LUXURY LUGGAGE CONTINUES TO CARRY ON

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LAUREN NEHORAI

3/30/22

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Whether your travel style consists of a laid-back sweatsuit, sneakers and sunglasses, or a put-together pair of pants, boots and button-down, the cornerstone of travel fashion is defined by what you carry with you. Luxury luggage wear has been idolized for over a century, dating back to the days when the European elite would globetrot alongside stacks of trunks of custom luggage made from the finest leathers and fabrics. It was a time when traveling from place to place was deemed far more complex than calling an uber or hopping on a Delta flight. People wouldn’t rush through the airport using TSA pre-check or aim to be incognito under a mask, hat and sunglasses. Rather, traveling was a social experience and a privilege in itself. Think of luxury railroad trains like the infamous Venice Simplon-Orient Express or cruises like the Titanic - loads of passengers would board, eager for the chance to wine, dine and mingle with their wealthy counterparts, boasting their possessions they brought along in the confines of the finest trunks and stackable luggage. Today, luxury travel wear might look sleek and modern with combination locks and lightweight software, but the importance placed on luggage and the success of the industry has done anything but dwindle.
Before it became the most famous luxury brand worldwide, Louis Vuitton launched its first product in 1858, a trunk made of Trianon canvas. As the first of its kind to have a flat top and bottom, making it stackable and more easily transported. This piece became the stepping stone for a plethora of patterns, materials, and combinations and amounted to Louis Vuitton’s iconic luggage costing upwards of three thousand dollars, grazing the upper-storage bins of first-class flights and Instagram pages for the world to see. Following Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Goyard, Hermes and Prada gained recognition for their work with luggage, with similarly structured pieces. Their luggage collections have evolved over the years in terms of style, material and updated designs, but their popularity remains constant.
Luxury has taken on a new meaning in face of a technological boom, and sophisticated luggage brands like Rimowa and Monos have revolutionized the industry with built-in USB ports, heavy-duty locking clasps and metallic wheels. These inventions coupled with the everlasting popularity of luggage have led to success in the industry, even in the face of a stagnant luxury market. While the luxury goods sector grew by barely a percent last year, the luggage industry enjoys a steady annual growth rate of roughly 3.7 percent. Conglomerates have noticed this trend and are acting fast, including LVMH’s acquisition of an 80 percent stake in Rimowa for $640 million, following Samsonite's purchase of Tumi for $1.8 billion. This is all an impact of increased travel which is continuously on the rise, parallel to the booming luxury luggage industry.
What you carry with you whether it is on a plane, on a roadtrip or over your shoulder on a walk to class, is just as much a part of a look as your shirt or shoes. Bags and luggage are a staple that everybody owns and maintains, and luxury brands keep this in mind while leveraging utility, class and fresh trends. Gucci’s recent drop of the GG Luggage is a prime example of how a classic pattern can be reimagined in the form of a duffle, and is making headlines and dents in credit cards.

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