Elvis & Kresse, a British duo who upcycle reclaimed fire hoses into chic, one-of-a-kind accessories like these washbags, key rings and cufflinks.
After collecting used hoses, some of which have put in 20 years of service, from fire brigades around the U.K., Elvis & Kresse use nothing but water and elbow grease to scrub them clean of soot and grime, then have their crack team of leather workers, who also make products for high-end luxury houses, cut and stitch them into the finished products.
The result is stylish and well made accessories with a cool, distressed appeal (think Steve McQueen’s well worn leather jacket) that are also extremely practical and durable. Each bag has lettering and numbers which designate the origin of the firehouse it was made from. Lined in reclaimed military-grade parachute silk, they’re an enduring testament to the beauty of utilitarian materials.
“Fire hose has a history—it protects both the firefighters and us—so it’s our turn to value the hose and care for it, showing respect for both the material and fire service personnel,” says Kresse Wesling, the company’s co-founder. “The story embedded in the hose is too good to waste.”
And the Elvis & Kresse story doesn’t end with their products: Their packaging is also upcycled. The key rings and cufflinks are shipped in envelopes made of waste tea sack pouches and the washbag comes in reclaimed mesh dust covers. Even more impressive is how much waste Elvis & Kresse have reclaimed since the company was launched in 2007: More than 165 tons. And 50 percent of profits are donated to the Fire Fighters Charity.