In 2003, Victor Sanz joined TUMI, the leading international brand of travel, business and lifestyle accessories, as an integral member of the design team, In September 2016, he was appointed Creative Director, and will continue to launch the Tumi brand vision forward through innovative product design. Victor has been able to bring a multi-disciplinary approach to create the next generation of Tumi products. Victor’s diverse experiences provide him with the unique ability to infuse the right combination of technology and fashion into each new product category.
What do you predict will be the next big travel trend?
In the short term, as the world recovers from the pandemic, we will see reconnection trips happening. People will travel to see family and friends, whether it is short or long haul. We are poised to see a short-term increase in travel frequency and duration, as people may want to spend more quality time at their chosen destination. For business travel, it is likely we will see these reconnection trips happening too. However, I foresee that in the longer term, some non-essential business travel may be cut back as people have learned they can work effectively through digital means. We’ve navigated this new world and have successfully adapted.
Equally, I think that the trend of local exploration will continue as people make the most of their time at home to rediscover and explore their own countries and cities through day trips and weekend getaways. We’ve seen how people have really embraced these shorter trips and as a result we’ve developed and created bags to suit these changing habits like our new Alpha Bravo Spruce Capsule which features 2-in-1 convertible bags.
In the end, people inherently social and we will always thrive on and seek out human connection. This is enabled and enhanced by travel, be it local or global, so this will always be a part of us. One thing is sure – going forward there will be no “normal” but only “new.” At Tumi, we will continue to evolve, push boundaries and respond to how our customers interact with the world.
How has the travel luggage market changed over the last year?
Travel has changed and our customers’ lives are more complex today. People are taking shorter trips like day trips, weekend getaways. At Tumi, we are developing products that answer the needs of this new behavioural shift. We have bags that turn into two, some that have hidden secondary bags for your grocery shopping and some that expand or shrink to match the need or purpose. We are designing to simplify life on the move and provide freedom from worry, frustration, and distraction – something we all need more than ever.
How did travel restrictions and the pandemic affect Tumi?
Last year has made us even more creative. We had to think even harder about the changing habits of our customers and how we will respond to them. We learned new things and tried some things that we would have never got to try. I feel that we have come out of this stronger and more focused.
The pandemic altered how people travel, at least temporarily. While the Tumi heritage is in travel, we make bags and accessories to elevate all journeys whether that’s long-haul travel, the daily commute or a weekend getaway. This allowed us to be well prepared for the shift in people’s movements.
Tell us more about Virtual Store project…
The Tumi Virtual Store is a great example of how we are responding to the changing circumstances and the continuous digitization of the world. We are migrating and expanding ways to connect with our community. We want to be wherever our customers are, allowing them to communicate with us in ways they have not experienced before.
We asked ourselves how we can create something that is tactile and experiential in the digital space. The Tumi Virtual Store is the perfect embodiment of this idea of migration and evolution for the Tumi brand. It gives our customers the best of Tumi in the palm of their hand – product, fun content and social engagement.
On the product side, we implemented a 3D function to allow visitors to see bags from any angle. We also used Augmented Reality (AR) technology to allow the customers to see a bag in its own environment and experience its actual presence and size. For a designer, it is a dream come true to realise this type of product interaction in the digital space.
We also wanted to add an element of fun and interactivity, so we built a Magic Mirror interface where you are able to place yourself within the Virtual Store and share a video selfie with your friends on social media. Finally, we created an Instagram-based adventure game where, as you race through a forest or across the city, you can control your vehicle using facial movements to collect Tumi bags while avoiding obstacles along the way. We had a lot of fun creating this and hope everyone has just as much fun playing it. In the end, the motivation behind the Tumi Virtual Store goes back to the essence of Tumi: to move forward, push our own boundaries, and find that new environment for ourselves.
Style or functionality? What advice would you give to customers buying new luggage?
There is absolutely no reason that you cannot have both. Tumi is a luxury performance brand and you will see that we combine fashion and performance in all our products. We don’t sacrifice aesthetics for function. Both can coexist and this really is the Tumi difference. Our Harrison and Devoe collections from Spring 2021 are a good example of very modern, pared-down designs with this incredible functionality and hidden features. The Harrison Ridge rucksack has a gusseted side pocket that discreetly houses a USB port for charging your electronic gear on the go – just one of its many features. On the Devoe Meadow, a clever side zip opening allows you to move the water-resistant water bottle pocket from the inside to the outside of the bag to free up more space.
My advice to customers buying new bags or luggage is to find something that looks great, feels good on (or to carry) but that also provides that function so that you can be present and worry-free during your journey.
And how do you think luggage is different today?
At Tumi, we’re always innovating and exploring new technologies that improve and refine our products. In our luggage offering, we marry the idea of technology and innovation with sustainability. We strongly believe that you don’t have to choose one over the other. Sustainability has always been core to the Tumi brand and for us it starts with design that migrates beyond a singular, seasonal function. Tumi is built to last and built to repair – we design products that don’t need to be replaced as they are exceptionally durable. We are also developing recycled materials for our bags and luggage that adheres to our rigorous testing standards. This season we are innovating with tough and durable recycled materials in both soft side and hard side luggage for our Merge and V4 luggage collections.
We’re also excited to be pushing the boundaries of performance and luxury with the launch of our latest Premium Collection, Tumi Max. This is a completely new medium for the brand with cutting-edge designs created with consolidated layers of stitch-able aluminum sheet, supportive material and protective layers. The interior is accented with elements that tie it back to the exterior for a sleek, cohesive look. Tumi Max will be available as an International Expandable 4 Wheeled Carry-On and Continental Expandable 4 Wheeled Carry-On in a lustrous Silver colorway.
In our iconic 19 Degree Aluminum offering, we recently introduced the Rolling Trunk, which provides a completely different packing solution to suit a new traveling attitude. The beauty of the Rolling Trunk lies in its versatility. It has innovative collapsible interior dividers that allow you to pack in a highly organized fashion or simply convert it to one spacious and deep packing space like a portable closet. We’ve also introduced the Russet Ombre colorway to the 19 Degree Aluminum lineup. The artisanal effect has been achieved through exquisite craftsmanship and a unique, dip-dye process. In line with trend forecasts for the season, we are continuing to push this premium collection forward with new fashion elements and interior accent highlights that match the exterior.
Why is Tumi’s Alpha one of the more popular luggage collections?
Our Alpha collection is a celebration of everything Tumi stands for – design innovation, engineering, functionality, and performance. In 1983, Tumi introduced our signature Ballistic Nylon, a material that revolutionized the travel market. We then added all the patented functionality that we are well known for and gave birth to the Tumi Alpha collection that shaped the brand over the next three decades.
Our latest update to the range, Alpha 3, moves the brand forward by elevating the collection that represents its foundation, adapting it to the changing world and incorporating learnings from the past decade.
This season we introduce a new silhouette, the Packing Backpack, to the Alpha 3 range. Ideal for simplifying travel, this new piece makes it possible to carry only one bag that meets both business and travel needs – it’s just the right size for long weekend road trips or quick jaunts. We are also introducing a new premium and innovative material to this iconic collection with Carbon Fiber, combining true Tumi DNA with select power-enabled styles featuring a USB port.
With the Alpha 3 collection, timeless styles and inclusion of the newest and best technology, offer our customers best-in-class products that stand the test of time and inspire the next generation of travelers.
What kind of new features is Tumi introducing this Spring/Summer 2021?
We are always innovating and exploring new technologies that improve and refine our products in both aesthetic and functional ways. We are also responding to evolving habits, especially during this moment in time.
A great example is the Alpha Bravo Spruce Capsule that we just launched. Our Alpha Bravo collection is 10 years old and we thought now was a great opportunity to create something special. We looked at the world and asked ourselves: how are people operating now? How have they migrated from 10 years ago? How have they evolved? We concluded that the world is more complicated than ever before. People have additional needs. So, we created this collection of convertible 2-in-1 bags. For example, the Paratrooper Backpack has a detachable tote zipped into the front pocket. So, if you happen to do a bit of grocery shopping on your day trip, you are covered. Or you are going out for a quick coffee and only want to take the most essential items you can detach a crossbody bag from the Recon backpack. To top it all of, the Alpha Bravo Spruce collection is made with recycled nylon fabric, in line with our sustainability initiatives.
We are expanding our sustainability products this season across a number of collections such as Merge, Devoe, Alpha Bravo and Tumi V4. Look out for the signature Navy Camo print appearing in a few collections utilizing post-industrial recycled materials.
This Spring we are also embracing a city-minded aesthetic and the idea of simplicity and optimization with collections like Harrison and Devoe. We are taking to heart this idea of migration – moving from one place to another, capturing the freedom of movement between work, travel, and the great outdoors.
Finally, the 19 Degree Aluminum Rolling Trunk, as previously mentiond, was just introduced in Holiday 2020. It provides a completely different packing solution to suit a new traveling attitude. The beauty of the trunk lies in its versatility. Its innovative collapsible interior dividers allow you to pack in a highly organized fashion or simply convert it to one spacious and deep packing space. Perfect for the place-for-everything and throw-and-go packers alike, simply use each shelf for different items or carefully store your favorite shoes. Whether you live out of the trunk on open-ended journeys or utilize it as a stylish storage option, this flagship design offers something for anyone who values technical precision and luxe experiences.
In your opinion what does the Tumi brand stand for in its Spring/Summer 2021 collection?
The essence of the Tumi brand is that we are always moving forward. It’s about pushing boundaries, constantly evolving and exploring how people interact with the world. With that in mind, when I started thinking about this Spring 2021 season, the idea of migration felt like an appropriate way to describe what we are doing. Migration as an idea of moving to a new place. Not just physically but also in a metaphorical sense where, as a brand, we are constantly pushing forward and evolving. Just as people move from one place to another over long distances, we embrace the journey that has gotten us here, while also looking towards the future. You can see this idea reflected in this seasons’ products but also in the Tumi Virtual Store that we just launched.