The Seljak Blanket
By Sam Seljak and Karina Seljak
The Seljak Blanket - Beauty comes in so many forms. There’s the physical beauty in clean design; a rustic, untamed beauty in a place like the Australian landscape; and beauty in the act of cross-cultural pollination, of taking the best elements of different nations and blending them into one. This cozy combination is the core essence of Seljak’s blankets.
Sam and sister Karina Seljak are the sister team behind forward-thinking Australian textile brand Seljak. Seljak creates durable, but snuggly, eco-friendly blankets using Merino wool offcuts collected from the factory floor of Australia’s oldest mill located in Tasmania. The duo’s combined wealth of experience in the global fashion industry and small business world, as well as their passion for innovative sustainability solutions and eye for great design, have propelled the label from a bedroom project between two sisters to one of the most exciting ethical businesses in Australia.Read the designers story See products
Recycled wool blankets
Inspired by, and for all seasons
Wool is an oft-overlooked material, but a resource with near-magical properties. It’s biodegradable, renewable, antibacterial, water resistant and fire retardant. Seljak blankets consist of 70% recycled Australia Merino wool, the 30% cines from offcuts collected from the factory floor, typically alpaca and mohair, plus a little polyester for strength. The duo explains the blanket's multipurpose durability inspired the design of the current range, “because our wool blankets are hearty enough to use outdoors, we wanted to reflect the outdoors in the products themselves. So we looked to the Australian landscape and articulated some of our favourite colours - of the ocean, desert, forests - into tones for our Seljak Colour range.” But if you want something truly unique, the “Seljak Original is purposefully left undyed to express the multitudes of production runs that have come before it.”
Environmental impact is at the forefront of Seljak sisters’ motivations, but they're aware of other ethical implications of the textile industry. “We don’t want to contribute to the demand for animal products directly” they ensure. “We feel lucky to use the waste from luxury merino blanket production to create our products. If this resource runs out, we will move on to another fibre type that there is an abundance of.”
Manufacturing luxury without guilt
The pair share that the offcuts sourced to make the Seljak blanket are typically taken from luxury blanket production and are “too good to waste, so they become the basis of our recycled yarn” It means that the difference between Seljak and the most high-end locally made luxury Merino wool products are practically non-existent.
“Blankets made in the mill that we manufacture from have been known to outlive their owners.” The Seljak sisters claim. Their blankets are inspired by being brought up in a household of resourcefulness and minimalism. “Our mother instilled in us a curiosity for where things were made and how, and also a quality-not-quantity mentality,” for this reason, “longevity is super important to us, as it’s the key to sustainability.”
End of the road
The Seljak ethos is that it’s all well and good to produce an item through ethical methods, but if it contributes to landfill in the long run, it's not good enough. A solution? “We have used circular economy and closed loop methodologies to design our product.” They explain. Closed loop methodologies mean that the waste produced by an unwanted blanked at the end of its lifespan gets reused, bypassing the waste cycle entirely. The pair put it in practical terms; “Customers can let us know when they no longer want their blanket. We will pick it up, free of charge, using a carbon neutral courier service and bring it back to the mill for remanufacturing into more blankets. This is closing the loop and means no product of ours will end up in a landfill."
Why we love Seljak
Beyond the blanket's durable, renewable, antibacterial, water resistant and fire retardant qualities, it’s soft and snuggly. It’s as much the perfect accompaniment to an evening on the sofa as it is the ideal outdoor rug for a weekend camping adventure. Its rustic, handmade feel and longevity mean a Seljak is not a seasonal item, but a multi-purpose, everyday staple. For every 10 blankets sold, Seljak will donate one to Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne, so it’s a small investment you can feel good about.
Photo: Where_the_red_desert_meets_the_blue_ocean - Marc Vilaregut