QUT alumni and sisters, Karina and Samantha Seljak, co-founded Seljak Brand in 2016 with a goal to find new ways of making and using beautiful things that are closed loop by design. The brand’s award-winning, recycled wool blankets that are recyclable at the end of their useful life, are proving how small business can accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Karina and Samantha share their mission to design out waste.
We’re living in a time of great complexity. Amidst climate change, a global pandemic, and an increasingly polarised world, it feels like a monumental task to move towards the more sustainable future that ensures justice for people and the planet.
We’ve been encouraged to see grassroots organisations and citizens around the world take matters into their own hands and protest the lack of action taken by society, and those holding power, on issues like racial justice and climate change.
As designers and purpose-driven business owners, last year offered time to reflect on the best possible contribution we can make.
We established Seljak Brand in 2016 to design out waste and make beautiful waste-to-resource products. Seljak Brand believes that waste is a design flaw. By nature, a carefully considered product will be without waste and re-manufacturable or regenerative by design.
Globally, 50 million tonnes of clothes are thrown away each year and 80% ends up in landfill. Textiles in landfill emit harmful methane gases into the atmosphere (25 times more harmful than carbon), accelerating global warming. Our mission is to keep textiles waste out of landfill.
Seljak Brand’s first product was the closed loop, recycled merino wool blanket. It’s made from 70% recycled merino wool and 30% recycled mohair, cashmere, cotton and polyester.
Not only is the blanket made from recycled materials, but it’s also recyclable at the end of its life. Once a customer no longer wants their blanket, we’ll collect and remanufacture it into more blankets. This process ‘closes the loop’ and exemplifies a circular economy system.
For us, it’s not only about closing the loop but making something that will last a long time in the first place. We work with heritage mills in Australia, Italy, and Lithuania, where blankets have been known to outlive their owners. We don’t want to justify mass consumption and exploitative industries like fast fashion. We want to encourage quality over quantity and create for longevity.
We also donate $5 for every blanket sold to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) in Melbourne, where asylum seekers are made to feel welcome, safe, and supported.
While we hope to design our way out of job someday – that is, when there is no more waste to work with – Seljak Brand remains active in finding ways to use waste as a resource and re-manufacturable design solutions that create fair outcomes for both people and the planet.
The great news is that many others around the world are doing the same; millions of people are finding ways to put pressure on unjust systems. And that’s what gives us hope.
More about Karina and Samantha
Co-founders of Seljak Brand, both Karina and Samantha completed double degrees at QUT. Karina has a Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Fine Arts (Fashion Design), while Samantha has a Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Journalism. Both sisters recently participated in Al Gore’s Climate Reality Training to develop Seljak Brand’s contribution to climate justice.
Find out more about Seljak Brand on the Seljak Brand's blog