. They set up Elvis & Kresse to save it.

For over a decade none of London’s fire-hose has gone to landfill and over 175 tons of material has been reclaimed.

In 2017 the Burberry Foundation partnered with Elvis & Kresse to tackle the even greater global problem of leather waste. This Five-year partnership will see at least 120 tonnes of leather off-cuts from Burberry recrafted into new luxury items, designed and sold by Elvis & Kresse.

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 do to prove value, change perception, and respect these resources. Here are some of their most cherished raw materials:

Fire-hose

After a distinguished career fighting fires, all fire-hoses eventually get retired. They 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 colors are available.)

Parachute silk

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.

Leather

They are working with the Burberry Foundation to solve the problem of 35,000 tonnes of leather waste produced each year by the European luxury industry. No matter how carefully they plan the patterns for leather goods, high quality, unused, freshly tanned and dyed leather falls to the cutting room floor as seemingly unusable pieces. Their system transforms leather fragments from the production of Burberry leather goods into components which are then handwoven, piece by piece, into whole new hides.

Coffee sack

Most unroasted, green coffee is imported in 60kg jute or hessian sacks. Once the coffee beans arrive at their roastery, they often dispose of these highly decorated, biodegradable sacks. They currently re-use this material for various purposes, even down to individual strands for the string on their swing tags.

Shoe boxes

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 shoebox will more than likely have been thrown away (hopefully recycled). They collect these unwanted shoe boxes, flatten them and use the material to make their packaging and labels.

Tea sack

Tea is imported into the country in large craft paper sacks. The inner-most piece covering is a polymer-coated foil to keep the tea fresh. Unfortunately, this means that the sacks are not recyclable. They separate these layers by hand and use them to make Their packaging, mailing pouches and to print all of our brochures.

 

Read about Re/Done – denim brand that repurposes Levi’s jeans

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Re/Done

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