When people buckle their seatbelt, they might not be looking at those belts with eyes for art. Nancy Logan from Burgis Beach saw opportunity in those belts, and over three years and 1,500 bags later, she has built a business out of that inspiration. She makes and sells bags at Buckle Up Bags.
The first bags were made out of reclaimed seatbelts from old cars, but the problem was that it was difficult and messy to get them, and the belts themselves would be dirty. Now Logan buys seatbelt seconds - belts that aren’t safe for use as actual seatbelts due to a flaw - and uses those for the bags, meaning the bags are made out of material that would otherwise be sent to the landfill. She sews them together with an industrial sewing machine, and each is unique, whether due to the lining or the colours selected for the belts. She said that her fabric selections for the lining mean she gets as much of an interest in the interior of the bag as the exterior.
Her creations are often bright and colorful, which might be a surprise to people used to the black in their own cars. But Logan’s sources are from all over the world, and it’s clear some places have a much more diverse selection of belts.
“I just made a teal purse for a lady and it matched the seatbelts in her own car.”
Seatbelts come with their own challenges from a design perspective. Unlike the cars they were originally meant for, they’re not very good at going around corners, so Logan has to work with straight lines. She also has to go through several layers, and said that she needs to use an industrial machine just because it can get tough. Logan designs all of her bags by herself, and she includes features like outside pockets - a rarity on bags of this type - because she wants them to be usable every day. She said that this is a practical reason behind her use of brightly colored lining - beyond looks, it means people can easily see inside.
The bags have sold around the globe, as far away as England and Australia, and Logan believes it’s partly because people are into recycling and up-cycling, ways to keep using material in unique and novel ways.
“They’re really durable, they’ll last a long time, so that’s appealing to people. And they’re really different, there’s nobody else in Saskatchewan making these, there’s only one other person in Canada making these bags, and mine are quite unique.”
She said that her challenge is making them feminine, since she does use what is an industrial material. She said that she’s constantly thinking about colour combinations, patterns and designs for the next bag.
“I never stop thinking about purses!”