Usually when most of us hear 'leather' we stop for a moment to consider the impact of what we're about to buy and what paddock it's been in. Leather is a contentious topic, but for The Elsewhere Co., it's simple; by using only RCS 100 Certified recycled leather, natural fabrics and artisan materials, there is no moral quandary.
Innovative circular brands who chose to use recycled leather save thousands of kilograms of waste from reaching landfill every year, and in the case of The Elsewhere Co., a single product saves up to 200grams of waste. The production process itself creates zero manufacturing material waste too.
Liz Archer designs with her values and a core focus on sustainability, and while she has always remained true to those values, the pandemic left her wanting a fresh 'do for her circular accessories brand...
What inspired your relaunch?
Our Reimagine 2021 collection was inspired by the philosophy of making the most of what we already have and creating sustainable, multi-functional accessories that enable you to do more with less. My vision for the label is to reimagine waste into circular designed fashion accessories with purpose. So, not only do our recycled leather wallets keep waste out of landfill but our versatile designs help women stay organised, find their freedom and feel empowered to create their own style by repurposing, restyling and wearing their accessories their way.
Our amazing customers also provided feedback that they’d love to be able to wear their wallet like a handbag! This little gem of insight formed the inspiration behind our capsule collection of chains and charms that allow you to wear your wallet or passport cover hands-free. Simply choose your wallet, customise it with a chain strap, personalise it with charms, and wear it your way.
Can you share more about your new brand pillars and why they matter to you?
It was important to me to create a brand with purpose. As a designer, it’s my responsibility to create products that are not only respectful of the planet but that are also actively part of the solution to critical environmental issues such as waste and biodiversity decline by contributing to landscape regeneration projects and repurposing, reimagining and recreating waste. I believe in designing products that have a genuine purpose in the world and can be used again and again. Our brand pillars resonate these values and help ensure we’re making a positive impact both in the short and long term.
1. We believe in channelling the power of creativity to RECYCLE + REIMAGINE what’s already in circulation instead of taking more precious resources from our planet. By choosing to use RCS-100 certified recycled leather we are tackling textile waste by diverting it from landfill and reimagining it into circular fashion accessories. We’ve already saved 148kg of leather from reaching landfill.
2. The most sustainable items are those we already own and when we do buy something new it’s essential the item fulfils a purpose and is long lasting. We don’t make bags for the sake of fashion. We design incredibly useful, runway-worthy accessories made from waste material – staple pieces you can REPURPOSE + RESTYLE countless ways to elevate your look and extend your existing wardrobe.
3. The earth’s resources aren’t infinite which is why we’re committed to making the future of fashion green by REGENERATING + RESTORING landscapes and biodiversity through our partnership with Greening Australia. $1 from every sale is donated to Greening Australia’s revegetation work across Australian landscapes.
Why is recycled leather a better alternative to virgin leather?
There are so many reasons! Recycled leather closes the loop by making use of a waste material that’s already in circulation instead of taking more virgin resources from the planet. Incorporating recycled materials means using what is already available – no forests have been cut down for farming, no pesticides used and the impact on biodiversity is minimal.
The extensive farming of livestock required in traditional leather production can cause severe environmental impacts such as deforestation, land-overuse and carbon emissions. Traditional leather tanning processes often involve the use of toxic chemicals which in many instances flow directly into waterways in countries with poor regulations and can be potentially harmful to people working in the tanning facilities. Traditional leather production also uses a lot of water and energy.
RCS-100 certified recycled leather is a natural product (no nasties) made from fully traceable genuine leather scraps rescued from a factory floor that would otherwise end up in landfill. The scraps are shredded, combined with natural rubber and water before being reformed into new sheets of recycled leather. The production process itself creates zero manufacturing material waste and uses significantly less water than conventional leather production processes. Overall, it’s a great alternative to virgin leather as it has a low environmental impact yet retains the beautiful look and feel of traditional leather.
What's your favourite piece in the range and why?
I’d have to say our signature recycled leather wallet (in paradise pink!) as the wallet is the result of a design and development process that took almost 2 years. It’s a completely original design you won’t find anywhere else. It’s incredibly versatile with space for your phone, cards, cash and lippy plus there’s even a safe place to store your jewellery. It can also be customised with our chain + charm collection so you can convert it to a handbag! Each wallet saves approximately 200 grams of waste from reaching landfill, which I’m really proud of.
Join the circular fashion economy and shop The Elsewhere Co.'s latest range here.
The Fashion Advocate x