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Projects


The Pressing Matters Floor Lounger

Pressing Matters Floor Lounger

The Pressing Matters Floor Lounger is a furniture piece Seljak Brand created with Sarah K of supercyclers that’s made from shredding and compressing textiles waste from the mattress recycling industry. The Floor Lounger not only uses waste as a valuable resource, it’s able to be recycled at the end of its useful life. This means it's a closed loop furniture product that will never end up in landfill. 

The organisation we partnered with recycles almost 1000 used mattresses a day in New South Wales alone. While they can recapture the timber, steel and foam, they are yet to find a solution for the textiles waste, which ends up being 5kg per mattress. This waste, or shoddy, is a combination of synthetic and natural materials, which are too difficult to separate at a fibre level when recycled.

The Floor Lounger is made out of textiles waste from the mattress recycling industry

Supercyclers and Seljak Brand joined forces in 2018 to test the possibilities of using the shoddy to create a sturdy material suitable for furniture. Through a combination of felting, moulding, compression and heating/cooling, a solid form was created with no additional chemicals added to the production process.

So why a Floor Lounger? We believe that lounging around is important and is a remedy to the busy lives we lead. A world in which overworking and overproducing are the norm, placing strain on both people and the planet.

The Floor Lounger is an antidote to our complicated and busy lives

We were inspired by the sustainable lifestyles of people living in Blue Zones, which are the places in the world where people live the longest. Older folk in Okinawa, Japan – one of the Blue Zones – have few furniture items and sit on the floor, getting up and down several times a day ensuring ongoing strength.

The Floor Lounger can be used in public spaces like libraries, for wellness in places like yoga studios, or for home use in the living room. It’s an antidote to our complicated and busy lives that doesn’t cost the Earth. 

Pressing Matters Floor Lounger was one of five finalists in the 2020 Australian Furniture Design Award. While it’s currently in the prototyping phase, we’re exploring opportunities for manufacturing the Floor Lounger.

Circular Stories Volume 1: A Better T-Shirt
Circular Stories Volume 1: A Better T-Shirt

Circular Stories

Do you want a better way to make, shop and use clothing and textiles? Same! Circular Stories: A Better T-Shirt is a guide for everyone – shoppers, producers, retailers, marketers and regulators – who want to find a better alternative to fast fashion. By better, we mean a way that is kinder for people and planet. By kinder, we mean an approach that is circular by design.

A Better T-Shirt will help you to design, make, use, reuse and dispose of t-shirts in Australia. Explore the guide.

After joining forces at a workshop during lockdown in 2020, Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI), A.BCH, Kloke, Seljak Brand, Now + Future and APG & CO created a working group called Circular Stories. Together, we spent the better part of a year developing the guide, which is available as an online tool and for download.

Circular Stories brings together industry best practice and the latest research to put forward the best solutions within the Australian context for reaching circularity. Let’s all be part of the transition towards a circular textiles economy!

Key contributors include:
Julie Boulton, MSDI
Aleasha McCallion, MSDI
Courtney Holm, A.BCH
Samantha Seljak, Seljak Brand
Kirri-Mae Sampson, Now + Future
Genevieve Moody, APG & Co 
Amy Gallagher, Kloke

Playing with Fire Blanket

Australia’s Black Summer in 2019/2020 made it clear that bushfires are only going to increase in frequency and intensity with a heating climate – indeed all extreme weather events will.

As part of Melbourne Design Week 2021 and Friends & Associates’ show called A World We Don’t Want, we explored how the onus is increasingly on frontline workers, communities and individuals to survive.

After hearing myriad stories of coming face-to-face with fire, Karina borrowed a local volunteer firefighters jacket, her and Sammy’s grandmother’s refurbished Singer sewing machine and a box of donated wool blankets to experiment. 

The result is the Playing with Fire Blanket – a new kind of PPE for fire preparedness at home. A patchwork of reclaimed 100% wool blankets inspired by the fire fighter’s jacket, this wearable blanket provides a cocoon to survive radiant heat, flying embers and ash. Or does it?

The Playing with Fire Blanket uses found materials and craft to comment on responsibility and care in the face of a growing climate reality.

Read more about fire danger in Australia and the Playing with Fire Blanket design here

Citizen Wolf's t-shirt offcuts are too precious to put in the bin
Citizen Wolf's t-shirt offcuts are too precious to put in the bin

Fashion waste to blankets

Fashion waste is a growing issue in Australia. Australians throw out 23kg of textiles per person per year, and globally 50 million tonnes of clothes are thrown away each year with 80% ending up in landfill. Not only that, but businesses in the rag trade have very few options for disposing of their textile waste, which comes in the form of tonnes of offcuts and unworn clothing.

Since Seljak Brand launched, numerous businesses have approached us with their textiles waste – inspired by our closed loop recycled merino wool blanket – wanting help finding a solution for their waste. In response, in May 2017 we crowdfunded $32,000 to develop a lighter weight recycled blanket for the warmer months using the textiles waste of the Australian fashion industry. We were stoked that local t-shirt label Citizen Wolf jumped at the chance to be part of the project – the first of its kind in Australia.

"Seljak Brand is a champion of the circular economy... we couldn’t think of a better partner to recycle our majority organic cotton scraps into something equally beautiful and designed for those long hot summers that Sydney is so famous for!" - Zoltan Csaki, co-founder of Citizen Wolf. 

We partnered with Citizen Wolf because they have an appetite for innovation, are manufacturing locally in Sydney and wanted a sustainable solution for their waste. Citizen Wolf are a pioneering fashion label, making high quality t-shirts to each customer's own dimensions, designing out the waste that comes with over-ordering fabric. The cotton, linen, bamboo and merino offcuts from Citizen Wolf’s t-shirt production were high quality and silky soft. A resource too good to waste!

The mill where the testing took placeThe mill where the testing took place

 

The innovation process at a nearly 150 year old mill was slow and steady. We spent the better part of two years working to turn the production waste of Citizen Wolf into blankets. After testing their shred-ability, the offcuts ragged beautifully, making a perfect fibre-stock ready for spinning. It was the spinning phase that proved tricky, with the majority cotton fibres being too short to bind into a tight, strong yarn. 

The mill went on to conduct waste trials of their own and have been successful in turning denim waste into blankets. With so many innovators working towards a common goal, we’re optimistic that together we can turn pre- and post-consumer textiles waste from around Australia into beautiful, useful things for everyday living.

In the meantime, watch how we turn textile waste into blankets here, or watch this video of the carding testing that was part of the innovation process:

Better Threads

The Better Threads Project was an inquiry into the question, are circular models for denim possible in Australia? Our vision for circularity in denim is to utlise materials at their highest utility, diverting textiles from landfill and returning the value to producers and consumers of denim.

Understanding that the key to using waste a resource is collaboration for scalability, we set out to establish a network and a pooled body of knowledge. 

The Better Threads Roundtable was a waste-to-resource focused business gathering in Sydney on 26 September 2016, that discussed the barriers and opportunities to a circular denim business model in Australia. The event brought together 10 key stakeholders from a range of industries including denim and cotton production, logistics, retail, charity and upcycling, expert consulting, waste and recycling and academia to discuss different circular economy approaches. The body of knowledge and useful insights gained by the business roundtable was distilled into a report that was distributed to interested parties.

To see the project's findings check out the Better Threads Roundtable Report. 

Better Threads project team: Simone Awramenko, Nikki Gravning, Karina Seljak, Paula Wallace and Harriet Watts