Theme: Sustainable Design

Old billboards, tents and advertising banners, as well as offcuts and the B-grade material of yacht sails, canvas and ripstop (reinforced nylon that is resistant to tearing and ripping) are upcycled by the team at Sealand Gear into one-of-a-kind hand-crafted bags designed to last a lifetime. By partnering with mills and manufacturers of these durable materials, this sustainably focused design, manufacture and retail brand diverts waste materials from landfill sites in its purpose to protect the natural environment. Last year the conscious company – that also has an apparel range – won prestigious awards for its efforts: The Design Foundation Maker to Market Award, and Twyg’s Sustainable Accessory Award, which recognised Sealand for its ethical labour practices and use of sustainable materials to create a quality item that considers end-of-life. It also won a Gold Assegai Award for an email campaign – The Sustainable Invite – launching its first experience store. “Our products are for function-driven style-seekers who don’t compromise on environmental impact,” says Jasper Eales, who, together with Mike Schlebach, founded Sealand Gear in 2015. As avid surfers, the two hold a deep respect and passion for nature, and have developed their brand into one that is an extension of their eco-centred lifestyles, building a community of like-minded individuals along the way, as indicated by their 14.2K following on Instagram. Sealand’s sustainable efforts stretch as far as its people, keeping its team of makers proud of their work and maintaining a high standard of quality. Every person who makes a bag inserts their name on the inside, reminding the buyer that their item is the unique result of a process that employs people who utilise their hands and skills to produce it. “We’re authentic and transparent about how we manufacture our products,” says Eales, who views Sealand as playing a role in shifting mindsets toward being more sustainable. “Sealand inspires, educates and empowers people to live more consciously,” he says. The company’s regularly updated blog bares testament to this endeavor and the presence of its products in international stores, such as Selfridges, proves its message has gone far. Although available for online purchase, it’s at the Sealand Experience Store in the recently restored Dock Road Junction building at the V&A Waterfront that one really gets a feel for this lifestyle brand. Amid the perfectly designed totes, backpacks, duffel bags and accessories exists an exciting sense of adventure. It calls for more people to jump on-board and be environmentally responsible. 

100 Beautiful Things is presented by the V&A Waterfront in celebration of South Africa’s creativity, compassion, ingenuity and resilience. Every week we will be showcasing five amazingly beautiful creative things that make us proud. It is curated in partnership with Platform Creative.