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sustainable fashion Tag

Circular Economy News: Luxury Goods From Recycled Firehose

Garbage To Grandness

In our line of work we watch the circular economy news closely and as a result we get to see sustainable innovation at its finest. We never tire of seeing individuals, groups and corporations create profits from ideas that not only don’t exploit people or the planet, but actually provide benefit to both. This article is about one such company.

Elvis & Kresse turns decommissioned fire hoses into sustainably and ethically made luxury accessories,. If that isn’t good enough it donates half of its profits to support renewable energy and women’s empowerment projects, as well as firefighters in need. I read about Elvis and Kresse in this article featured on causeartist.com, a website dedicated to shining a light on social enterprises, that is the people and companies making a difference in the world.

Every moment of reading this circular economy news article filled me with joy and one day I’d love to purchase one of their amazing products. Apart from being great looking and practical, they are made from a super-tough material that I’d expect to last a lifetime, perhaps longer. That pretty much ticks every box I have to before making a purchase. 

Circular Economy News: Innovative British company recycles firehose into luxury goods turning garbage to grandness


Key takeaways

  • Elvis and Kresse’ products, which include bags, wallets, belts, notebooks or laptop cases, are designed with a zero waste ethos in mind. This means their production processes leave no scraps behind, involve only upcycled materials, and use packaging made out of reclaimed fabric.
  • Through a chance encounter in 2005, Elvis & Kresse founders James Henrit (aka ‘Elvis’) and Kresse Wesling, realized that every year, between 3 to 10 tons of fire hoses are destined for the landfill in London.
  • Despite no previous experience in fashion, the former design consultant and venture capitalist duo spent two years prototyping what products reclaimed fire hoses could be repurposed into, and created conscious sartorial brand Elvis & Kresse.
  • When asked what sets Elvis & Kresse apart in a world defined by consumerism, fast fashion and increasing greenwashing practices, Wesling explained their definition of sustainability: “For us, if it doesn’t make the world better for other people’s grandchildren, then it isn’t sustainable.”
Circular Economy News: Innovative British company recycles firehose into luxury goods turning garbage to grandness

Top tips for aspiring social entrepreneurs

Think backwards. Don’t start with an idea, start with a problem. We face unprecedented environmental challenges: we have lost 30 percent of our bees, and by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans, much of it too small to see or capture. If you want to run a truly rewarding, impact-driven business, choose one of these challenges.

Be entirely sustainable. This encompasses environmental, social and financial aspects, the latter because positive cashflow means you won’t have to compromise on your solution. Just because you are a purpose-driven social enterprise – that exists to do good – doesn’t mean you will be immune to wider economic issues.

If a business decision is bad for other people’s grandchildren, don’t make it. Period. This is something we talk through with Elvis every time. The world doesn’t have time for exploitative, destructive businesses. Those days are gone.

The last word…

I wonder what we’ll make? For those of you who don’t know, we moved into our new Morningside location at 506 Lytton Rd just before Easter (2020). We can’t wait to run a Retail Rescue sale day, a Circular Economy Futures Meetup or even a smaller World’s Biggest Garage Sale event. In a special announcement, our own circular economy news is that we are dedicating part of the building to being a makerspace. Between ourselves, other businesses and individuals and some strategic partnerships, we expect to be producing, or more to the point repurposing goods, from that space within weeks. Watch this space…

Yas 

Co-Founder/CEO

Retail’s new disruptor? The resale market!

We’ve known it was coming for a long time! Watch out fast fashion, second-hand clothing is about to overtake you.

According to Scott Galloway New York University business professor and renowned tech pundit, “The new disrupter in retail, the new gangster that’s going to create hundreds of billions in shareholder value is the second-hand resale market.” And who’s driving it? Young people according to Mr Galloway.

Resale statistics

The predicted growth of the secondhand fashion market versus fast fashion. Source: Section4

Yas with one of the first shoppers at If the Shoe Fits

Yas with one of our first shoppers!!

And this concurs with other research we’ve been finding. The resale apparel industry is growing 21x faster than the standard retail apparel industry (thredUP) and millennials are cashing in. 61% of millennials sold something in the last year, compared to 54% of Gen X and 51% of baby boomers. The number of people selling second hand clothing, homewares, games and toys and electronic goods has doubled since 2011 (Gumtree, SHE report), with clothing, shoes and accessories now the most popular items to sell.

Further research from the US indicates that the second-hand clothing market will grow from $US24 billion ($35.5 billion) in the US in 2018, to $US64 billion by 2028. While fast fashion will continue to grow it won’t be at the same rate – from $US35 billion to $US44 billion in 2028.

Now is the time for businesses to be innovating and providing options for consumers to buy second-hand products. In a survey by Amplify talking to 2000 Australians aged 18 to 30, “1 in 3 felt passionately about the environment and sustainability, demonstrating they are actively trying to tackle this problem.”

34% also believe brands should be leading the way when it comes to saving the Planet, with 4 out of 10 want the brands they buy to make the world better and almost the same want the brands they buy to reflect their values.

If the Shoe Fits Popup StoreAnd given the success of ‘If The Shoe Fits’, Brisbane’s first Circular Economy Pop-up, in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD at the Wintergarden this Brisbane Fashion Month the research appears to match resale market demand!

Drop in and visit our friendly team at shop 14 in the Brisbane Wintergarden  for the new circular economy way of shopping – putting your money towards people, planet and purpose!