The Brentano Design Studio, led by Iris Wang, has grown from a modest eight patterns in 1990, into an international source for residential, hospitality and commercial fabrics for both upholstery and drapery. The range has expanded to include luxurious vegan leathers, sophisticated indoor/outdoor choices, dynamic stain resistant and easy clean finish options, as well as a beautiful collection of eco-friendly textiles.
Born in 1954 in South Korea to parents who had immigrated from China, Iris Wang, Founder and Artistic Director at Brentano, Inc, cultivated an interest in her Chinese heritage at an early age. At 21, she enrolled at National Normal University, a premier Taiwanese art school. In 1978, after teaching art in Taiwan, Iris came to the United States and began work on her MFA at Kent State University. She completed her Masters of Fine Arts degree in 1981 and began working with an interior designer in Chicago. It was a project involving fabric covered ceiling tiles that sparked Iris’s interest in textiles, an interest that eventually grew into Brentano, Inc.
A Family Affair
Working from their garage and starting with just eight patterns, E-Kwan Chen, CEO and husband to Artistic Director Iris Wang, officially launched Brentano with the nature collection in 1990. Quick to support Iris’ vision, E-Kwan provided constant, unwavering encouragement of Iris’ endeavors, a tribute to a great life partnership. From there, the business has grown, as have their sources for inspiration. Iris regularly looks to the worlds of fashion, architecture, history, and philosophy for new themes and design direction. Today, Brentano’s expansive collection of textiles now has over 250 patterns, all of which embody Brentano’s ethos of beauty and performance.
In 2017, the Chen sons, Leo and Allen, joined the Brentano team after completing their graduate studies. With an eye on fully immersing themselves in the business, Leo and Allen began learning distinct areas of the company from customer service, production, operation, warehouse management, merchandising, design processes, and much more.
Allen is currently following in his mother’s footsteps. Previously serving as a Sales Representative, Merchandising and Product Development Manager, focusing on textile and coated fabric technology, Allen now serves as Product Manager for the Brentano design studio. In this role, Allen oversees and assists in design, sales, merchandising, and marketing efforts. Allen has also become well versed in creating informative Continuing Education Credits surrounding the interior design industry with an in-depth look at textile production. Furthermore, Allen has become the face of Brentano’s Teaching Tuesdays, a weekly video cast sharing insights and industry knowledge to Brentano’s many followers.
Leo currently serves as Brentano’s Operations Manager, learning the business under the tutelage of his father. In this role, Leo manages Brentano’s robust CRM systems, oversees customer service operations, and maintains technical and pricing databases for over 2,000 SKU’s in the Brentano line. Leo has also become a lead point person for IT initiatives, HR management, and warehouse inventory control within the company. A quick learner, Leo has created and launched many operational systems to improve and enhance sales procedures throughout the company. Brentano’s 2nd generation family-owned business offers a friendly and warm atmosphere which extends to their employees who they consider a part of their ever-growing family. The mission set forth by Iris and E-Kwan was to produce beautiful fabric with outstanding performance features. Now encompassing upholstery fabric, drapery, vegan leather, and wall panels, their extensive line of textiles is aesthetically pleasing and rich in color while meeting performance standards including bleach cleanability, eco-friendly, and FR qualities sought throughout the design industry.