Elvis & Kresse create high quality fashion accessories from rescued waste materials, operating with the highest social and environmental standards. This project documents and supports the company’s climate ambition to become Net Regenerative by 2030, diversifying their products through regenerative agriculture and regenerative fashion practices within a rural ecosystem.
Beyond Net Zero Goals
Regenerative fashion design for micro-circular rural ecosystems. A design exchange partnership that supports the B-Corp certified social enterprise Elvis & Kresse in its ambition to become Net Regenerative by 2030.
Future Observatory, a national programme coordinated by the Design Museum in partnership with Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), is bringing together researchers, designers and industry representatives to show how design can drive Britain’s future prosperity.
Following the programme's mission to harness design research to accelerate solutions for the most pressing societal issues, AHRC and the Design Museum have awarded funding to 15 projects across the UK to be developed as Design Exchange Partnerships between academia and business partners.
Building on successful collaborations during two recent projects Fostering Sustainable Practices (AHRC, 2018 – 2021) and Mapping Sustainable Fashion Opportunities for SMEs (EC COSME, 2019), this project develops a design-led research and development partnership between UAL's Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) and the B-Corp certified social enterprise Elvis & Kresse (luxury accessories from rescued materials).
The project embeds a new concept, fashion making in a dynamics of place, creating and piloting innovative possibilities for regenerative fashion practice within rural ecosystems. The project aims to catalyse Elvis & Kresse’s current transition from the company’s commitment to net zero by 2030 to a more ambitious goal: being net regenerative by 2030. In a business context, this requires a values-based philosophy of work and life that moves beyond reducing harm, to long-term positive impact on local environmental and social ecosystems.
Drawing on the complementary skillsets of the project partnership, including design and making; embedded ethnographic research; micro and macro strategies for fashion design and sustainability; fashion design entrepreneurship, and fashion, innovation and technology, the 3 objectives are:
Create a strategy for contextualising and communicating Elvis & Kresse’s net regenerative commitment.
Engage storytelling and systemic (fashion) design tools and methodologies to convey how regenerating the degraded pasture at New Barns Farm (Elvis & Kresse’s newly headquarters in Kent) connects with the company’s ethos of re-valuing discarded materials to create high-value fashion products embedding world-class environmental and social benefits.
Catalyse skill and resource-sharing partnerships with like-minded local (and regional) communities.
Such as developers of regional regenerative fibre systems, organic & regenerative farms, fashion/textiles micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), enabling new connections for a regenerative rural ecosystem.
Design a series of experimental material and product prototypes.
Aid engaging storytelling on pioneering innovations connecting regenerative agriculture and regenerative fashion (within the project)
Be developed into market-ready products (following the project).
As there are currently no other fashion MSMEs in the UK that own and operate regenerative farms, the project offers considerable potential for innovation beyond the net zero agenda. By disseminating and amplifying the story of Elvis & Kresse’s regenerative commitment, convening local networks, developing product prototypes, and sharing techniques and materials within local agricultural and fashion communities, the project pilots multiple micro-models of regenerative fashion practice adaptable to different scales and contexts across other UK regions.
Professor Sandy Black, Professor of Fashion and Textile Design and Technology at Centre for Sustainable Fashion
Dr. Mila Burcikova, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Centre for Sustainable Fashion.