Wouldn’t You Though?
Recycling waste is big business – but it’s doesn’t necessarily follow that old fire hoses should become pretty bags and belts. Yet that’s exactly what Canadian-born Kresse, one half of husband and wife team Elvis & Kresse, decided to do. After a chance meeting with the London Fire Brigade she had a light bulb idea for turning trash into treasure.
Hoses can survive up to 25 years of active service but when they are too damaged to repair they are scrapped. There is no traditional way to recycle them but Kresse saw potential in the rich, lustrous coils of red. She knew they could have a second life and so Elvis (her husband’s nickname) & Kresse was born. The couple now run their business from a 200 year–old water mill in Tonge Mill in Kent, that they are also restoring. And they make everything from tote bags, purses and belts for women to weekend bags, washbags and wallets for men – all out of the rubbery recycled material. What a kind of bonkers, and yet totally brilliant, idea. I love it!
The strong material and sense of history of the decommisioned fire-hoses give the end product a certain original charm that will definitely appeal to those who like a raw edginess to their fashion (Elvis & Kresse donate a whopping 50% of their profits to The Fire Fighters Charity).
Not surprisingly, with this killer combination of style, quirkiness and eco-friendly credentials the upcycled accessories have developed something of a cult following. Here’s a little snap of me, below, hanging out in one of their belts in my sitting room earlier today.
Oh no, my mistake, that’s Cameron Diaz as photographed by Mario Testino for a US Vogue shoot (but I was telling the truth about the belt…). I’m thinking it’s the perfect Chrimbo present to give to anyone that likes to make a fashion statement that is both cool and green (red or yellow).
Elvis & Kresse, Tonge Mill, Church Road, Tonge, Kent, ME9 9AP, Tel: 07809 883 079, elvisandkresse.com