Tumi’s creative director VICTOR SANZ talks air miles, sustainability and how to get TWO weeks out of a single carry-on
The creative director of Tumi on luggage as art
ESQ: You must have some serious air miles…
VS: Ha! I have a fair few. I travel about six months of the year, and spend a lot of time in airports. What’s cool about my job is that I get to producttest everything. So when we develop new bags, I get to see what they are like in the real world. I’m intentionally rougher with them than the average user, because I am checking to see if it is good enough. I tend to change out my bags every three days, and I travel with men’s bags, and women’s bags. It all has to pass the test. I lose loads of stuff too, by leaving it in those bags!
ESQ: So for you, standing at the baggage carousel, is sort of like market research? VS: Exactly. I like to watch how people interact with their bags and what they are using. I observe the struggles that people go through, and I try to work out ways that we can make the processes easier for people travelling.
ESQ: How central is sustainability to Tumi?
VS: Essential. When you have a product that is built to last for 20 years and be passed down generations, that is already a huge win. We don’t want them to end up in landfills. We want people to take them in to be repaired, so we looked at doing more and taking the material to the next level. We invested a lot in creating a fabric that
is made from recyclable materials and still able to meet our tough durability standards.
ESQ: Do you have a favourite product that you’ve overseen?
VS: The 19-Degree collection. When I started my career I wanted to be a sculptor, but then I found industrial design fascinating. At Tumi I have been driven by the process of travelling and testing the products, constantly asking: ‘why can’t luggage be this way or that way?’. We created the 19-Degree collection, which uses industrial manufacturing but has been created in an
artistic way. It’s the closest I’ve come creating what is essentially a functional sculpture. Yes, it’s luggage and useful, but it is also a thing of beauty too.
ESQ: How many days can you travel for using a single carry-on?
VS: Eleven to 14 days, depending on the weather. And that is without doing any laundry.
ESQ: Wow. What are the tricks to pulling that off?
VS: I use the Tumi packing cubes, which help me keep organised and keep things compact and tidy. I do little things like wear my biggest shoes on the plane, so there’s more space in the luggage. If it’s winter, then I carry my coat in my hand. When it comes to packing, the main thing is to cut everything you have in half. Lay everything out, and then cut it in half. People always think ‘what if, what if, what if…’ but the reality is that you don’t need as much as you think you do. If you do need something, then it’s always a great excuse to go shopping.
The new Tumi boutique in The Dubai Mall is now open. tumi.com
“THE TRICK TO PACKING IS TO CUT EVERYTHING IN HALF. LAY EVERYTHING OUT, AND HALVE IT”
Pieces from Tumi’s Alpha Bravo collection
ALPHA BRAVO, London Roll Top Backpack
NASSAU, Gusseted Card Case