Killer app: Elvis & Kresse turns consumables into accessories

Richard Stuart-Turner
Monday, November 10, 2014

At first glance it would be easy to think that lifestyle accessories producer Elvis & Kresse’s new £250 luxury briefcases are made from leather or moleskin.

But in fact they have been produced using the compressible layer of reclaimed Trelleborg printing blankets from BFS Pressroom Solutions’ customers and decommissioned fire-hoses from the London Fire Brigade.

What did the job entail?

As part of its blanket take-back scheme, Reading-based consumables supplier BFS collects the used blankets from Polestar Wheatons and Integrity Print and then delivers them to Kent-based Elvis & Kresse. Alongside the two core materials, reclaimed military-grade parachute silk is used to make the briefcase lining while the packaging and labels are also made from reclaimed materials.

How was it produced?

Elvis & Kresse first processes the materials to make them ready for production and then uses heavy-duty sewing machines, skiving machines, splitting machines and clicker presses to produce the briefcases. “All of our techniques are from the very top end and are also used in the leather industry,” said the firm’s co-founder and director James Henrit.

What challenges were overcome?

Nearly three years of research and development went into determining how the blankets could be used to make a viable product. The first prototype had the canvas side of the blanket on the outside of the briefcase. After discovering this would have got dirty too easily, Elvis & Kresse used an industrial machine to strip the blanket apart so it could use the compressible middle layer to produce the outside of the product. A learning process also comes with the material according to Henrit: “Most people haven’t come across a printing blanket before. It feels very luxurious but people don’t know what the material is or what it was in its former life.”

What was the feedback? 

“We’ve sold a few already and they’ve had great feedback and lots of positive reaction,” said Henrit, who revealed that Elvis & Kresse is now planning to extend the briefcase into a wider range including matching wallets, messenger bags and wash bags. BFS director Nicky Hope added: “The finished bag is beautiful and the attention to detail is stunning. Now it’s in full production we’re hoping to get more of our customers involved in our blanket take-back scheme.”

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