Sustainable luxury since 2005
Redefine, cherish and honour – The ability to transform an item or raw material into another completely different functional object takes vision, skill, determination and pure artistry. There is no doubt about it, we are all acutely aware of the impact we are having on our planet. Most of us make a conscious effort to recycle, reuse and upcycle where we can, but there are still certain products that just can’t be recycled in the standard way and end up in landfill.
This is where passion, innovation and foresight come in, to create a brand of luxury products that are not only unique in terms of their heritage but are sustainable and a percentage from the sale of the items help to shape the future lives of others.
In 2005 Kresse Wesling had a chance meeting with the London Fire Brigade and a very emotional response to their damaged, decommissioned fire hose. It was too heroic and too beautiful for landfill. Somebody had to do something, and those somebodies were Elvis & Kresse (Kresse and her partner James ‘aka Elvis’ Henrit).
They mounted a rescue, and over the last sixteen years have saved all of London’s hoses, transforming them into a range of luxury accessories and donating 50% of the profits to the Fire Fighters Charity. From the first day Elvis & Kresse had a unique DNA: rescue, transform, donate.
Elvis & Kresse don’t recycle per se, they redefine materials by cherishing them, honouring them, and embedding craftsmanship and design into them, ensuring their next life is a full one. They are re-engineers who design for utility, not for seasonality. They are also committed to repairing any of their products, prolonging their life as much as possible. Over the last sixteen years the company has grown to tackle more than ten unique materials, from tea sacks to printing blankets, always with the same methodology. They have developed a unique voice in the luxury industry.
They are now tackling their greatest ever challenge, the 800,000 tonnes of leather off-cuts generated each year by the global leather industry. Even when the patterns for leather goods are carefully planned to maximise the hides, the process inevitably creates small off cuts. These are high quality, unused, freshly tanned and dyed leather, but fall to the workshop floor as seemingly unusable pieces. They have designed a system that transforms these fragments into components, which are then hand woven into a new kind of hide that is unrestricted by size or shape. 50% of the profits from the leather rescue project are donated to renewable energy projects and provide scholarships for women to train as solar engineers.
The results are luxurious, reclaimed and handmade bags and accessories for both men and women. The range includes a classic Weekend Bag, Tote, Clutch Bag, Backpack, Briefcase and Attaché Case amongst a range of accessories such as belts and wallets all made from London firehoses and leather off-cuts.