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Handcrafted Totes Tell a Story at TheMadly's Bowery Pop-Up

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Melanie Dizon and Jake Quellman founded theMadly just three seasons ago with a collection of rugged, handcrafted totes and briefcases inspired by a trip to the Philippines. The line, which is now stocked in seven Barneys locations, uses heavy canvas, leather, suede and nubuck along with artisan-made hardware—their two main buckle styles are produced by a blacksmith and wood carver who works out of a roadside hut in the Philippines. But us New Yorkers, we have it easy—at least until the end of the September. The duo just opened a pop-up in a wide-open storefront on a happening stretch of the Bowery.

Left raw white, the shop is embellished with the collection of bags dangling from ropes attached to the ceiling and two walls of photography from a recent trip to Peru. It's an interesting way of merchandising—the space vibes gallery almost before retail. In fact, creative types keep wandering in assuming they were in store for an exhibit—and several have walked out carrying a brand new bag.

It's easy to understand why: The bags are classic but beautifully crafted, sturdy and not unfairly priced. A perfect-in-its-simplicity leather leather briefcase has a great-for-gripping, leather wrapped rope handle and a removable shoulder strap ($375). Totes come in two sizes—ample and ample-as-weekender. A canvas version is only $275 while the gigantic Fitzgerald in leather is $495. A slimmer, dandier tote—the Huxley—is $395. A top-heavy, fishing-inspired messenger that wouldn't look out of place clipped to the front of a bike is $395. Another messenger—the Hopper—features equestrian buckles and sells for $450.

Each bag is inspired by the duo's travels. Earlier pieces had a Filipino bent but the most recent collection is straight out of Peru. The designers give back by sourcing handmade bits from the local micro-economies they visit. In addition to the aforementioned buckles, current bags are produced in Peru and several special edition bags—our favorites (the backpack is $595)—feature hand-woven tapestry straps and insets. Each bit is wholly unique and beautifully irregular thanks to the hand-spun, organically-dyed and loom-woven ancient Inca technique used by the indigenous peoples of an area known as the Sacred Valley.

These pieces make up the capsule Nomad Collection which, going forward, will feature a small series of special edition bags similarly inspired by exotic travels. It's a fresh and quirky supplement to the main-line's clean and functional foundation.

The shop also sells a selection of crocheted cotton hats and accessories as well as scrap leather-fashioned origami wallets for $48.
· TheMadly [Official Site]