German luxury luggage brand Rimowa commemorates its 125th anniversary with the SEIT 1898 touring exhibition, currently hosted at the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai. Following successful showcases in Tokyo and New York City, the Shanghai edition, open to the public from December 16 to January 3, 2024, will be the longest-running installment of SEIT 1898 to date.
Featuring over 100 cases from Rimowa's archives and those of notable figures, SEIT 1898 explores the cultural and technological forces that have shaped the brand's iconic luggage. The Shanghai edition exclusively presents privately owned cases from influential figures in the Chinese cultural landscape, including Jay Chou, Daniel Wu, Mc Jin, Henry Lau, Wang Chuqin, Shuhei Aoyama, Oscar Wang, and others.
Alongside the retrospective, Rimowa introduces “Terminal 1898” — a dedicated space featuring a lounge, restaurant, and workshops that allow visitors to immersively explore the brand’s culture.
The Jing Take
“SEIT 1898 is not only a visual representation of Rimowa’s rich history and legacy; it’s a celebration of all the brand’s facets,” says Rimowa CEO Hugues Bonnet-Masimbert in an interview with Jing Daily. “The many scenes are an experiential journey through the brand’s DNA, showcasing how travel has evolved over the course of the last 125 years and the ways Rimowa has evolved with it.”
The brand archive presented at the exhibition holds great significance for Rimowa.
“Ideas sometimes begin with a deep dive into our archives. "SEIT 1898 gave us the opportunity to do that,” the brand’s SVP Marketing & Product Emelie De Vitis tells Jing Daily. She also discloses that many of the beautiful cases showcased in the retrospective might make a comeback soon.
Leveraging local twists is another highlight of the SEIT 1898 exhibitions. As De Vitis shares, “We’re excited to feature the privately owned cases of friends of the brand who represent the city and China in a variety of ways.” In addition to objects on display, a WeChat Mini program, an audio guide, and “Terminal 1898” are among the initiatives tailored for the Shanghai audience.
This localization approach demonstrates Rimowa’s agility in maintaining its relevance to various regional markets.
“We’ve always had a deep connection with our loyal clients in the region who also value Rimowa’s innovative spirit. The post-pandemic period, with the ease of travel restrictions, presented us with a great opportunity to connect even further with local consumers,” says Bonnet-Masimbert, sharing his positive outlook on the Chinese market.
Despite the ever-shifting market environment, Rimowa embraces challenges with an innovative spirit that is deeply rooted in the brand. “Travelers’ needs are constantly evolving, and we always work to meet them. That’s been part of Rimowa’s DNA since its earliest days,” De Vitis comments.
She points to the evolution of Rimowa's renowned collections as an example, saying, “Change in travel habits is ultimately what led to the introduction of aluminum in 1937, polycarbonate in 2000, and then the Never Still range in 2020.”
While technologies evolve with travelers’ needs at various times, Rimowa navigates the luxury landscape with consistent strategies and missions.
“Staying flexible and not being afraid to adapt has only strengthened our relationship over time, and that’s something we will undoubtedly continue to do,” says Bonnet-Masimbert.
This approach has also been demonstrated in marketing efforts such as launching a new colorway of the Rimowa One Bottle Case in celebration of Chinese New Year, the executive shares with Jing Daily.
In the competitive luxury luggage sector, Rimowa maintains its leading position with a focus on the highest standards of craftsmanship, quality, and materials. As Bonnet-Masimbert puts it, “Rimowa cases are crafted to be lifetime companions."
Presented by Rimowa.