About Crystalyn Kae Brennan

handbag designer crystalyn brennan in her workshop

I am inspired by taking a beautiful thing from the past, and infusing it with modern functionality, transforming it into something that will be useful again.

My first encounter with the magic of unconventional style began at an early age. I spent most summer Saturdays with my grandfather Jack. Dressed to the nines with his own odd flair for fashion, mixing red plaid with yellow argyle, paired with white perforated leather shoes and matching belt, Grandpa's effortlessly off-putting way of mixing prints resonated with my 5 year old self.  

By my teens, I could be found working with my dad - learning how to restore 1960's-era muscle cars.  We'd find a diamond in the rough: then spent every spare moment wet-sanding, painting and my favorite: re-upholstering. It was around this time that I took my first Home-Ec class, and instead of following the assignment of creating pajama pants - I chose to make a duffle bag with zipper.

After earning my degree in Apparel Merchandising and Textiles, with a year abroad doing a life-changing internship at Liberty of London, I found a way to meld my love for retro upholstery, with Grandpa's anachronistic pattern-mixing influence. I launched my first collection of handbags in 2001. Which I took door to door to boutiques in Seattle, San Francisco and New York- and a company was born.

Today, 15+ years later, I design and lead production for Crystalyn Kae Accessories, drawing inspiration from an array of artful materials: opulent velvets, textural tweeds, and naturally bold ethical leather, with an emphasis sustainability. When I'm not in my Brooklyn workshop, I can be found producing trunk shows at my boutiques, and shopping antique markets across the USA.