Seatbelt Bags As A Bottega Veneta Intrecciato Dupe


In the ‘00s, an unlikely bag started gaining popularity. Made from literal car parts, woven into a crosshatch pattern, and available in an array of colors, seatbelt bags were everywhere — everyone from Britney Spears to Robert Downey Jr. was reported to have jumped on the trend. Manufactured by Southern California company Harvey’s, seatbelt bags were a moment nestled into an era of fashion ingenuity full of “reduce, reuse, recycle”-ware, including duct-tape wallets and spoon rings. But the seatbelt bag’s moment eventually passed, and having not seen one in the wild since maybe 2010, I considered them doomed to the nostalgia archives.

But a couple of weeks ago, one of my best friends messaged the group chat. “Does anyone remember seatbelt bags from the early ‘00s? Lol,” she wrote, attaching a photo of her holding up a slate-gray seatbelt bag she had come across in her mom’s basement. “You should honestly rock that,” I responded, while another friend wrote, “I used to covet a seatbelt bag so badly.” She’s not the only one — whenever the friend who found the seatbelt bag takes it out in Brooklyn, she says she gets compliments from people who also remember the trend fondly.

The photo in the group text was the first time I had laid eyes on a seatbelt bag since I was a tween, but I had amassed enough fashion knowledge since then to come to a new realization: What is the seatbelt bag if not a poor man’s Bottega?

Both Bottega Veneta and seatbelt bags use a crosshatch weave, but the latter costs $138 new while the former starts at $1,250 for a mini Cassette Crossbody that’s not even spacious enough for an iPhone. (Plus, if you’re willing to get a seatbelt bag secondhand, ThredUp and Poshmark are stocked with Harvey’s starting at $20.) Obviously, there’s a difference in material (leather versus polyester). But that’s kind of why the seatbelt bag feels right for right now, at a time when inflation is slowing, but prices are still high. Why fork over thousands for a bag you can’t get wet when you can get a similar look made from durable, easy to clean, and water-wicking seatbelts — and cost a fraction of the price?

Even the girls on TikTok are suggesting the seatbelt bag as a worthy, if not one-for-one, dupe for not only Bottega but also Dragon Diffusion. “Instead of spending $400 on the Dragon Diffusion bag, I bought a seatbelt bag,” says Tiktok user @hanselka. “I remember being a little girl and seeing women with these bags and, to me, it was like the epitome of womanhood.”

In a sense, we’re working with the dupe of a dupe of a dupe — but one that both plays on and challenges designer pricing in a market where a luxury-label dress can cost the same as college tuition. Regardless of inflation, I don’t know when I will be able to afford a Bottega, but in the meantime, you can catch me strolling into the office with my very own Faux-tegga.



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