What is Seljak Brand's closed loop summer blanket project?
We imagine a world without waste, so we started Seljak Brand to turn waste into a something beautiful and useful. We currently make recycled merino wool blankets from factory floor offcuts at the oldest wool mill in Australia. The blankets are extremely warm, lightweight and even machine washable, making them great for indoor and outdoor use.
When the blanket reaches the end of its useful life (it can last a lifetime if you treat it right, but if you really put it through the wringer), we collect them for free and send them back to the mill to be turned into new blankets – a closed loop process.
Since starting Seljak Brand we have Australian businesses coming to us with their own textile waste. Not only are they concerned with their impact on the environment, but they can see their waste products have value. For instance, after a rebrand, where does a company send thousands of their redundant uniforms?
Meanwhile, in an ever-hotter Aussie climate, our customers are calling for a lighter blanket they can use in spring and autumn. Our blankets are great for winter but our people are calling out for something they can use more often. Our challenge is to offer our customers a cooler blanket that is useful year-round AND find these Australian businesses a sustainable solution for their waste.
With textile manufacturing pretty close to being added to the list of lost arts in Australia, our work is cut out for us. We want to create a closed loop summer blanket. One that is made from textile waste that currently has no place to go but landfill. And one that can be used year-round – for picnics, camping as well as watching Netflix on the couch.
You can take Seljak Brand blankets anywhere...
Who is Seljak Brand?
Seljak Brand was founded by us – two sisters, Karina and Samantha Seljak. We hate waste and love trying something new. Inspired by the resourceful and mutually beneficial practices we saw sprouting up around us (check out our blog for some of the companies that get us excited), we poured our time into understanding closed loop methodologies.
It was a love of Australian resources that drew Karina home from her work in local food production in Brooklyn, New York. Trained in fashion design, she’d become acutely aware of the waste in the manufacturing world. She wanted to find a new way to work with resources unique to Australia. Sammy's expertise centres around social innovation, community engagement and sustainability garnered from her work at Indigenous creative agency Gilimbaa and her first venture running an art gallery at 21 years old.
Since establishing our closed loop wool blanket, we have proved that waste-to-resource blankets are not only delightful to use but a whole new opportunity for Australian textile manufacturing. Now, we just need your help to make textile waste from businesses other than the mill itself, into lighter, all-seasons blankets.
Samantha and Karina Seljak
Why should you support Seljak Brand’s closed loop summer blanket project?
There are a bunch of reasons to support us in developing a closed loop summer blanket in Australia. The project will:
- provide a waste solution for Aussie businesses
- provide a new opportunity for Aussie manufacturers
- result in less textile waste to landfill (the Australia Bureau of Statistics estimates that half a million tonnes of leather and textiles were sent to landfill in 2010 – which is a whopping 80% of total textiles generation in Australia)
- enable Seljak Brand to provide more beautiful, useful and sustainable products to our conscious customers (you!). Without you we can’t change the way we make, use and dispose things for the better!
- provide people seeking asylum in Australia a warm and cosy welcome. Seljak Brand donates one blanket to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne for every 10 blankets sold – we will also do the same with the new product.
That’s really blowing win-win out of the water!
Of course, when you’re doing something that hasn’t been done before, there is a possibility you have to change tack. IF we can’t create a new blanket from textile waste in Australia, there are opportunities to make other interesting things on our shores.
Help us in our quest! Together we can find a way.
Spools of merino wool yarn ready for weaving into blankets at the mill. The offcuts from this production process are shredded and spun into new yarn, before becoming Seljak Brand blankets.
Project partners & supporters
We believe there is strength in numbers. We are working with experts to make this happen and make things better, for you and for us! They are:
- For every 10 blankets sold, we send one to the ASRC, where asylum seekers are made to feel welcome, safe and supported. Providing job training, access to health services and legal advice, as well as food and household goods (and warm blankets!), ASRC offers the support and opportunities asylum seekers need to live independently.
- We are partnering with Australia’s first carbon neutral postal service, Sendle, to bring back used blankets for remanufacture. Sendle unlocks the power of big business delivery networks for everyone by sending parcels using the back-haul of existing postal routes.
- ING DIRECT ING recognise our efforts in our quest to make Australia’s textiles industry more sustainable. They are a key partner for the closed loop summer project and have committed to pledging $10,000 to the Seljak Brand cause. Legends!
- Corporate partners who have textiles waste that is currently going to landfill or sitting there unused and ready to be turned into a shiny new product!
- Industry experts in the manufacturing and product development world in Australia to ascertain technicalities of making a closed loop summer blanket happen.
The recycled summer blanket is the first step for Seljak Brand to add another closed loop product to our collection, to prove how impactful waste-to-resource products are. We envision an Australia that holds waste streams in high regard and turns them into useful, valuable products – we are developing our capability to help businesses make that transition. Most of all, we see a change in the way people make, use and dispose of things and we want to inspire people. It’s possible and it’s happening now. Textiles are just the start…
The Original Fringe is made from merino offcuts from the factory floor of Australia's oldest wool mill.
Also, we want to extend a hearty thanks to www.bensound.com for the music in our video!