THE BAGS THAT MARKED HISTORY
Luggages have been constantly reinvented since ancient times. Before going into the evolution of suitcases and travel bags, let’s review how it all started.
The ancient Egyptians are the first inventors of luggages. Back in the 1500 BC, Egyptians used chests and trunks made of fine wood and covered with animal fat or leather to protect them from the rain. However, they were extremely heavy and difficult to carry. After many adoptions by different countries and brands, suitcases today take various forms, sizes and materials.
Keep reading to find out about the luggages and brands that marked history.
19th century: The most Iconic Trunk for Travel Gear
In 1854, Louis Vuitton opened his own shop in France and established himself as a luggage maker. From that day, his brand became the most recognizable luxury luggage brand until today.
In 1858, he designed the first Louis Vuitton steamer trunk, distinguished by a flat trunk. In fact, at that time, luggages and trunks had rounded tops to allow water to run off. What Louis Vuitton did is create a convenient and easily stackable trunk, with waterproof materials that also allows more storage.
Since the trunk was used by people of high classes, Louis Vuitton’s son introduced in 1886, a locking system that made it impossible to pick the lock of the trunks and protect the valuable items. This lock is still being used today. Among the iconic travel bags made by Louis Vuitton are Speedy, Keepall and Noe.
1910: Plastic Transformed Luggages
Founded in 1910, Samsonite became the most popular luggage brand with non-wheeled suitcases. In 1956, the brand introduced the Ultralite suitcase, a revolutionary creation, leaving behind the wooden trunk constructions, to a lighter, stronger, structural metal. Over the years, Samsonite was always a pioneer, always reinventing its suitcases. In 1969, they launched the Saturn suitcase made from polypropylene and in 1994, they added the first zipper closure. (add a link to the guide’s materials section)
Using plastic materials such as polypropylene and later on nylon transformed the heavy trunks to lightweight, durable bags that were easier to carry around. Plastics also allowed bags to have stylish and fashionable designs, as it is easier to personalize them, with colors and patterns.
1937: The First Aluminium Trunk
Rimowa changed the creation of luggages in 1937 with its first aluminium trunk, a luxurious new travel bag that became the most iconic luggage designs of all time. It is a zipperless, durable suitcase made of aluminum-magnesium and it is really lightweight. It also comes with a rubber seal to keep the bag safe from the rain. Rimowa kept some of the old inner features, with convenient compartments yet created a more modern construction.
1975: Business Travel Luggages
In 1975, Tumi was founded with a focus on international business travel bags of different types: luggages, backpacks, briefcases, etc. They also introduced softside suitcases that had huge success in the 1980s. In fact, the soft, ultra-functional, black-on-black ballistic nylon travel bag was in particular the key to this success. Today, the company also focuses on sustainability, creating new versions of their best selling bags out of recycled materials.
2015: Smart Suitcases
Bluesmart was the first to create smart suitcases, with built-in electronics such as a USB charging port, a built-in scale, TSA approved lock, a GPS tracking system, etc. You have complete control of your bag from your phone. These smart suitcases became a successful reality due to its convenience and people’s desperation for internet connectivity.
2018: The it-bag of today
The most significant luggage creation today is definitely the collaboration between creative director of Louis Vuitton and Off-White, Virgil Abloh, with Rimowa. Together, they created a transparent polycarbonate hard trunk, completely see-through. It is made with lighter materials, an ergonomic design evolution, new wheel designs and practical storage features.