Jasper Eales grew up in the picturesque Cape Town enclave of Llandudno–a third-generation Llandudnian, in fact–Jasper Eales’s career was (unsurprisingly) destined to be interwoven with the sea. As a child, he dreamt of being a creator and “inventing cool things”–well, that or a pro surfer. His parents, creatives themselves, fostered and encouraged his passions. Eales completed a degree in industrial design and launched his own product design company.
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In 2015, he teamed up with fellow surfer and ocean lover Mike Schlebach to launch Sealand Gear. Driven by sustainability, environmental awareness and a love of the great outdoors, the brand’s urban adventure gear is handmade from upcycled yacht sails, Bedouin stretch tents, advertising banners, recycled plastic bottles and other durable materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill and take years, if not centuries, to biodegrade.
Sealand has flourished in the eight years since its launch, with steady growth around the world and a flagship store that opened in Cape Town. Jasper and the team are working on making the planet better for everyone.
The man of many talents chatted with Men’s Health about everything from giving back to the environment, sustainability and plans he has for the Sealand brand.
Men’s Health: Tell us more about Sealand.
Jasper Eales: We are a purpose lead lifestyle brand, that places people and the planet in the driving seat furthermore we view waste through a unique lens, where we see value rather than trash. We began our journey in 2015 and have worked with some of the most prestigious retail stores around the world, we produce carbon-neutral bags and are members of 1% For The Planet.
Why is it vital for you and the team to give back to the environment?
Jasper Eales: The environment offers us natural playgrounds where we find inspiration on a daily basis. The environment has been taken advantage of by the human population. In addition, it is everyone’s responsibility to do their best to protect, restore and share knowledge on how this can be done. This is why Sealand does what it does. Our newly defined mission statement is, ‘TOGETHER WE MAKE OUR PLANET BETTER’.
Why is it essential that your products are handmade?
Jasper Eales: For various reasons. It encourages skills development and employment. It enables unique design creations and with upcycling, allows for the characteristics of the used material to be highlighted, through human selection, removing the rejected parts and focusing on the perfect imperfections.
How important is sustainability for Sealand and how are you and the team contributing to making the planet better for the future generation?
Sustainability is the centre of our brand, it is what we build our business off, and it forms part of almost all our foundational values. In addition at Sealand, we create new value from waste that would otherwise be polluting our oceans or lands. We do this in an authentic and transparent way, with the hope to educate people along the way. Although we have done this by building an aspirational brand that people want to be a part of and listen to, we then talk with a responsible voice, in a non-academic voice, making it digestible for most.
In a recent Sealand Instagram post, you guys mentioned “We can’t wait for the adventures to begin and adventures that are so much a part of our everyday life here at Sealand” what does that entail for a Men’s Health reader who is interested in being part of Sealand’s journey?
We are a lifestyle brand, where every day is an adventure. It is our objective to engage, enjoy and appreciate these spaces. I believe that adventure is not limited to the ocean and mountains, life in itself is an adventure. All the decisions made curate your daily adventures. It can be up the mountain, the route you take to work, the way to achieve your goals, to the waves ridden in the ocean. Lifer is an adventure.
What are Sealand’s plans for the year 2023?
We will continue our adventure as the Sealand brand develops. The intention is to open our first Johannesburg-based retail store. We also want to build on our new apparel offering known as ‘Best Basics’. Continue the moment of ‘Protect Our Paths’ keeping our mountains clean. We want to continue to create high-quality gear, with the intention to upcycle more than 35 tons of waste. Internally focus on further skills development within our team, and very importantly keeping the smiles big.
What can we look forward to when it comes to your product offerings?
We will be rolling out the Econyl regenerative nylon material into our full range of bags and accessories. In April we will be announcing an exciting international product partnership. This is for our cycling community, we have been developing a really nice bar bag. This will introduce some new hardware technologies to our offering for the first time.
Our apparel collection, known as Best Basics, will expand with a winter collection dropping in April/May. And then the other things I cannot tell you about for the time being…