Always on the go, I robotically get in the car, put on my seatbelt, check the mirrors and drive off. So it never would have occurred to me to look at a seatbelt and think: This would make a great handbag.
While many of you might not have had that vision, either, Dana Harvey sure did. He’s the creator and designer of Harveys Original Seatbeltbags. This month our “Celebrating the Art of…” series takes a look at what inspired Dana to come up with these fashionable and iconic Seatbeltbags, and what’s next on the horizon.
Michelle: Dana, I’ve heard that the start of this Seatbeltbag empire began when you were installing seatbelts in your 1950 Buick, and you had the idea to make your wife Melanie a matching bag. I grew up with a love of classic cars, especially Model A’s and Hot Rods, because of my dad. Your collection of Seatbeltbags has something for everyone – traditional totes reminiscent of classic cars to more daring designs with bold color, pattern and details suited for Hot Rod personalities. Have you always had a passion for cars that you draw your inspiration from?
Dana Harvey: Like most guys, I guess my passion for cars started as a boy. I particularly love American Cars from the 1950’s. I love the classic lines and how everything is designed so “futuristic.” Back then, things were built to last and when they broke, you fixed them. Now, I feel, everything is so disposable. That’s why it was important for me to design a bag that not only looks good but also lasts forever. Our bags are “guaranteed tough” for life. I’ve met ladies that have had their bag for 10 years, and it still looks brand new.
Michelle: That first bag for your wife Melanie has evolved into a collection that is available in a variety of different colors, designs and accessories, too. Can you tell us a bit more about the creative process that leads to your trend-setting designs, like the popular Treecycle collection?
Dana: Actually, every new design ties back to our original woven design. We’re always looking for innovative ways to express the seatbelt material, and the weave design we’re known for. With that basic formula we’ve been able to create endless possibilities: new colors, embellishments, prints, different sizes of seatbelt, stitching the seatbelt side-by-side … We love the challenge of creating newness but still remaining true to our roots.
Michelle: Fans of Harvey’s Seatbeltbags and Disney must consider the comic strip series a match made in heaven. This first collaboration has been considered quite popular and even hard to find. What can you tell us about this series and some of your upcoming projects?
Dana: We were so excited to be able to work with Disney! I knew right from the start that we had to use Mickey, that mouse I had grown to love as a kid. We dug into the Disney archives and discovered the vintage comic strip of Mickey and Pluto plotting to win the affections of Minnie Mouse. Then, we added details like the “Mickey Ears” zipper-pull, “Mickey Parts” charm, custom lining with a classic Mickey head print and more. I personally think it’s all the details that make this collection so darn cute. The success of that first collection has blossomed into other collections, even incorporating other Disney characters. We just released an adorable Minnie Mouse collection, and are in the works on some others (that I can’t mention yet). We work together as one team to combine elements from both brands to create bags that appeal to both, Disney & Harveys, fans.
Do you have a Harvey’s Seatbeltbag? I do, and I love it! I can honestly say there’s nothing like it. Are you looking to add to your own Harvey’s collection, or are you ready to hit the road to fashion in style with a Seatbeltbag of your own? Creator and designer Dana Harvey will be on hand to debut some additional Special Edition Seatbeltbags in the Disney Classic Comic Strip Signature Collection at Disney Vault 28 in the Downtown Disney District on February 19, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Be sure to buckle up and hit the road for this special debut.