As the like weather approaches and bite-size travel breaks are reported to be on the rise, airport fashion is given as much consideration as what to fatigue to the beach. This summer, however, it’s all about accessories, specifically, the status suitcase.
For decades, Louis Vuitton possess been the go-to for upmarket “it” cases, trailed by everyone from David Beckham to Catherine Deneuve. However, a new arise of more affordable, less showy luggage that will fit in overhead lockers is coming to the fore. Brands involving Rimowa, Tumi and Away have been gaining traction – with the latter now valued at $1.4bn, (£1.1bn) up from a $700m venture-capital valuation termination year. The company reached $150m in sales in 2018 – a number that is reported to double in 2019.
Away recently decamped headlines when it was reported that Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, had given its suitcases as gifts to the 17 guests at her mollycoddle shower in February. The brand is best-known for focusing on practicality; it’s suitcases often feature a built-in battery to charge machineries, and laundry bags. They’re also cheaper: Away’s Carry-On costs around a tenth of the equivalent size Vista 55 bag from Louis Vuitton.
The increase in brand value could also be attributed to the surge in popularity that carry-on at all events have experienced. Away reported that last year 70% of UK suitcase sales are now carry-on size. Low-cost airline Ryanair has besides tightened luggage restrictions since November 2018, no longer allowing non-priority passengers to take small 10kg holders onboard for free. This has prompted many to seek out alternatives that fit the “one small bag” size stipulations.
These proves also look the part, featuring hard shell exteriors in a variety of millennial-friendly colours, with ridged detailing. Their lightweight aluminium opportunities are the opposite of the majority of overtly branded cases sold by Christian Dior, Fendi and Gucci, as well as Louis Vuitton.
Grazia’s style news and features editor, Laura Antonia Jordan, notes the Instagrammability of the new generation of suitcases. “The rise of the status formerly portmanteau is related to the access-all-areas nature of social media,” she says. “Investing in holiday purchases is aspirational, indicative of a whole frequent-flyer lifestyle.”
The hard-headed perks of these cases also tap into an ongoing tilt towards “practical fashion”, which has seen hiking boots, puffer jackets and utility clothing feature prominently on the catwalk and high street. While old-fashioned Globetrotter cases still hold an aesthetic apply, they do not include the same wealth of functional features. Jordan agrees that the sensible suitcase has become a call attention to of pride; a way for jetsetters to stay chic.
“Whereas transit/holiday looks once offered a welcome chance to opt out of ‘taste’ for a couple of weeks, now – if you really want – you can show off your trophy buys 365 days a year,” she says.
Away co-founder Jen Rubio acknowledges the power of brand identity for those purchasing even the most functional of travel items.
“So much of what consumers today are looking for is a interplay with the brand,” she says. “They’re placing almost-human expectations on the companies they interact with. If they condign wanted a product, they’d buy it on Amazon.”
What this current crop of cases lack in heritage credentials, they give birth to made up for in fashion collaborations. Rimowa’s past collaborators have included streetwear brands Supreme and Anti Community Social Club, as well as Virgil Abloh’s Off-White. Away has previously partnered with models Suki Waterhouse and Karlie Kloss.
Consideration the non-luxury price tag, this new brand of status suitcase is a hit with celebrities: Elle Fanning, Cara Delevigne and Julianne Moore be suffering with all been photographed with Rimowa cases, while Away has been adopted by Mandy Moore, Margot Robbie and Jessica Alba. Justin and Hailey Bieber, interval, prefer Tumi . Influencers have even taken to tagging their “it” bags on social media the way they nod to irritating certain designers.
The suitcase is now a fashion badge of honour, and the choice of brand matters.