Globe-Trotter has been handmaking luggage from vulcanised fibreboard since 1897, but for most of that time, customers have had to buy off the shelf. Then, in May 2014, the brand opened a flagship store in Albemarle Street, Mayfair, and a bespoke service was born – but a recent collaboration aims to inspire the creative juices of clients keen to have a Globe-Trotter like no other.
British-based designer Christopher Jenner, who designed the flagship, was given a brief to “push the traditional Globe-Trotter manufacturing facility into hereby unexplored technologies and processes, while illustrating the seemingly endless possibilities of its bespoke offering,” Jenner explains. He decided to challenge the surface integrity of vulcanised fibreboard by turning the brand’s North Star monogram into a fractal pattern and then layering it inwards, creating an effect similar to an ordinance map. The red, white and blue colour scheme is an expression of the brand’s British heritage and is called the Union (from £5,550, made to order, first and second pictures).
For those keen to create their own suitcase there are three levels available (which take 4-6 weeks): Made to Order (21in suitcase, from £1,570) enables customers to choose the colours of both vulcanised board and leather trim; Bespoke (21in suitcase, from £2,160) allows for any multiple of boards, leathers and stitching (one client specified a pink lid, blue sides, black base with yellow straps and red handle, for example); and Design and Build (price on application). This ultimate level offers clients the freedom to specify not only colour, but also the size and fit-out. “It’s likely that we can accommodate any request,” says chairman Jeff Vaughan, “but we always try to stick to our core DNA, which is vulcanised fibreboard.”
It is unlikely that many private clients will cause Globe-Trotter’s craftspeople to create an entirely new technique (Jenner’s design involves laser cutting), but it is hoped that the Union Collection will be a useful source of inspiration for anyone booking an appointment in the brand’s Bespoke Lounge. “It was crucial to me to design a suitcase that would truly inspire customers to become designers,” says Jenner. And if not, they can always order their own version of his.