Western style is ingrained in Denver’s DNA—and every so often, it can use a contemporary update. Local designer Keara Jean Daly merges traditional tooling and lacing work with sophisticated hardware and simple, modern shapes in her handbag line, KearaJean, which she describes as “country meets city.”

Daly spends eight to 10 hours constructing each leather bag. The self-taught artisan prefers shades of brown, as black doesn’t provide enough richness and colored dyes tend to look “too crafty,” she says. Common accents are antique brass (to bring out the leather’s natural tones) or shiny nickel (for contrast). Currently, KearaJean offers more than a dozen styles, though no client takes home the exact same bag as another. Prices start at $350, and custom work is available upon request. Up next: A men’s collection that’s expected to launch by the new year.

Pictured: Fergi 100 percent vegetable-tanned, cowhide leather handbag with nickel hardware and brown suede interior, $550, kearajean.com

Photo by Jeff Nelson