We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenny Silbert and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenny, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’ve always had a passion for dumpster diving, and I started Rewilder when I got to dig through some really big trash and found beauty.
My background is in architecture – I have a MA from Yale, and my previous career was in technology and materials. I was teaching at Art Center, researching materials for student use, when I found a filter cloth from Miller Coors that’s thrown away at the massive scale of 2 tons every 3 days. It’s durable and beautiful. I founded Rewilder around this material, which is the opposite of everything I’d done previously: design first. We find materials first, and then design to those materials.
What should our readers know about your business?
Rewilder is a women-owned sustainable design company on a mission to find the wealth in waste. As a design lab, we save materials from the landfill and upcycle them into rad new products, giving them a second life. On an industry scale, we are working to sort and process textile waste to make recycling possible.
We all know that we have a trash problem. We make a lot of material, and most of it has nowhere to go at the end of its life. 90% of clothes donated are not actually sold. Making anything new, even sustainable materials like bamboo or organic cotton, is resource intensive and harmful for the planet. The greenest thing we can do right now is to use the materials we’ve already made, and pay people fairly for their work, which is exactly what we do at Rewilder.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Los Angeles is an amazing city. Welcome.
Monday night you’ll find me at Bardot for School Night, KCRW’s new music discovery. It’s the best live music, and new, upcoming bands.
Check out the string of galleries in Chinatown (Chung King Road) and then get vegan burgers at Burgerlords.
I love Hauser + Wirth gallery in the Arts District + a meal in the garden at Manuela.
Hike the Sam Merril trail to the old hotel and Inspiration Point in Altadena; then go to Little Flower in Pasadena for an brunch (don’t skip the caramels, they’re truly incredible).
I buy secondhand furniture at the Huntington Collection in Pasadena, and secondhand clothing at Wasteland on Melrose. IMO, the best of both.
And of course, the beach, the beach, the beach! Head to El Porto to rent a surfboard for the day and get in the waves. If you have your own board, drive North to Malibu and surf the pier. Drive a bit further to Staircase Beach and hike down the cliff to be more secluded.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We are part of the Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator (LACI) – https://laincubator.org/laci-welcomes-10-promising-cleantech-startups-for-its-fall-2021-incubation-cohort/
LACI has been instrumental in helping us frame Rewilder as a truly world-changing impact company. The community of innovative, sustainable people – from founders to mentors to support staff – is such a blessing. We are currently working on a LACI pilot program to scale upcycling and merchandise our Tee2.0! program. We will prove that it’s possible to divert materials like old t-shirts from the landfill, reintroduce them into the circular economy, and create value while doing it.
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