The Belt that Brings Together Design and Function

It started out as an idea – a sketch on a piece of paper, like so many other innovations. But Susanne Rittedal Söderblom dared take the plunge and became the first person to have taken a Smart Textiles project from idea to finished product. For her functional belt Mejt, the market now awaits – as soon as she gets past the final hurdle.

Susanne Ritterdal SöderblömWhen Susanne Rittedal Söderblom steps into the café on Linnégatan in Gothenburg wearing a jacket, jeans and leather boots, you can not perceive that the belt around her waist, is an innovation with more features than usual accessories.
“The belt has an integrated holder for the cell phone and a discreet pocket for other small objects. Inside the belt, there is a material that protects the body against radiation, but it is the function that is the main thing – the use of a handsfree unit is facilitated and they can carry the phone in an attractive way, she explains and demonstrates the mobile holder, which is hidden under the jacket, on her left hip.

She tells us of a process that started in her apartment 10 years ago and which has since led to a Smart Textiles project. Soon her belt – Mejt – will be available to order on the web.
“I worked as project manager for an event in 2001. In the evening there was a dinner and I was wearing a dress but had nowhere to put my cell phone. So I had to put it in my bra in lack of options.”

Nocturnal Idea

The idea of a belt with a mobile holder was born when she got home that night. In the middle of the night Susanne Rittedal Söderblom drew a sketch. Over the years, she has received help from students. On her laptop, she shows a number of variations on the belt look and you can see how the design process has evolved over time.
“Anyone who has been involved has contributed with a small piece of the puzzle. It has really worked well to work with students even if the process becomes a bit longer and more detailed,” she says.

Finally Susanne Rittedal Söderblom came into contact with Barbro Sehlman, who works as a designer.
“She joined the project without immediate reimbursement and helped me with design. When it was finished, I felt it was absolutely right – this is something people could really use.”


The Belt “Just an Idea on a Piece of Paper”

Susanne Rittedal Söderblom is very grateful for all the help she has received through Smart Textiles.
“I had never gotten this far without the expertise, contacts and, of course, money at Smart Textiles. I now have a finished product, ready to be marketed. Without help it would have been nothing more than an idea on a piece of paper,” she says.
Although the design has been in focus, she has also devoted plenty of time to finding a material that protects against radiation.
“Research is of course divided in the case of radiation from mobile phones. I can not say with certainty that radiation is dangerous, but I do not want to take a chance.”

“If it turns out that radiation isn’t dangerous, I can always remove the protective material.”


The Final Hurdle

Today, Susan Rittedal Soderblom works as head of marketing at StarkareGruppen AB in Halmstad. Her belt and her business, Mejt, are thus far only recreational projects.

As of now, it is possible to order the Mejt belt on the Web, but hopefully it will soon be sold in stores.
“The final hurdle I need pass is finding means of mass production. I have contacted a company in Landskrona and one in Asia.”
“I would prefer it to be a Swedish product, and the ambition is to create growth in the future,” she concludes.