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Posts Tagged "creative process"

the (nearly-lost) ancient art of vegetable-tanned leather

Posted by Crystalyn Brennan on

In May 2018, I spent nearly a month in Tuscany, immersed in a region renown for olive oil, wine, truffles and leather. Inspired by a culture so connected to the land in a mindful way, I relished this rare opportunity to explore an ancient tradition working with vegetable-tanned leather.

I am a material driven-designer, with longevity and timelessness being paramount to my aesthetic: any object of value has to tell a story.  Working with this pliable material in its natural state enabled me to combine my skills in textiles and woodworking in the most exhilarating way.⁣

Here's a peek behind the scenes of creating the collection.

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How upcycling vintage fabrics help us defy creative limits

Posted by Caroline Charvet on

Selecting fabrics for a new handbag collection 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.
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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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a surprising way we make leather handbags more ethical

Posted by Crystalyn Brennan on

The guiding light of Crystalyn Kae Accessories is to create useful designs with luxurious materials that will stand the test of time.  

In the spirit of my first collection of bags beginning 17 years ago, that were made from vintage plaid wool pants, this Fall I have added rescued leather to my collection.  I see this as the next step in reducing waste and taking advantage of rare high-grade Italian leather in a responsible manner.

In New York City, the heart of American fashion manufacturing, I have access to a plentiful supply of exceptionally rare swatches, mill-end rolls, and even production leftovers from major designers and manufacturers. I have had the pleasure to collaborate with a local non-profit, Fab Scrap, to obtain my leather (and textiles) for my current collection.  

Watch a video of Crystalyn creating a pleated clutch from 100% reclaimed leather scrap here. . .and read the backstory of how it all began.


What do you think about using reclaimed leather in our collection? What other materials would you like to see us design with?

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debunking leather myths and eating my way through italy

Posted by Crystalyn Brennan on

 I was recently invited to participate in first-person full-sensory experience to the cultural context of vegetable-tanned leather in its birthplace in a tiny village in Tuscany called San Miniato. 

As an artisan, this invitation is obviously a bucket-list opportunity and a welcome catalyst to experiment - to stretch myself in ways I don’t usually have opportunity or resources to try.

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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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