A chance meeting with the London Fire Brigade in 2005 has led to one brand creating some seriously innovative creations – from decommissioned fire hoses.
Rather than let the hoses get sent to landfill, Elvis & Kresse fell in love with these old hoses and mounted a rescue. Originally thinking they’d be making roof tiles, a lot of research, trial and error has led to creating accessories from this unlikely material.
Beautiful, and sustainable bags, wallets, rugs, belts and even luggage tags are now created out of these unused hoses, with 50% of profits from their fire hose range going to Fire Fighters Charity
Kresse says: “At Elvis & Kresse our philosophy is to abandon the concept of fashion. We don’t do seasons. We focus on executing classic, utilitarian design with high quality craftsmanship. You shouldn’t ever need a second belt from us. Even if you grow or shrink, we will help your belt adjust. We will repair it for you.”
It took three years for Elvis & Kresse to perfect the art of making bags. As hoses aren’t a textile to start with, they have to go through many processes to go through to get to their end products. Kresse says: “We have to clean it, edge it, split it. There are 6 processes that we apply to the hose when we rescue it, in order to make it into a usable material. This essentially means that if we were in the leather business we would not just be making bags, we would be tanning the hides as well. Having now worked with reclaimed leather we can definitely tell you that the hose is a problematic material.”
The finished products are sturdy, hardwearing and beautiful. Kresse describes the brand as classic, utilitarian and environmental and hopes that one day there is a shift to circular economy and to long-lasting and hard-wearing goods that people cherish.
On throwaway fashion Kresse says: “I understand how the market has evolved, I understand why it is here. Over time the industry has geared up for this, churning out entirely new offerings according to the seasons. Some fast fashion brands have gone even further, offering new pieces on a weekly basis. Retailers crave new products because consumers have grown accustomed to constant change. If we are prepared to celebrate the impermanence of fashion, then we have to deal with the very serious downsides: wage and working conditions, the high levels of waste, the environmental impacts of production and shipping. All this for items that at best, don’t last and at worst, are never worn? I think its time might be now, but its time will soon be over.
Along with fire hoses, Elvis & Kresse reclaim other materials, including parachute silk, coffee bags, shoe boxes, and auction banners to create truly sustainable products.
Perfect for long lasting and innovative Christmas gifts, check out the full range at www.elvisandkresse.com including their best selling large washbag and billfold wallet which Kresse says are always fighting it out for the top spot.