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DESIGNER OF THE DAY

Erica Harel

Erica Harel

"A good bag is one that suits your style. A great bag is one that suits your lifestyle." Erica Harel
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Erica Harel Downtown Backpacks are a unique combination of functionality and trendy chic. Each compartment, pocket and feature is there for a reason. Designed with the urbanite in mind, Downtown backpacks combine the street style and street smarts of the downtown woman - the student, working woman, busy mom on the go, or girl out on the town.

Have you ever climbed up to your 4th floor walkup, loaded with packages, and then have to drop everything so you can remove your backpack and rummage through it for your keys? This all-too-common scenario is what initially inspired Erica to create the backpack of her dreams. After designing her idea of the "perfect" backpack for herself, Erica was inundated with requests for a bag just like hers. It wasn't long before the Erica Harel Downtown Backpack was born. Only a year and a half since her first backpack was produced, it was already counted among the season's top 10 fashionable backpacks by Downtown NYC Magazine, and was featured in one of Israel's leading women's magazines.

As with my previous (and quite successful) careers in advertising and antiques, I am totally auto-didactic in the art of handbag design. I can't sew a stitch by myself, but I know what I want, and have found the right people to realize my visions.

My inspiration was actually the challenge of being able to combine the "ready for any contingency" efficiency of trekker backpacks, with the chic elegance of haute couture bags. I wanted the functionality of the first, but wasn't willing to sacrifice the beauty of the latter. The third element, is my conviction that "a bag that isn't fun to carry is not worth carrying at all."

After examining the prevailing trends, as well as considering requests from local high-end boutiques, I source the leather and lining fabrics (both imported from Italy), and spend as much time as necessary with my pattern maker to perfect the lines, the look, the feel, and the functionality of the bags that I will be making - whether a backpack, tote, cross-body, shoulder bag or clutch. I am lucky to have the most amazing manufacturing team right here in Israel, where everything is produced under one roof. And having everything made locally gives me the added advantage of being able to conduct my own stringent quality control routines.

First and foremost, I want my customers to be happy with their Erica Harel bag. If they bought it for the look, I hope it suits them and makes them feel good. If they bought it for the functionality, I hope it serves them well. I want them to feel that they have bought a bag that will prove itself in quality and style. I stand behind all my products, which I hold to the highest standards of excellence in design, material, and manufacture.

Apparently, my bags have proven themselves, because at least one out of every three customers has come back for more ... either a different style for a different purpose, or the same bag in different colors for different seasons. That, I think, is the ultimate endorsement of any brand.

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