Where my clothes come from – No.3

Paul Bell

Paul with Elvis and Kresse bag
Photographer: Sue Phillips

“What I particularly like about my Elvis and Kresse messenger bag is the material; it has a prior history as fire-hose which is visually evident. Each panel is different, with generic wear and tear and water staining from many years of use in firefighting. Every ‘imperfection’ dates back to specific incidents; the visual representation of a history which is unknowable.

As a designer I’m delighted that the bag is functional as well as looking wonderful. The parachute silk lining is luxurious and surprisingly durable. It’s wonderful to think that my bag was made out of materials originally destined for landfill. And I know it’s made to last; a material which was in service for several decades as a fire-hose has been reimagined as a bag which I’ll enjoy for the rest of my life.

Each individual bag is different; no two can possibly look the same. There are unique variations in both the material itself and the printed graphics. We may not know what the graphics refer to, but they do mean something. My bag has 1983 printed on it which may or may not refer to the year, but happens to be when my daughter was born”.

Elvis and Kresse bag graphics detail
Photographer: Sue Phillips

Elvis and Kresse do more than just make bags. They have an inspiring vision: ‘We dream of a time without landfill, when everything is recycled or composted. Between now and then we know there are far too many incredible materials that will either languish under ground or suffer the indignity of incineration; when that happens we lose, we lose quality, narrative, and the opportunity to do something great. So we intercede, choosing story laden materials of incredible character, and do everything we can to ensure their second life is as long as possible.’

They’re inspired by kintsugi, the Japanese art of restoring broken ceramics with gold or other precious materials. It’s an approach which finds beauty in the history and patina of old things, and more spiritual satisfaction in repair than replacement. Elvis and Kresse provide new lives to a range of different materials including decommissioned firehose, parachute silk, printing blankets, leather waste, coffee and tea sacks, shoe boxes, and auction advertising banners.

By applying quality craftsmanship and an uncompromising design aesthetic to seemingly useless waste products they’re creating sustainable accessories you can love for a lifetime. And B-Corp accreditation means you can have confidence that they’ve met external standards for transparency, accountability, and business performance.

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Sue Written by:

I’m a finance professional who’s interested in whether we’re accounting for the right things in the right ways.

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