Newson packs vibrancy into Samsonite range

Samsonite, the luggage and travel products specialist, has drafted in design guru Marc Newson to help relaunch the company as a high-end, luxury travel and accessory business.

The 95-year-old American company has called in the Australian-born designer to create a range of luggage branded Scope, which will launch under its premium Black Label line later this year.

The five-piece series takes traditional, utilitarian luggage ‘to the next level’ through its structural designs, according to Samsonite. The collection, which includes upright cases, duffel bags, backpacks and shoulder bags, is made from lightweight expandable foam combined with hi-tech mesh to create ‘unexpected shapes’ and packing solutions.

Newson has designed the items to be reminiscent of Postmodern art pieces and uses experience of designing lightweight forms for the shoe industry as his main inspiration. Scope is reportedly his first luggage collection.

The items are available in a range of ‘bold’ colours – such as orange, bright yellow and electric blue – and are due to launch at the end of October.

Samsonite is considering teaming up with further designers in the future to create other luxury, iconic ranges, as part of its long-term strategy to reposition the company with a more fashion-forward, design-led aesthetic.

‘Samsonite is well-known for its functionality and durability. We want to keep those values, but develop a more emotional aesthetic, with luxury cues, to help transform Samsonite into a luxury travel and accessories company,’ says a spokesman for Samsonite.

Samsonite’s newly-appointed global creative director, accessories designer Quentin Mackay, is spearheading this design strategy. Mackay reports to chief executive Marcello Bottoli, formerly of Louis Vuitton, and was brought on board to help lead the company’s relaunch.

Mackay and his design team have created three other collections to retail under its Black Label and sit alongside the Marc Newson collection/ Vintage, Pro-DLX and X-Lite.

Mackay was previously creative director of luxury luggage group Tanner Krolle, where he led the English brand’s product reinvention as a more contemporary brand.

Samsonite/ giving the brand a lift

• US-owned luggage and consumer travel products business

• Operates under a number of brand names including Samsonite, American Tourister, Lacoste, and Trunk and Co

• Net sales of $903m (£496m) for fiscal year ending January 2005

• Flagship stores located in London, Milan, Brussels, Stockholm and Prague

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