Accessories made from fire hoses on International Firefighters’ Day

When you think about firefighters, you probably imagine heroes putting out fires, or perhaps sexy calendars, but presumably, you don’t think about what happens with fire hoses when they break. While most go to the landfill without a second look, design studio Elvis & Kresse collaborates with the London Fire Brigade, taking their decommissioned hoses off their hands and turning them into accessories, from bags to belts.

If there is a hole in a fire hose that can’t be fixed, you can’t simply cut it off to use it anyway. Fire hoses, after all, have to be long to be able to reach the fire. Usually, the hoses go to the landfill, because they don’t have another use.

Rather than discarding them, Elvis & Kresse decided to upcycle the hoses, turning them in accessories such as bags and belts. 95 per cent of British fire hoses are red, so most accessories have that colour, but 5 per cent is yellow. When Elvis & Kresse comes across those, they also offer products in yellow.

Fire hoses weigh quite a lot, but the studio re-engineers them so that the accessories won’t be too heavy. 50 per cent of the profits go to the Fire Fighters Charity and other charities.

In addition to fire hoses, Elvis & Kresse also reclaims other materials, such as parachute silk, printing blankets and leather scraps.

Parachute silk can’t have flaws, for obvious reasons, so material that is not turned into parachutes is used by the design studio for the lining of bags and wallets. Larger bags are lined with reclaimed auction banners.

The off-set printing industry uses a synthetic, composite textile to transfer ink from the roller onto the paper. If the blanket is damaged or wears out, it can no longer be used as any defect would appear on every single leaflet. Due to its composite structure, this material can’t be recycled by traditional means. Elvis & Kresse reclaims these blankets, cleaning them up to create a new raw material.

The company works with the Burberry Foundation to combat the problem of 35,000 tonnes of leather waste that is produced annually in the European luxury industry. Elvis & Kresse hand weaves the leather pieces to turn them into products.

Aside from materials for their products, the company also reuses materials such as coffee and tea sacks, and shoeboxes for the packaging.

Photos: Elvis & Kresse