WASTE TIME: In a bid to tackle the problem of leather waste, the Burberry Foundation has inked a five-year partnership with the London-based accessories brand Elvis & Kresse that will see at least 120 tons of leather offcuts from Burberry factories made into new products, WWD has learned.
The accessories and homeware will be designed and sold by Elvis & Kresse, which built its business out of making luxury products out of waste materials. Half of the profits from this range will be donated to charitable causes focused on renewable energy, while the other half will be reinvested by Elvis & Kresse to expand its work in reducing and reusing waste and inspiring craftspeople.
The partnership will generate apprenticeship and work experience opportunities with Elvis & Kresse and aim to reach thousands through public events, competitions and workshops.
“Leather is a precious material, yet many of the offcuts generated by the design process are seen as worthless,” said Christopher Bailey, a trustee of the Burberry Foundation and president and chief creative officer of Burberry. He said the company will lead the way in showing “how creativity and craftsmanship can play a part in solving this issue.”
Elvis & Kresse was founded with the aim of rescuing London’s used fire hoses, which the company makes into bags and accessories.
“When we decided to tackle the much, much larger leather problem, we knew we would need a brave partner,” said Kresse Wesling, cofounder of Elvis & Kresse. “This is the kind of work we are made for, and this is the kind of partnership that will change the future of luxury.”
According to a U.N. report, at least 800,000 tons of leather waste are produced by the global leather industry. Burberry said even when patterns are carefully planned to maximize the hide, the process inevitably creates small offcuts.
“These are high-quality, unused, freshly tanned and dyed leathers, but they fall to the workshop floor as seemingly unusable pieces,” and are later destroyed. Burberry said Elvis & Kresse is able to transform the fragments into components, which are then handwoven into a new kind of hide.
The grant from the Burberry Foundation to Elvis & Kresse is in line with Burberry’s new Responsibility agenda, of which a principal goal is to invent approaches to revaluing waste over the next five years, the company said.
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