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Posts Tagged "creative process"


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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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

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.
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debunking leather myths and eating my way through italy

Posted by Crystalyn Brennan on

All too often claims are thrown around when condemning the use of leather:

"Leather is a byproduct of the meat industry

“Cows are killed for leather”

leather tanning is toxic for the enviroment

"vegan leather is more eco-friendly than leather"

Being a materials-driven designer, I grapple with the balance of creating with beautiful yet durable materials in a sustainable factor.   I have been quite outspoken on this issue, as I don’t think it’s a completely black and white answer when it comes to whether a material is eco-friendly.  

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Our Spring 18 Look Book featuring Meg Shop!

Posted by Crystalyn Brennan on

Today, Franny is helping me today in the studio, for a Spring photoshoot with one of my dream stores: Meg shops! I couldn't be more pumped to work with this indie label . . .and I recently found out that we share a common start-up story: we BOTH started our businesses at the tender age 👶 of 22 and lived in the back of our shops. 🏪 

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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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