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Autumn Arm Candy from a Totnes Talent

Want some new arm candy for autumn that's contemporary, elegant, timeless and responsibly made? Don't want much, do you? Fortunately, this covetable new collection from Totnes-based Cast Made ticks all the boxes.

woman holding a beige clutch bag

Fashion’s taken an autumnal turn and this new collection of handbags from Totnes-based brand Cast Made got the memo.  Aren’t they rather nice?

I first set eyes (and mitts) upon these leather beauties on a stroll up the high street over the summer, when the Cast Made pop-up shop lured me in, looking all dark and mysterious. Once through the door, the designer’s super-proud dad (holding fort) needed little prompting to tell me about his daughter, Lucie, then invited me behind the counter and up the spiral stairs to Narnia (sort of), to see her bijou little studio full of lovely works in progress.

Lucie cast in shop

It turns out that Lucie Cast is quite the talent.  Having learned her craft locally, as an apprentice at Tanner Bates in Dartington, she founded her brand in 2015, and makes each bag by hand, using only British sustainable vegetable tanned leather (that’s high quality and with no chemical nasties, to you and me).  Shunning mass production, Lucie really wanted to create a timeless range of bags that women could wear every day, until their daughters are old enough to steal them.

black, blue and grey leather clutch bags

I reckon she’s succeeding.  Because the bags are made from small, high quality batches of leather, each piece should have some serious longevity.  Plus, it’ll age gracefully over time, developing its own unique look.

And then there’s the pared back simplicity of these bags, which I love.  Made rather cleverly from a single piece of leather (in some ways resembling Lucie’s inspiration, Japanese Origami) and without any stitching or fussy detail, the only real features are functional ones, like the natty groove on the Torus to make for comfy clutching, and the brilliant bespoke solid brass button that’s based on the shape of a thumbprint.  Starting at £135 for a Simple Clutch, they’ve all the hallmarks of an investment piece, without the pricetag of a Mulberry, no?

leather clutch bags in slate, sloe, jay, black and linen colours

The colours of the new collection are gorgeous, perfect for the season, ranging from soft and muted to deeper, more vibrant shades. Choose from sloe, slate, jay, linen or classic black. And then there’s the style to mull over; large or smaller clutches (The Simple, Dart or the Torus), a Box Bag, or a dinky Pip Purse.  All very wearable and user-friendly, it just depends on what you’re after, really.

pop up shop with handbags and lifestyle homewares

You can find Lucie’s designs online, or, if you’re local, get yourself to Totnes for a nose around her little pop-up lifestyle shop, which also showcases other brilliant local makers – although it won’t be around for much longer (closing Fri 22 Sept) and you’ll need to keep your ear to the ground to find out when the next one will pop up.  I might tell you, if you ask me nicely and let me borrow your bag from time-to-time.  Prices start from £60 for a Pip Purse. Lucie’s studio and current pop-up shop is at 9 High Street, Totnes, TQ9 5NN

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