China has become a major market for luxury luggage over the past decade, with domestic demand increasing from $12.1 billion USD in 2006 to an estimated $62.5 billion USD in 2017, according to IBIS World.
In addition to being the world’s largest manufacturer of luggage, China is also one of the world’s largest luggage consumers. Researchers predict that by 2020, Chinese travelers will make 6.8 billion trips inside China and 200 million trips internationally. China’s rapidly growing tourism industry is set to further strengthen the demand for luxury luggage, creating opportunities for both domestic and foreign brands.
Currently, millennial travelers account for 40 percent of China’s outbound tourists. With Chinese millennials’ emphasis on individualism and lifestyle, luggage is no longer just a practical necessity. In the past few years, luggage collaborations between luxury and streetwear brands have boomed, with luggage today becoming an extension of a traveler’s personality and individual style. Below, Jing Daily lists our round-up of the top five luxury luggage collaborations that appeal to the Chinese market. The list is in alphabetical order.
In recent months, Fendi has been a buzzword in China due to reality show star Jackson Wang (王嘉尔)’s arguably iconic song “Fendiman” topping Chinese charts.
The first collaboration between Fendi and luggage brand Rimowa took place in November 2017 to celebrate Rimowa’s 80th anniversary. As Win Shang News reported, China has become one of Rimowa’s fastest growing markets in recent years. The luxury suitcase brand is steeped in heritage, having originated in Germany in 1898. In 1937, Rimowa was the first company to release an aluminium suitcase.
Chinese singer Jolin Tsai (蔡依林) posted a picture of the luggage on her Instagram, with the caption “I screamed for almost eight minutes after opening it. It’s so beautiful!”, to the delight of 2.7 million followers.
The second Fendi x Rimowa collaboration was announced on June 14 this year, and targeted Chinese consumers via the brand’s official WeChat account. Supreme fan account Supreme 007 presented a survey for Chinese consumers, asking for opinions on the new Fendi x Rimowa collab. 58 percent of the respondents showed a desire to purchase. “I love this collab! The design is much prettier than the ones with Supreme and Off-White,” one user also commented below.
According to Fendi’s website, the latest luggage will cost $2,690.
2. Louis Vuitton x Supreme
In June 2017, Supreme’s streetwear appeal was widened by a historical – yet controversial – collaboration with French luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton. Last July, Louis Vuitton opened a pop-up store in Beijing’s trendy 798 Art District, which attracted hundreds of thousands of young Chinese consumers. Within the collection, the Louis Vuitton x Supreme trunk was listed as the most expensive item at $68,500 USD.
According to Business of Fashion, Chinese millennials’ were among the most positive respondents to news of the collaboration. “I think Louis Vuitton x Supreme collaboration held one key point, which is to inject street style into a luxury brand. Of course, this type of collaboration seems controversial to real streetwear and luxury brands lovers, but anything is possible, what we need is to think outside the box,” said Media Operator Li Yang.
3. Off-White x Rimowa
June 2018 saw German luggage brand Rimowa announce its latest collaboration, this time with urban brand Off-White. The controversial luggage boasts a transparent design, setting keyboards a flutter on the Chinese internet.
On Weibo, users argue the selling point is the design, not the function. Naysayers have likened the design to that of the transparent backpacks of elementary school students. However, another user praised the collaboration, commenting, “This is really cool in terms of the name and design. I particularly like the transparent case.”
Off-White’s China journey has seemingly just begun, with the brand launching its first flagship store in Shanghai in May 2017 to cater to a growing demand from Chinese millennials. Chinese supermodel Liu Wen (刘雯) also wore an Off-White denim gown to the 2017 Met Gala, that was met with praise online by China’s netizens.
By teaming up with streetwear brand Off-White, Rimowa aims to attract young travelers. The price for the see-through suitcase was originally set at €850 (around $994 USD), but is now listed for $1,200 USD on Rimowa’s website.
4. Supreme x Rimowa
Iconic streetwear label Supreme also collaborated with luxury luggage Rimowa this year, in April 2018. Although the collection has not been released in China, Chinese Supreme fans have scrambled to purchase the luggage online.
At the time of the release, Chinese consumers based in the U.S. asked for tips for beating the virtual crowds and formulated plans to line up in front of stores in the early hours of release day. One Weibo user commented, “The first batch was already gone when I tried to place my order on the first day. Although the suitcases were restocked after 10 minutes, I still couldn’t get one.” Chinese singer Jackson Yee (易烊千玺) also posted a photo on Weibo using the Rimowa x Supreme luggage to carry his high school books. The price of the luggage ranged from $1,600 to $1,800 USD.
5. Tumi x Kith
Business luggage brand Tumi has gained popularity in China over the past two years. Chinese actor and model Ethan Juan (阮经天) was appointed as Tumi’s image spokesperson for the brand’s 2018 Alpha Bravo Spring/ Summer series, which received very positive reactions from Chinese netizens on Weibo. “My favorite actor is now presenting my favorite luggage brand,” wrote one user.
For Kith, Chinese consumers are used to being exposed to the New York streetwear brand through collaborations with other designers. Popular Weibo posts show Kith’s collaborations with Adidas, Mitchell & Ness, and even Coca-Cola. The Tumi x Kith collaboration in March 2018 combined both business and street styles, with the price ranging from $1,295 to $1,599 USD.