It’s a dreary time I find; one is at the baggage reclaim at Gatwick airport, other bags look like one’s bags; scratched thick plastic, ubiquitous logos. ‘It might be mine’ you say to yourself in your head, not realising how depressing that thought is at the time; that one’s luggage has all the individualism of a Wal-Mart uniform.
Unfortunately, having nice luggage seems to be an idle dream. With more and more people flying to far flung destinations, increasing the chances of loss or damage to their personal belongings, one is more likely to see industrial plastic and hard wearing metal on the luggage roundabouts than any elegant, likely-to-look-old-after-one-flight colonial throwback suitcase.
This is a great pity. Even the most basic luggage of yesteryear was attractive and hard-wearing. My Samsonite on the other hand has lasted, but it has dated terribly. One of the most depressing parts about travel for me is having to look at my slate grey lump of a case.
One of the manufacturers I drool over is Globe Trotter . A firm which began making its luggage in the early 20th century, when the use of personal staff was in decline, and the need for sturdy, lighter luggage arose, Globe Trotter has experienced a renaissance of late perhaps because of the famous names that are now seen to be sauntering away from airports in dark glasses wheeling a Globe Trotter case behind them. The appeal? Globe Trotter combines classic and practical elegance with a good combination of traditional and modern technological manufacturing methods. Put simply their fetching cases are built to last.
Their Original collection cases, available in a number of colours, feature the classic Vulcan fibre and leather corner details, making the case not only attractive but also rugged. My favourite collection is the Orient. These cases, in a beautifully lacquered chocolate brown, are the epitome of subtle individuality; the Urushi lacquer applied to the cases actually strengthens them further and is apparently scratch resistant. The bright blue Cruise edition and the suitably colonial-looking Safari collections are also worth mentioning although they look a little less masculine than the Original collection or the Orient.
Globe Trotter luggage is not cheap, but then they are hand made by a team of skilled craftsmen at a factory in Hertfordshire. They will last a long time and they only look better with age which is not something which can be said of run of the mill aluminium or plastic cases. If you really cannot stretch to their prices, then companies such as the Arts and Crafts Home may help. They are one of many vintage luggage sellers selling good quality vintage suitcases and bags for very reasonable sums considering the craftsmanship and durability, not to mention aesthetics. One can stand apart from the crowd with fine-looking, durable luggage. Who knows, one might even be given a free upgrade one day.