Every year, 1.3 million tons of clothes are discarded and replaced in the United Kingdom alone. One pair of designers found a way to reduce this waste by taking new approach to fashion. A few years ago, they learned about London Fire Brigade’s decommissioned hoses which were sent to landfill after a lifetime of saving people and homes.
The founders realized that instead of throwing away these retired materials, they could be upcycled and transformed into an alternative textile. Dedicated to this simple but innovative idea, Elvis & Kresse was created and has since helped keep out 165 tons of waste from landfills.
The company hopes to tackle the issue of fashion waste head on as it’s become an environmental concern worldwide. Due to quickly rotating offerings, fashion companies have started to put out new items at a neck breaking speed.
Their goal is to upcycle and create something that is durable and long lasting enough that it can stays in a consumer's possession long term. Committed to their sustainable principles, the company also offers to make repairs to their items as they begins to experience wear and tear from customer usage.
The materials themselves are probably what sets this line apart from most eco-friendly designers. While they started with their signature retired fire hoses, Elvis & Kresse discovered a wide range of other materials to rescue from the landfill. By focusing on how to add value and change the perception of resources like parachute silk, leather scraps, and printing blankets, the designers are able to find new ways to create classic designs.
While not all of their products are vegan, the company promises that their signature fire hose will always continue to be free of animal products or testing.
Apart from upcycled materials, Elvis & Kresse also focuses on a sustainable manufacturing process. All their products are one of a kind and handmade. By embracing kintsugi, the Japanese philosophy of repairing broken items to give them useful life again, Elvis & Kresse hope to take older pieces and give them a new figure that will be valued and loved again.
Once the pieces are made, how the items are packed also aligns with the company’s values. True to their leave no piece behind ethics, Elvis & Kresse use raw materials like coffee sacks, air traffic control flight strips, tea sacks, and shoe boxes in their arsenal of reclaimed packaging.
In addition to their sustainable fashion initiatives, Elvis & Kresse continues to stay closely tied to their roots and donates up to 50 percent of their fire hose profits to Fire Fighters Charity. The company also works with groups such as the British Forces Foundation, Help For Heroes, and Comic Relief.
In the process of helping the environment and giving back to their communities, this company has picked up more than a few nods of recognition along the way. Kresse was named the Cartier Women's Initiative Laureate for Europe and Walpole selected the company as a Brand of Tomorrow. This company continues to focus on transparency while putting out fires in the fashion industry.