Handmade tote travels from Revy to Kurt Russell’s hands in Godzilla
Trevor Kehler 20 years ago started making bags out of old seatbelts, one of which is now featured in the Godzilla series — Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.
U.S.E.D, the name of Kehler’s Revelstoke-based company, came up when Haida Harper did a search for tote bags made in B.C. The assistant props master was looking for a bag for the character, Mae.
Harper couldn’t tell Kehler what show she was working for, but she ordered six identical bags from him.
“It was a pain,” Kehler said, because everything he makes is unique.
According to Harper, he was a joy to work with.
Harper sourced bags from across North America and Europe, but she liked Kehler’s bag the most. It reminds of the the ’90s grunge look, but has an air of femininity to it. In the end the props master and director agreed with her, and chose Kehler’s bag out of all the ones she presented to them.
Kehler had forgotten all about Harper’s mysterious order when, a year-and-a-half later, he was selling bags from his stall at the Revelstoke’s farmer market. Up strolled local Annie Hewitt, who also worked on Monarch, in the arts department. She told Kehler his bag was in a Godzilla series, and showed him a picture of Kurt Russell holding it.
“Kurt Russell is an old favourite,” Kehler said, saying the experience was “pretty neat.”
He doesn’t know what, if anything this will mean for his business, which he started 20 years ago as a way to eliminate waste. At first he made sandals out of rubber, and eventually graduated to buying old seatbelts by the pound from a company in Kelowna that removes them from cars. He has a little factory set up on his lot in a manufactured home park in Southside.
“I didn’t fit,” Kehler said. He was searching for purpose when he stumbled upon the idea to repurpose seatbelts. Now he works with Shade Sails Canada and uses that material to make caps, he makes tool bags from safety harnesses, and does all kinds of special orders.
For Harper, doing business with Kehler was meaningful. She dabbles in crafts, too, and says she’s proud to have been able to support what Kehler does by using his bags in the series.
Working on Monarch was tough, she said, and Kehler’s bag getting the green light was a highlight for her.