Since Tyler The Creator released “Call Me If You Get Lost” earlier this year, he’s romanticized his trip even as he’s been plagued by a never-ending corona epidemic on his way to a place like Geneva. But with his music videos and live concert performances, Tyler has taken fans to the windy plains, And Tyler brought a luxury suitcase with him to carry along the way. Tyler is fond of Globe-Trotter, a British luggage brand that has been making luxury bags for nearly 125 years.
Tyler touched on Globe-Trotter to create custom Golf Le Fleur suitcases, and you’ve probably already seen Tyler walking the BET awards red carpet when he performed at Lollapalooza this year. To coincide with the launch of its high-end collection, it collaborated with Globe-Trotter to produce an extremely limited number of high-end items. In addition to the iconic suitcase Tyler carries with him, the package included in the collection is a square bag, a mini attache bag, passport sleeve, luggage tag and leather sticker.
“When we work with Hermès, Gucci, or Tiffany, we tend to make luggage that’s in their iconic color, design, or fabric. Whereas the guys at Golf le Fleur have designed an entire range from scratch all to be connected,” says Globe-Trotter’s director of partnerships Darius Alavi-Ellis. “Then they’ve gone out to all of their various partners to make it happen simultaneously. And that’s really unusual. I’ve never worked on anything like that in my career.”
Let’s listen to the interview of the Complex team who interviewed Alavi-Ellis.
How did this collaboration between Globe-Trotter and Tyler, the Creator come about?
Tyler and his team reached out to us about a year ago. I think their vision for the Golf le Fleur* range was pretty well thought out quite a long time ago.They came with a really specific idea of what they wanted to do. Tyler was aware of the brand, because he’d been a customer and had some of the items. It was awesome working with him and his team on it.
What was this vision he had exactly?
What we love about the range and what’s really fun for us is that all of the items in the range are all connected aesthetically. So like, the color of the nail polish, which came out over the last few days, is the same as the color of the corners of our suitcases. It’s also the same color of the cars in his music videos that came out during Call Me If You Get Lost. To be able to link up all of those things is really special and made the project really fun. The lining of our cases are the same leopard print that’s on all of the apparel pieces in the range. So it’s just super joined up in a way that we don’t see that often.
Did Tyler specifically share what he loved about Globe-Trotter’s luggage? It seems like he’s been showcasing his love for their style of luggage ever since his 2020 Grammys appearance?
What was really awesome for us is that the things Tyler loved about the brand are the things that we love about the brand, right? So Globe-Trotter is turning 125 years old next year. Everything is still handmade in England. Everything we make is super intentional and thought through. We’re careful and make everything with a great deal of care. The cases themselves are really hard-wearing and durable. It’s all of the stuff we would love to be able to tell everyone. But when we spoke to Tyler about it, unsolicited, the stuff that he said about the brand and why he likes it is all of the stuff that we love. He appears to be a genuine fan of the brand, which is really cool for us. He had our cases on stage at Lollapalooza and at the BET awards.
Globe-Trotter has collaborated with labels such as Gucci, Undercover, Hermès, and Comme des Garçons. How does the brand choose what partners to work with?
It’s a mix of us going out and looking for the brands or the people that we like. Partners who we think can add something to our brand and where we can bring something to them, too. Many people do get in touch with us because there aren’t many other brands like us. We own our own production and we make everything by hand. So if a designer or a brand comes to us with a crazy idea, I like to think we have a pretty good chance of making it happen because I live half an hour away from the factory. The whole senior team is in the factory all the time. It means we have a bit more flexibility to do crazy stuff than lots of other luggage brands.
When did Globe-Trotter start collaborating with fashion labels?
It’s something that’s been happening for 10 or 20 years. Historically it has been more with the likes of traditional British luxury brands or high-end French or Italian maisons. We’ve been working with Gucci for a long time, along with interesting Japanese brands like Undercover, Sacai, and CDG. Globe-Trotter is actually really popular in Japan. There’s quite a few of those classic British brands that are really well loved in Japan and we’re lucky enough that ours is one of them. So we have a relatively large business in Japan and a lot of great Japanese designers and brands are aware of us. So they reach out to work with us from time to time.
How was collaborating with Tyler, the Creator Golf le Fleur* line different from collaborating with older luxury houses or high fashion labels?
What is unique to the collaboration with Tyler is the thing I mentioned earlier. The connection between the product we worked on, along with everything else in quite a big range. Like I said, the colors of the nail polish or the lining of the suitcases connecting to all of these things. We haven’t worked with anyone that has brought so much intentional tie-ups between products that go across categories. When we work with Hermès, Gucci, or Tiffany, we tend to make luggage that is just in their iconic color, design, or fabric. Whereas the guys at Golf le Fleur* have designed an entire range from scratch all to be connected. Then they’ve gone out to all of their various partners to make it happen simultaneously. And that’s really unusual. I’ve never worked on anything like that in my career.
What other input did Tyler give throughout the design process of this collaboration?
Tyler and his team brought a really strong point of view on every component. We actually love to work with people like that. Some of the components on our pieces, everything is fully bespoke. All of the colors are custom designed to match the colors of the nail varnish. So we go away and get those leathers made up custom for Tyler. That’s a very normal thing for us to do. Same with things like lining and trim. And then some components, more functional parts like the hinges or the locks, tend to just come in a small selection of colors. That’s just a matter of asking the Golf le Fleur* team which ones they would prefer to use.
I read that Globe-Trotter only produces 215 to 300 pieces a week and still uses the same Victorian machinery it did when it was originally founded in 1897. Is this still the case today?
Yes. I love going to the factory because the juxtaposition of how we make things is really special. We have very modern technology like CNC machines that automatically do some of our cutting for us. But then the next thing in the production line is a sewing machine, which is 100 years old, that we use to sew the leather handles that goes on all of our suitcases. And to have both two ends of that spectrum being used for standard production, I think is really unusual and that’s one of the coolest things about the brand to me.
One of the trademarks of Globe-Trotter’s luggage is using vulcanized fiber, which is a material that’s typically only found in antique suitcases from the early 20th century. Could you explain what makes this material so special and why Globe-Trotter is still committed to using it despite how times have changed?
We have the patent to use vulcanized fiber for luggage globally. Nobody else can do that. And actually, if you were designing a material to make luggage from scratch today, considering things like weight, durability, and sustainability, you would come up with something that’s not that different from vulcanized fiber. It’s infinitely repairable, it’s made from a byproduct of the paper industry, and it can take any color that you want. Our production methods produce virtually zero waste and we don’t have to manufacture a huge run. We don’t need to make 50,000 suitcases to be economical. We make things one by one and that’s a benefit of working with vulcanized fiber. If you compare our cases to other high end luggage produced from aluminum or other materials, our cases tend to be lighter than any case that’s not plastic. We don’t make plastic cases. We prefer to make things that are a bit more durable. We routinely get cases sent back to the factory for repair and refurbishment that are 50-60 years old that people still use because vulcanized fiber is just a great thing to make suitcases from.
Are they covered by warranty?
Yeah, we have a five-year warranty, but we can repair anything. Actually it’s really common that many of our existing customers bought their first case in their early 20s or when they were 18 and went off to college. But they still have the same case when they’re much older in life. The cases are super durable and hard-wearing. If something does happen, because of the way we make them, we can replace or repair any component. We can change a lock, handle, or buckle really easily. For me personally, the most beautiful cases that we see are the ones that are really used, battered, or covered in stickers and scrapes. Then we refurbish them and put brand-new locks, hinges, and wheels on. So you have this case that looks amazing and old, but functions like a brand-new case. That’s a real one off and I think only we can do that. That’s one of the things we really like about the brand.
The price range for these Golf le Fleur* suitcases range from $1,344-$2,000. That may be a price sticker shock for some fans of Tyler’s streetwear brand Golf. Could you explain why it’s priced as such?
It’s made in England and they’re made one by one by hand. So that means that you’re not gonna get a suitcase for $100. But any of those pieces you bought from the Golf le Fleur*range or any of our standard ranges, could be owned for the rest of your life. If anything ever happened to it, we could repair it. And I know that that is not true for plastic luggage or luggage made of other things. So it depends on your personal philosophy. For me, I would much rather have one case for the rest of my life. On that basis, $2,000 doesn’t represent bad value actually. Besides, it’s much better for all of us if we all have far fewer pieces of luggage over the course of the rest of our life.
Is the $10,000 pink trunk previewed in the catalog also made by Globe-Trotter?
That’s not, and I believe there’s only a handful of those available. That was made somewhere else in France by someone else. I think that predates our conversations with Tyler, but you’d have to ask his team for more specifics on that.
Despite the pandemic slowing down travel last year, it seems like high end leather luggage is coming back into vogue recently. Do you think celebrities like Tyler have certainly influenced that?
I can’t speak for what celebrities have done and how that’s influenced people. But what we internally believe is that because so many people have not been able to travel for so long, at least for leisure purposes, there’s a great deal of anticipation about travel, holidays, or business trips. And that has led to people really thinking about every aspect of how they want to travel. And that tends to include what they’re traveling with. If people are looking forward to their first trip in two years, I think they are planning every aspect of it. Every single element of their trip is being given thought upfront. And I think it’s natural that people are considering the items they’re taking with them with the same level of attention.
As the Rappersmag family, we would like to thank Complex for interview.
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