Sam & Karina Seljak
We are two sisters who imagine a world without waste. We're finding new ways of making and using beautiful things that are regenerative by design.
Seljak Brand launched in March 2016 and has since worked towards accelerating the transition towards a more circular economy. We work with Australia’s oldest mill in Tasmania and a 92-year-old weaving mill in Lithuania to weave recycled wool blankets that are closed loop.
The blankets are made from a minimum of 70% recycled merino or lambswool and a 30% blend of other fibres (mohair, cotton and alpaca) and poly for strength. Wool is a natural fibre that is incredibly hard to replicate – it’s a renewable resource, it is odour and stain resistant, antibacterial, lightweight, breathable and insulating.
After a blanket has enjoyed a long, adventurous life we’ll collect it free of charge using a carbon neutral courier service. Back at the mill, we’ll shred it and spin it into new yarn to make future blankets. This circular model allows us to divert waste from landfill and create luxurious and useful blankets.
Check out how the blankets are made.
- We've diverted 4,039kg of textiles waste from landfill
- We’ve donated 284 blankets and $6370 in cash directly to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne
- Numerous Australians have been exposed to closed loop business practices thanks to the press we've received
- We've crowdfunded $32,000 to help fund the research and development of using other businesses' textile waste to make more blankets – you can check out our progress with local Sydney label Citizen Wolf’s offcuts here.
- We’ve been awarded $30,000 in funding from Macquarie Group to continue development of textiles waste to resource products.
- We were awarded The Design Files' Sustainability Design Award in 2019.
For every ten blankets sold, Seljak Brand donates one to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) in Melbourne 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. Our grandparents were refugees from Slovenia and we want to support asylum seekers making a new home in Australia.
As close friends we knew we’d collaborate. 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. Sam's expertise was grounded in social entrepreneurship and sustainability having started multiple community-driven initiatives in Brisbane (No Lights No Lycra Brisbane and The Box art gallery) and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia for several years.
Inspired by the resourceful and mutually beneficial practices we saw sprouting up all around us, we poured our time into understanding the circular economy and closed loop methodologies. Ultimately, we wanted to test the new paradigm ourselves, where things are built to last and be renewed.
Our respect for Australian wool led us to the oldest weaving mill in Australia, which retains all of its production offcuts for future use. Using these offcuts to make blankets, we incorporated a closed loop system that uses the blankets for re-manufacture at the end of their life. And Seljak Brand was born...