Five terrific tote bags from under-the-radar brands

The stylish way to shoulder daily paraphernalia

ATP Atelier Pienza Brunello large tote, £475, with the Montalcino mini handbag, £395
ATP Atelier Pienza Brunello large tote, £475, with the Montalcino mini handbag, £395

ATP Atelier

Swedish label ATP (All Tomorrow’s Parties) Atelier blends traditional Italian craftsmanship with minimalist Scandinavian cool in a range of striking yet classic leather accessories. Chief among them is the large but perfectly proportioned Pienza tote (from £475), handmade in Italy from Tuscan leather in black, burgundy or tan. It has a single solid shoulder strap and a surprisingly cavernous interior – it’s also sturdy enough to hold a 13in MacBook. atpatelier.com. CHERISH RUFUS

From left: Ferian Portland tote, £895. Arran Frances Cara tote, £600
From left: Ferian Portland tote, £895. Arran Frances Cara tote, £600

Ferian

Describing herself as a “design generalist”, Leonie Branston founded accessories label Ferian in 2017 after 20 years in the fashion industry, including 12 years at Margaret Howell. Each of her understated bags is named after an English seaside town or port, such as Selsey (£825) – a large leather shoulder bag with a continuous strap (all Ferian straps and handles are made from English bridle leather) – and Portland (£895), a smart work tote that comes in navy and pillar-box red. All are produced in a small factory in the West Midlands, while locks and buckles are “handcrafted to the same standard as jewellery” in unlacquered brass, using the ancient process of lost-wax casting. ferian.co.uk. ALYSON WALSH

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Arran Frances

For London-based Irish designer Arran Frances Evans, a degree that she describes as “a mixture of design and engineering” is at the heart of her excitingly original handbags. “I love structural materials, including the rubber cord that is often used to stiffen handles,” she says. “Why cover it in leather when it looks so cool?” This is the case with the Cara tote bag (£600), where the double shoulder straps in clear or black rubber hold up a boxy body of Italian leather. arranfrances.com. AVRIL GROOM

From left: V by Townsley Nicola tote, £370. Ampersand As Apostrophe Half Tote, from $440
From left: V by Townsley Nicola tote, £370. Ampersand As Apostrophe Half Tote, from $440

Ampersand As Apostrophe

Created by architecture-turned-interiors major and Detroit native Jessica Park, Ampersand As Apostrophe’s Half Tote (from $440) is a structured style with just the right amount of slouch. Its overall look is elevated and elegant, aided by the fact that it must be hand-carried, as the handles are too short to fit over the shoulder (a plus, in my book). I now own two – the Croc Noir Matte and a very of-the-moment matte white. ampersandapostrophe.com. RIMA SUQI

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V by Townsley

The Nicola tote (£370) from V by Townsley is a boon for cyclists. It’s sturdy enough to carry a weighty load of daily paraphernalia and looks sharp while doing so, with a wide detachable strap that can be worn across the body while on a bike. It comes in two shades – wine-red and buttery pecan-tan – of “vegan leather”, a feature that is at the core of the brand founded by London-based sisters-in-law Jo and Georgie Townsley. Jo (who previously worked at Max Mara) and Georgie (a producer of films and documentaries) sourced their “dream material” in Japan, while all four V by Townsley styles are manufactured at an artisan atelier in the Abruzzo region of Italyvbytownsley.comRACHELLE GRYN BRETTLER

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