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Elvis and Kresse - From Firehouse to Farmhouse

By Joshua Williams

Jan 27, 2022

Business

Joshua Williams
Each month Sass Brown, an expert in ethical fashion, sustainability and craftsmanship, shares a fashion brand that approaches business differently and innovatively or operates outside of the main fashion systems and capitals. Sass is the former Dean of Art and Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the founding Dean at Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation.

Elvis and Kresse is a UK-based company that began by reusing firehoses as their core material. As Sass Brown puts it, “Fire hoses are quite a very particular resource. They are decommissioned quite quickly because of health and safety issues, but overall they are very hard-wearing.” As she explains, these fire hoses are seamed together to create a broad line of accessories, including bags, small wallets and big weekend bags. She describes the collection as “slick and beautiful; they have this fantastic sort of patina and wear on them from use, which adds to the story.”

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Of course, using one material can limit a company’s growth, so over time, Elvis and Kresse expanded into using other materials, including reclaimed blankets and auction banners. But perhaps more importantly, they are now using wasted leather. According to Sass, they have a particularly interesting way of working with this leather, due to the fact that they are primarily leftovers. “They have a process where they cut the leather into three different types of shapes, which then completely interlock. They create these tessellations then when interconnected create fabric at scale–an ingenious way for utilizing very small scraps of fabric..” She adds, “there’s a lovely texture to them and certainly represents an opportunity for other companies to mimic in their own designs.”

Recently, the company has moved their headquarters from London to a 17-acre farm, New Barns Farm, in Kent, with a focus on permaculture or regenerative farming. This move will provide them a foundation to continually add new materials to their collection and further their efforts around sustainable design.

What’s more, Elvis and Kresse continue to donate 50% of their profits to companies that align with the materials they use, whether through reclamation, or their farm. Sass provides two examples, “The first and most obvious is donating to fireman’s charities. Another example is proving 50% of their tessellated leather use goes to Barefoot College to train women in solar engineering.”All together, the goal is to provide multiplicitous ways to provide benefits and services beyond the products themselves.

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