Accessories, lifestyle products and travel luggage generate far more profit than sales of clothing, despite the images we see in consumer magazines.
Designers such as Kim Jones and Marc Jacobs have been instrumental in highlighting the importance of luxury accessories by forging unique collaborations with artists and craftsmen, which has made the Louis Vuitton brand a benchmark for fashion's luxury accessories. Miuccia Prada updated her family's dusty luggage brand into one of the world's leading fashion houses. But the essence of the house began with a nylon suitcase.
The art of traveling, specifically a global connoisseur who enjoys fashion and prefers to travel in style, is a growing consumer group that appreciate craftsmanship and history. British brands like Smythson and Globe-Trotter have grown from being mere heritage brands to global leaders offering the most covetable accessories.
Take Smythson for example, best known for its luxury stationary, the brand has quickly expanded into fashion accessories in the past few seasons, tripling the size of its Bond Street flagship store to showcase its collections of bags and British made leather goods.
Globe-Trotter, another British stalwart, was best known for its vulcanised fibreboard cases, but now expanded its collections with a range of accessories. Their appeal, too, has long surpassed the need for having a sturdy travel case. Recent collaborations with French Swedish artist Andre Saraiva and fashion house Maison Martin Margiela have kept its collections fresh and relevant. A Liberty print case was launched during London Fashion Week in September, highlighting the importance of its fashion credentials, when all eyes are on London's catwalks.
But for all their appeal, accessories such as these are investment pieces. Consumers, generally, don't purchase new luggage every six months. Similar to buying an Hermes handbag, many items, such as Globe-Trotters Limited Edition pieces, are made-to-order or come bespoke. In the case of Globe-Trotter, it's beautifully executed Centenary range, launched to celebrate its 100 year anniversary, remains one of the most desirable and fashionable travel items a connoisseur could wish for.