Founded by Brooke Testoni in 2017, Sydney based accessories brand Rylan is founded on a love of vintage and classic designs. We sit down with Brooke to learn more about her design process, personal style and wardrobe essentials.
Plus the Rylan founder styles her favourite new season looks.
Hi Brooke! We’d love to know more about you. Where did you grow up, what did you study, what life experiences do you think have made the biggest impact on where you are now?
I grew up in Brisbane. Even though Sydney is now home, Brisbane still has such a special place in my heart. I love the people and the relaxed vibe there. I miss my family and friends, and love to visit when I can! I studied Graphic and Web design when I left school which I feel has had such a positive impact on where I am today. I have used all my skills in every job I have had along the way and to this day on my brand Rylan. Moving to Sydney had the most impact on my life and where I am now. I moved here knowing only two people. I got my first job in fashion at such a young age, and met some of my best friends in those first couple of years. If I didn’t move to Sydney, I don’t think I would have gone down the fashion path, so it has been a journey! A good one at that!
Could you tell us about the inspiration behind the creation of your brand Rylan? What motivated you to start your own accessories label?
I decided to start Rylan because at the time there was quite a gap in the market. This was in 2018 when there wasn’t really a contemporary handbag brand which was priced between luxury and fast fashion. I wanted to create a brand that was not only of high quality, but minimal and vintage inspired. It was also important to not be covered in logos.
In what ways does Rylan reflect your personal style and values? What aspects of your own fashion journey have influenced the brand's identity?
I have always been quite effortless and paired back with my dressing. I don’t seem to overthink it. Rylan embodies this. The bags are quite minimal in design and can be paired back with most outfits from day to night. I think less is more and the brand really speaks to this.
We love hearing about the design process, can you walk us through your design process? How do you approach creating new collections?
Rylan started with the original satchel, which is still very prominent in the collection. The iconic buckle still features on most (not all) bags. When expanding this collection, it is coming up with different ways to interpret the satchel. For example, the Large Satchel was our original, which then expanded into the Small Satchel and Mini Satchel. From there I created the baguette bag with the buckle. I have also started to venture into other luxurious wearable bags like our Large and Mini Tote. This doesn’t have the buckle but still has a very luxurious, effortless, and classic vibe. The backend of this year will see some more bags introduced without our buckle for the customer who likes a more paired back approach to accessories, plus the brand will venture into sustainable non-leather and vegan bags which is very exciting.
I have always been drawn to vintage jewellery so our jewellery collections speak to this. We love designing custom links and forming small capsule collections featuring these links. For example, our Flat Link Collection features a link that is of kinetic design. We used this link in 2 pairs of earrings, a necklace and a bracelet.
Brooke wears the Renata Top in Ivory from Marle with the London High Rise Straight Leg Jean from SLVRLAKE in Natural White and the Soft Baguette in Carob from Rylan.
Rylan emphasises timeless and versatile pieces. How do you ensure that your designs have longevity and can be incorporated into various personal styles?
I try not to get too hung up on ‘trending’ pieces. I don’t design a bag or piece of jewellery because that shape is ‘in’ now. I like to design pieces knowing you can wear them now and for years to come. I also like to design bags like our Mini Satchel, that can be worn cross body on the weekend, on the go, or out at night with a dress held by the handle. This way our customer can get the most out of their bags.
Sustainability is a growing concern in the fashion industry. How do you address this issue? Are there specific practices or materials that you prioritise to promote sustainability?
Yes – it is. At Rylan we have always been conscious of sustainability and how we can help as a brand. At this point in time Rylan uses leather that is a co-product of the meat and dairy industry in all our Italian made leather products. Our design and manufacturing philosophy is to invest in high quality classic pieces that can last a lifetime and age beautifully with you, rather than address a seasonal fix or fast-fashion approach. We are also working on a collection which is made from recycled plastic bottles and other recycled materials.
Brooke wears the Basic Tank in White from Maison Essentiele layered under the Classic Pocket Shirt in White from Matteau, with the Mica Low Rise Wide Leg Jean from SLVRLAKE in Born To Run and Mini Satchel bag with Silver from Rylan.
Where are your favourite places to collect inspiration, can you share with us what’s influencing you right now?
When I travel, I find I am the most inspired. I used to travel to Europe quite a lot which would always spark different ideas. Now that I have a young family, I cannot travel as much. Now I tend to do lots of research online and take it back to my traditional ways of researching like reading coffee table, books, scrolling good old Pinterest and listening to great music.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own brand?
I don’t think there is ever a right time. I think you just need to give it a go and evolve the brand in different ways when needed. If something doesn’t work, try again. You learn so much along the way, but only once you have started somewhere.
How would you describe your personal style, and how has it evolved over the years?
It is funny, I was thinking about this the other day. My style has changed so much over the years, in both good and bad ways! I am sure we all look back on things we used to wear and think “this!”.
I think where I am in life now with a young family, I dress so much more functionally with quality classic basics. I like comfortable oversized tailoring, paired with classic and vintage denim and t-shirting.
I find I used to have a lot more ‘trending’ pieces in my wardrobe in the past. Also, a lot more colour. I still like some colour here in there, but I seem to fill my wardrobe with more wearable classics that can be worn with each other. I also invest in high-quality pieces that last rather than fast fashion. I do like to wear colour every now and again, however, I seem to wear it differently these days. I like to wear the same colour head to toe, or wear one piece back with neutral classics. I don’t like to overdo it.
What are your wardrobe essentials?
Denim (!), a good blazer, t-shirts, a good shirt, trousers that can be dressed up or down, a nice black dress, a good black boot, black flats, a pair of sneakers, a shoulder bag and a tote bag.
Brooke wears the Breton Stripe Tee from Matteau with the Classic Leather Belt in Black and Silver, the Large Tote in Bone from Rylan and the London High Rise Straight Leg Jean from SLVRLAKE in Jet Black.