Intrepid best friends Lisa Siedlecki and Jennifer Silbert were heavily immersed in the fashion and architecture world, when they decided to give it all up to follow their passion of caring for the planet by way of making handmade artisan goods. Applying their extensive knowledge of design and materials they sought to make a utilitarian piece that would also be durable and distinct. They've since saved 1500 pounds of materials that otherwise would have gone to landfills, and created a pretty stylish accessory too! These ladies are not only thoughtful in design and purpose but also are an example of how you can take your dream and make it a reality. Learn more about these buds love for messy hair, professional duckling crossings, and working in a tiny space.
MOST KNOWN FOR:
Founding Rewilder, an eco-fashion brand transforming salvaged beer filter cloth and repurposed materials into high design objects. Our brand revolves around salvage material and thoughtful process, making product that balances elegance with environmental integrity.
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE? BREW METHOD?
Lisa: Lately I have been using an Aero Press, but I switch monthly between pour-over and French press so I don’t get stuck in a routine. I really miss my Shreebs – Cold Brew Horchata – and am excited to be close to the new pop up for my fix!
Jen: I drink tea, usually green or chamomile tea with fresh cut ginger.
NAME SOMETHING YOU LOVE AND WHY.
We love repurposing materials. It’s incredibly rewarding to take something that was trash and turn it into something useful, beautiful, with a positive impact on the environment and society. All of our materials took months of research, development and creative problem solving to figure out how to use them. We are constantly delighted by the transformation of this material into a collection of bags and accessories that will last a lifetime in your closet, rather than the landfill.
We love solving problems. Every obstacle is an opportunity to be strong and resourceful, and when we find creative solutions we are known to jump around the studio and celebrate. Usually this follows many failed tests. Over the past year, we developed a new technique for graphics and painting that you will see in our fall collection of bags.
Jenny: I love messy hair from swimming in the ocean. I love this because (1) it means I was swimming in the ocean, which I always find invigorating, peaceful, powerful, and (2) it curls my hair into big, perfectly messy curls that feel great around my face.
Lisa: I’m a massive animal lover. I love how they live life through observation and instinct. I’ve been known to stop traffic to pick up a stray —dog, crow, bunny, or let a mama duck take her ducklings across a busy street in the Marina.
WHAT IS KEY TO YOUR PROCESS?
Salvaged material is key to our design development process and drives many of the design details and utilitarian shapes that you find in Rewilder bags. We love the patina and history of our materials— be it color from filtering beer, or softness from repeated use. We look for materials that are difficult to recycle, but have value and beauty at the end of their first life, and can be transformed from post industry to high design with creativity, ingenuity, and innovative thinking.
Our individual backgrounds in Handbag Design (Lisa) and Architecture (Jenny) are paramount to our modern minimal design aesthetic. Working with salvage materials is not easy, and our various experience in architecture, material development, detailing, and high design allows us to transform these materials through a complex process of research, testing, prototyping, and problem solving until we reach the perfect balance of construction and design. We are extremely respectful of each other’s strengths and talents, and constantly rely on one another (see question 2).
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?
Rewilder is our dream project! We have a unique relationship as best friends and business partners, both quitting corporate industry jobs to work towards environmental change at something we believe is the future of design and production. It is a great privilege to be able to work together every day.
When we dream of our future, we want to sustain and grow Rewilder so that our production has a significant impact on landfill reduction, and people begin to look at salvage materials with new potential. We want to have a storefront and workshop combination where people can see the process and finished product together, combining high design with education and outreach.
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE?
Right now we have a tiny space in Hollywood – a janitor’s closet transformed into a working design space, adjacent to a hip-hop studio, bounty hunter, church and screen printer. We dream of a large open warehouse / workshop space, walking distance to pour over coffee, adjacent to other local LA makers in a creative, collaborative community. Our lease is up in February…
ON YOUR DEATHBED, LAST MEAL IN LA?
Jenny: Chef Kevin Meehan puts together an amazing supper club – Kali Dining – that is outrageously fun and constantly changing. I’ll take whatever seasonal, local vegetable dishes he wants to make.
Lisa: I would go for an amazing fresh pasta dish (I can’t have gluten and miss fresh pasta so much); pecorino and pear ravioli is my absolute favorite; end the meal with warm apple pie a la mode and I’m going out happy
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOUR WORK?