ent based Elvis & Kresse use abandoned fire hose for their gorgeous bags
Kresse Wesling left the heat and humidity of Hong Kong in 2004 to come to the UK. Discarding Buckingham Palace and Madam Tussauds, first on her must-see list was landfill sites.
‘Waste is a really interesting way to find about a country and its culture. What does it discard? It can be both wonderful and disgusting.,’ she enthuses citing the horrifying statistics of our island’s disposal culture with less joy.
Rummaging around the landfill
It was amongst the landfill smells and debris that Kresse came across the rusty red material that makes up the fire brigade hose. These are created out of synthetic rubber and they go to waste when they are too damaged to repair or come to the end of their natural health and safety life which is 25 years. At this point of her research the industrious Kresse, who once made Britain’s most entrepreneurial women list, got thinking.
“ We spoke to the London Fire Brigade and mounted a rescue, they were only too happy to keep these hoses out of landfill. . .]
The feeling was mutual despite the many hurdles they had to overcome to turn this tough material into the luxurious and stylish bags they sells on their website.
Giving the fashion houses a run for their money
‘We originally thought we would make roof tiles, or construction materials and then we did some research and found that the high grade synthetic rubber was very similar to the ones used by high end French fashion houses so we got to work,’ says Kresse who holds an MBE.
The designs that the company have made out of landfill headed material are distinctive and high-end and the only thing that could remind you of the fire brigade are their wonderful colours. But once you handle them, you realise that not only do they look good but they are fireman strong too.
“ The material is very strong and durable – it deserves a second life . . .]
…insists Kresse who has also created goods out of leather offcuts in a process which she describes as being ‘like Lego.’
As for the future, Elvis & Kresse are also working on other ways to give our discarded materials a luxurious second life such as with littered aluminium cans.
With the help of Queen Mary University researchers they are hoping to turn them into hardware for belts and bags and are committed to working open source for their process to inspire other businesses to follow their eco conscious lead. But for now, why not snap up one of their adorable bags whilst they are still flaming, fire engine hot ?