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How upcycling vintage fabrics help us defy creative limits

Posted by Caroline Charvet on

Very often, Crystalyn has already an inspiration in mind months before her next collection. Before taking the time to get concretely into the creation process she starts collecting pictures she likes, drawings of people or landscapes and pin it all on her big cork board. Her mood board stands just behind her desk, so that she can add or remove things all the way down her design process.

Then picking fabrics is like a treasure hunt. Crystalyn regularly shops flea markets, antique shops and her favorite local source for sample fabrics: Fabscrap to select pieces of fabrics. Either she finds textiles that get on well with what she already has in mind for the next collection, or what she discovers gives her even more ideas for a future collection.

‘Regardless of the collection I am working on, I sometimes just want a textile really badly and save it for later because I feel like I made such good find and then I know it will be available when I need it’, Crystalyn confesses. 

Our 2018 winter collection is a perfect example: our mood board was full of vintage pictures, 70’s looks, warm colors, opulent textures and rythmic patterns. How we gathered all the fabrics would be a long story but the Basketweave Velvet might be the most striking. One year ago, a Woody Allen movie was shot in our former studio building. They ended up selling the set furniture and amongst the props for sale was that incredible textile, lying on a bed as a blanket. Crystalyn pictured it on the Troubadour, then on the Cha Cha, then... the fabric was hers that very minute. This ensemble of fabrics would define the essence of the collection. The rest of the creative process would be to curate sublime combinations of colors and texture.

'The past is an endless source of creativity. Using extraordinary materials inspires me to concoct unexpected combinations. And modernizing vintage prints is a daily challenge I love to take on!', Crystalyn confirms.

Just as for upcycled leather bags, every step of the creation process aims at leading to a low impact end product. And as we believe there is nothing less polluting than upcycling (instead of producing new material) we push creativity even further to use as much upcycled vintage fabrics as we can. We are very proud to have included upcycled fabrics as the lining in every ChaCha and Bossa Nova Crossbodies. We bet no one could guess but, lining and accent fabrics alltogether, upcycled fabric represent 20% of our production in 2018. 

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What is glazed fabric?

Posted by Crystalyn Brennan on

Our glazed fabric is superior to any vinyl or faux leather you've ever seen.  In fact our glazed fabric is actually preferable to leather as it far more durable, lightweight, scratch-proof and rain-proof. We start with a woven Cotton/polyester canvas as a base, and then add a very thin durable coating of colored glaze. This glaze sinks into the fibers and allows it to develop a leather-like patina over time.
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Why do we use up-cycled leather ?

Posted by Caroline Charvet on

Leather is a very long-lasting material, it can last thousands of years. So, why should we produce new when we can up-cycle? 
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Come see 7 sustainable brands at The Shops at Columbus Circle

Posted by Caroline Charvet on

Pratt Institute and the The Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator (BF+DA) have partnered with 360 Wellness and The Shops at Columbus Circle for “Wear the Future Here – Conscious Fashion for a Better Life.”

Pratt/BF+DA has curated a showcase on the 2nd floor of The Shops at Columbus Circle to tell the stories of 7 apparel brands at the BF+DA, which we are proud to be part of. Each designer has a different story and business model that promotes sustainability and ethical practices in the apparel industry. It’s part of 360 Wellness, a series of free events devoted to helping you look and feel better. It is also a unique opportunity for us to come out of our workshops and transparently discuss about our business model. We would love to share how we started and how we have evolved along the way. If you have questions we would be really happy to answer them!

On Friday, September 21st from 5pm, on Thursday, September 27th from 6 to 8pm and on Friday, September 28th from 5 to 7pm, join us and the participating other brands for a meet and greet at the exhibit.

We are happy to exhibit along side these talented conscious designers:


Fair Harbor


Make It Black

Spratters & Jayne

Study NY

Querencia Studio

Want to make a difference when you shop? Show us your support!

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6 must-see designers showing during New York Market Week!

Posted by Crystalyn Brennan on

While visiting one of my stores in Seattle recently, the shopowner mentioned that it's hard to navigate New York's wholesale market week, because there isn't a map of their favorite brands in one place.  So we took it upon ourselves to help do exactly that!

Here's a peek at our favorite independent fashion designers showing this week in New York:

Co-Laboratory: Sept 8-17






Designers & Agents: Sept 13 -15 




The Turf In Support of: Sept 13-17




FITDE Collective Showroom: Sept 13-17

Veronica & Harold  


Crystalyn Kae (yours truly!)

crystalyn kae

Minan Wong

minan wong


So without further ado: here's a map with our showroom location AND a shout-out to a few other designers who are also exhibiting this week. Creative minds that continue to inspire and delight us season after season!  (See the shuttle schedule & times that connect us all together!) 

map of new york fashion designers 

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Behind the Scenes

About Crystalyn Kae

Crystalyn Kae Brennan Crystalyn is a handbag designer in Brooklyn, NY. Her sustainable luxury handbags are made in USA with ethically-sourced leather and unique vintage fabrics. Read more »

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