Upcycled Fire Hoses

Upcycled Fire Hoses

Fire hoses are built to last, but in the situations they are used in could possibly break. If that is the case they are decommissioned. But what is left is a large amount of material which lasts for decades, which ends up in landfill. This is why James Henrit and Kresse Wesling, of Elvis and Kresse, have turned this waste into desirable high end accessories that utilise the longevity of the material.

 

In 2005 the idea of Elvis and Kresse began when the founders learned how much waste is produced from London Fire Brigade’s hoses, with over three tons going into the city’s landfills each year. Since then, none of London’s fire hoses have ended up in landfill, as Elvis and Kresse have reclaimed over 200 tons of them. On top of this elimination of waste, 50% of the profits for each product is given back to The Fire Fighters Charity. This goes with their problem driven design ethos, and the three pillars they have given the brand; rescue, transform, and donate.

 

Fire hoses regularly get retired as they need to be pristine in order to work. But as each hose told a story, and was made from a super strong material, Elvis & Kresse saw an opportunity to reimagine them as high-end accessories. The material looks similar to leather, has character, is waterproof and is very robust. Each hose is thoroughly cleaned to remove the soot and grease that builds up after sometimes 25 years of use. These are then flattened and sewed into accessories which are designed to be timeless and honour the material, showing unique marks and print. 

As well as taking a material engineered to last a long time out of landfill, the brand also wants to help the fire brigade. Which is why they re-distribute up to 50% of profits to projects and charities related to the unique materials they reclaim. Not only does this have a large impact on local communities, but it also allows engagement with their material suppliers, similar to how it would be to buy new virgin materials.

.


Other Materials Elvis and Kresse Use:

 

PARACHUTE SILK

Many parachutes are discarded as the fabric needs to be without any flaws for safety. The parachute silk is also checked during its production where tiny flaws can be found in the material. Therefore this material is used as bag lining for bags and wallets.

 

PRINTING BLANKETS

The printing industry uses a printing blanket to transfer ink from the roller onto the paper. But if the blanket is damaged or worn it can no longer be used. These blankets are cleaned and turned into a new raw material. 

 

LEATHER

In 2017 Elvis and Kresse partnered with The Burberry Foundation to collect leather scraps from Burberry’s production line. Each scrap from the factory is used by the brand in conjunction with fire hoses in some collections. However, many of the products created by the brand are vegan.  

 

COFFEE SACKS

Coffee is usually transported in 60kg jute or hessian sacks. When at their destination these bags are usually thrown away. But Elvis and Kresse use these for various purposes, such as deconstructing them into threads to create string on their swing tags. 

 

TEA SACKS

Tea is usually imported in large paper sacks. These are non recyclable as the inside of the paper is coated in a polymer foil for freshness. Elvis and Kresse are able to separate these layers by hand. These are then individually used for packaging, mailing pouches, and all of their brochures.

 

SHOE BOXES

Shoe boxes also have a variety of uses, such as in packaging. They are also flattened and cut into labels. 

 

AUCTION BANNERS

London auction houses use quality materials to advertise sales, but after the events these are thrown away. This material is collected and turned into the lining of larger bags.

 

.

References:

Elvis and Kresse

Lewis Bullock

The Macallan Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Wallpaper*