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08 February 2017

Made by Chelsea - designer handbags raise money for Epilepsy Society

New York actress, model and DJ Chelsea Leyland is once again using her creative talents to help raise awareness of epilepsy and at the same time raise vital funds for Epilepsy Society.

DJ Chelsea Leyland

Chelsea and her sister, Tamsin both have epilepsy and last year Chelsea designed a unitard to raise £10,000 for the charity. Now she is designing a pair of limited edition handbags to raise even greater awareness and money.

Chelsea is working in collaboration with Mark Cross whose handbags are a must-have for devotees of his trademark structured leather bags with vintage-inspired designs ranging from '60s style daisies to galaxies of stars and moons.

Chelsea's  two designs are a set of day and night bags in alternating navy and blush pink, inspired by a vintage ’80s swimsuit she owned. Twenty per cent of proceeds from the sale of the bags will be donated to Epilepsy Society.

Asked about her decision to donate funds to Epilepsy Society, Chelsea told Vogue magazine: "I thought, 'why not do some good while I’m at it?' I’m trying to use fashion to raise awareness for epilepsy.

“It’s a cause that is obviously very close to my heart."

Photosensitive epilepsy

Chelsea has juvenile myoclonic epilepsy while Tamsin has complex epilepsy with learning difficulties. Chelsea is also photosensitive so has to make sure any gigs she plays  at use lasers instead of strobe lights.

Talking about epilepsy

Chelsea told Epilepsy Society: "I have been through a time when it was a challenge to talk about my epilepsy and now talking about it with power is really different. I'm trying to make it positive and upbeat, so I'm trying to use my position as an influencer to make an impact.

"I had a voice but I wasn't using it - now I want to make some noise and help people understand what epilepsy is. I want to give people strength by telling my own story. I want to do it for Tamsin, I owe it to her and also to empower other young people.

Living at Epilepsy Society

'Tamsin has lived at Epilepsy Society since she was 18 and absolutely loves it. She's the happiest she's ever been. Some people think she'd rather be at home but that's wrong - there's a big part of her that's very independent, like any adult. She knows exactly what she wants and she wouldn't have that same freedom if she was at home."

The handbags were launched at a special celebration in Greenwich Village, New York where Chelsea told Vogue: “If someone opens up a magazine and sees the bag connected to the charity and says, ‘Oh, what’s that charity?’ Then I feel I’ve done my job.”

Find out more

Chelsea talks about living with epilepsy in our magazine Epilepsy Review
Chelsea designs unitard to raise money for Epilepsy Society

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