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Burberry Foundation partners with Elvis & Kresse to tackle waste created by the leather goods industry

The Burberry Foundation today announces the launch of a five-year partnership with Elvis & Kresse, a sustainable luxury company creating lifestyle accessories by re-engineering waste material through innovative craftsmanship. Elvis & Kresse have received a grant from the Burberry Foundation to support their work and will also transform at least 120 tonnes of leather off cuts from the production of Burberry products into a range of accessories and homeware, designed and sold by Elvis & Kresse. Half of the profits from this range will be donated to charitable causes focused on renewable energy. The remaining half will be reinvested by Elvis & Kresse to expand their work in reducing and reusing waste, protecting the environment and inspiring craftspeople. 

It is estimated that each year, at least 800,000 tonnes of leather waste are produced by the global leather industry1. In the creation of leather goods, even when patterns are carefully planned to maximise the hide, the process inevitably creates small off cuts. These are high quality, unused, freshly tanned and dyed leather, but fall to the workshop floor as seemingly unusable pieces. Elvis & Kresse has designed a system that transforms these fragments into components, which are then hand woven into a new kind of hide that is unrestricted by size or shape. 

By demonstrating what can be achieved when leather waste is revalued, and created into entirely new products, Elvis & Kresse and the Burberry Foundation aim to affect real change in the supply chain of the leather goods industry. Where leather waste is usually destroyed, the partnership with Elvis & Kresse will disrupt the accepted approaches and reveal new solutions. 

Christopher Bailey, a trustee of The Burberry Foundation and President and Chief Creative Officer of Burberry Group, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the work of Elvis & Kresse and providing them with the leather off cuts to create truly innovative products. Leather is a precious material, yet many of the off cuts generated by the design process are seen as worthless. We believe that this can change, and we are proud to lead the way in showing how creativity and craftsmanship can play a part in solving this issue.” 

Kresse Wesling, CoFounder of Elvis & Kresse, said: “Elvis & Kresse was founded to rescue London’s fire hose. When we decided to tackle the much, much larger leather problem, we knew we would need a brave partner. We are grateful for the support of the Burberry Foundation and are truly excited to scale this solution, and magnify its impact. This is the kind of work we are made for and this is the kind of partnership that will change the future of luxury.” 

In addition to creating new leather products, the partnership will also generate apprenticeship and work experience opportunities with Elvis & Kresse and reach thousands of people through public events, competitions and workshops. 

The grant from the Burberry Foundation to Elvis & Kresse is also in line with Burberry’s new Responsibility agenda, of which a principal goal is to invent new approaches to revaluing waste over the next five years.

Media enquiries

Burberry Cecilia Coonan cecilia.coonan@burberry.com
Elvis & Kresse Kresse Wesling kresse@elvisandkresse.com

NOTES TO EDITORS 

Elvis & Kresse and Burberry 

Elvis & Kresse was launched to solve the problem of London’s decommissioned fire hose. When the hose was too damaged to repair, it was simply going to landfill. Since 2005 they have been collecting all of London’s hoses, transforming them into high quality, hand-crafted lifestyle accessories. They donate 50% of the profits from this collection to the Fire Fighters Charity. 

Elvis & Kresse have also turned their attention to tackling the waste created in the production of leather goods and will expand this work with a grant from the Burberry Foundation. Elvis & Kresse are a certified Benefit Corporation (B Corp). 

The Burberry Foundation 

The Burberry Foundation was set up in 2008 by Burberry Group plc as an independent charity (UK registered charity number 1154468) for general charitable purposes and grant-making. The Foundation Board comprises two Burberry representatives as well as an independent trustee. The Board meets four times a year and is responsible for upholding the Foundation’s vision and ensuring delivery of its charitable purpose. 

The Foundation is dedicated to using the power of creativity to drive positive change in our communities, and build a sustainable future through innovation. The Foundation is taking a long-term approach focusing its grant-making on reducing waste, promoting the STEAM agenda (integrating art into the traditional science, technology, engineering, and maths agenda), tackling educational inequality and supporting social and economic development. 

About Burberry Group’s Responsibility Agenda 

Burberry’s Responsibility agenda is designed to drive positive change and build a more sustainable future through innovation. Our new five-year programme “Creating Tomorrow’s Heritage” focuses on three ambitious goals:

  • Support 1 million people in the communities that sustain Burberry’s business and the wider luxury industry
  • Ensure 100% of Burberry’s products have at least one element that drives positive change 
  • Invent new approaches to revaluing waste created in the production of luxury goods, whilst becoming carbon neutral in its own operations.