Art + Fashion = ISSI's Recycled Handbags

lothar gotz photo

Image from issiworld: Lothar Gotz

Handbags made out of old recycled fire hoses are nothing new at TreeHugger. We have admired Elvis and Kresse's bags for a year now. And the fact that half of their profits go to the Fire Fighters Charity makes them even nicer.

But now they have joined up to launch a new art-eco fashion brand, ISSI and introduced a collection of handbags and accessories designed by artists who have embraced the challenge of creating great accessories from recycled fire hoses and other waste.

nancy sinatra photo

Images from issiworld: Olivier Millagou

ISSI has collaborated with an international group of artists to create the new pieces. Who could resist this one, the Nancy, by Olivier Millagou, with "Girl on Fire" across the front of the red fire hose, and lined with old orange parachute silk. It's named after Nancy ( "These boots are made for walking") SInatra.

bowling bag photo

Lothar Gotz
Lothar Götz, a German artist working in London England, created the sweet yellow clutch bag from fire hose and reclaimed leather. His bowling bag is made from decommissioned red, yellow and very rare blue fire-hose. The bag is lined with reclaimed dark blue material and has an inside pocket with gold-yellow material.

paul morrison photo

Paul Morrison

Other artists involved in the project are Paul Morrison and Simon Periton. The bags are being launched in a unique and very arty way, in keeping with ISSI's hip theme. First seen in a small show at Sotheby's auction house, and at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and now sold only at Selfridge's department store in London, they are combining exclusivity and art. The accessories, such as wallets, start at £90 and the bags cost £220 and up which is not that bad, considering the workmanship that goes into them and the fact that half of the profits go to charity. Comparable "It" bags by big designers are well into the £900 range and people snap them up.

coffee carrier photo

The partnership with Elvis & Kresse means that the provenance and style of the bags is impeccable. Elvis & Kresse have also teamed up with Sainsbury's supermarket to turn waste coffee bags into smart shopping bags. Most coffee comes to the UK in 60-kilo jute sacks; they collect the bags from a number of coffee stores and vendors, produce and sell them here. And the material is completely natural and bio-degradable. They also donate 10 pence from each bag to coffee grower programmes where the coffee is grown.

So shoppers make a little donation to a good cause, not to mention getting a designer bag at bargain prices.

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