Meet Kaylan Rexer

Kaylan Rexer Passerbuys
Kaylan grew up as part of a big family, with young, hippie, politically-charged parents, who opened an organic farm in the suburbs of New York. She first traveled to Guatemala when she was 16 to visit her uncle, Ilegal Mezcal founder and owner of Café No Sé, John Rexer, and played live music for the first time. When Ilegal Mezcal was about to launch, she left her job at an editing house to help her uncle’s business. She now runs marketing at Ilegal Mezcal and gets to have her hands in design, music, and politics on a daily basis.


My day usually starts with grabbing a coffee from Marlow & Sons and then walking my puppy, Penny Lane, to McCarren Park.  I either work from a local coffee shop or head into the Ilegal Mezcal office / event space, which is the old Perry Street theatre in the West Village. The puppy usually joins me.

On What She Does as Brand Director of Ilegal Mezcal

I oversee Ilegal’s design, events and marketing. I have always felt like my number one job is to build a community around Ilegal and create environments where people have genuine connections with the product. My full title on my business card is actually Troublemaker / Brand Director; the first part is very accurate.

On Being Part of a creative company

I would not be working with Ilegal if I did not love the product and what it stood for. The brand is heavily connected to the music and art scene because of where it originated from, which is why we produce a live music series called the Ilegal Music Series, and I curate a gallery series at Ilegal’s headquarters with Matt Greene, the creative director from The Gramercy Park Hotel.  In turn, the brand has a lot of creative people that gravitate towards it and love drinking it.

I think Ilegal’s Donald Eres Un Pendejo campaign will be one of the most epic stories of my professional career. John, the owner of Ilegal, came to me one morning and said we need to use this line and put out a street campaign. We designed it on the spot and had it up on the streets of New York within 48 hours of Trump announcing his run for the presidency. We put it out there because we felt like we had to say something and respond to the horrible things he said. It is now an international viral campaign.  We just won a Gold Honor Shorty Award for Brand Identity. We also have raised a lot of money for various charities through the campaign.  Knowing I work with a brand that is not afraid to make a statement is also an incredible feeling.
— On making a political statement

On Her Favorite Books

It feels like the right time to revisit George Orwell’s work, especially Animal Farm, where he examines politics and human experience in a way which unfortunately feels very relevant to the world in which we are currently living. I also have always really loved his essays, specifically Books v. Cigarettes. Boys Drool is a photo documentation of two bands on tour that a friend of mine, CJ Harvey, just published. She is an insanely talented photographer and has a really unique perspective. Everybody Writes is a book I would recommend to anyone in marketing or a creative field. It is funny and breaks down the art of creating content in a smart way.

On Her Approach To Home Design and Decor

I wanted the apartment to be filled with plants, feel warm and welcoming. I hate walking into a place that looks like it was picked out from a showroom floor, so rather than decorating all at once, I just find pieces I love and figured out places to put them.  Some of the wood pieces and trunks are from Brooklyn Reclamation.  A bunch of other pieces are sadly from the flea market that used to be in a parking garage in Chelsea on the weekends. They have since put a hotel or apartment building there. My plants and artwork are mostly from my aunt (@earlskitchengardens) on Long Island—she's an amazing artist and a farmer.

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Duquette Johnson is a really beautiful lyricist and musician, and someone I met through the Ilegal Music Series. He and his wife also own an amazing store in Alabama called Club Duquette. Fleetwood Mac...self-explanatory. Stevie Nicks is a badass. The Cramps because they were one of the best Punk Rock bands. Iggy Pop because I just love this album and Iggy Pop is at the top of the list for artists that we wish would play the Ilegal Music Series.
— On her favorite records

On Shopping and Personal Style

I love Grit n Glory on the LES. It is owned by some rad women and there is a tattoo shop in the back. My everyday style is pretty casual, jeans, t-shirts and converse. I basically dress like a highschool boy in the 1970’s.  

On How She Amassed a Collection of Vintage Tees

I actually find a lot of the vintage t-shirts while traveling, especially at the second hand markets in Guatemala. My number one vintage shopping tip would be to spend your money on traveling and set aside time to search through the markets. The items you buy while traveling will ending up meaning a lot more to you.

On Her Favorite Beauty Products

I have odd hours which include a lot of late nights, and a puppy that wakes me up early. The Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer feels amazing and really works. All of ARROJO’s products smell amazing, and I love their Dry Shampoo, Cream Whip, and Salt Spray. They also have travel sizes. Trish McEvoy Beauty Balm is really light, feels amazing, and makes your skin glow. I also use jojoba oil and Journeymen Natural Deodorant.

Kaylan's Beauty Tip

Honestly I only have one: coconut oil...on everything.

On Her Nightly Routine

Most of my nights usually involve a glass (or two) of red wine  and/or Ilegal Mezcal, a walk around the neighborhood with my puppy and girlfriend. I try to cook dinner on nights where I don't have events and I'm not totally burnt out. It's something I love to do and find very relaxing.

Kaylan's Favorite Records

24 Karat Gold - Songs From The Vault by Stevie Nicks

Rabbit Runs A Destiny by Duquette Johnston

The Idiot by Iggy Pop

De Lux Album by The Cramps

Kaylan's favorite places

Best brunch is at Simple Cafe.

Marlow & Sons for the best coffee.

GO SEE Jessica at ARROJO Studio in Williamsburg.

I have strangely never gotten a tattoo in New York…but I have two from Antigua Tattoo Shop in Guatemala

My favorite bar is Cafe No Sé... sorry, you have to travel to Guatemala for that too.

Take the gallery tour at the Gramercy Park Hotel.

Duck’s Eatery is my version of Cheer’s. The food, the drinks  and the people who run the place are phenomenal.