Globe-Trotter – the luxury British luggage brand with its flagship store on Mayfair's Albermarle Street – is celebrating 120 years in buisness
In 1897, Englishman David Nelken perfected a technique to create suitcases out of vulcanised fibreboard. The luggage soon took off across Europe, replacing leather equivalents with the promise of being lighter and stronger. And so, Globe-Trotter was born.
Its success motivated a relocation from Saxony, Germany to England in the 1930s. Around the same time, adverts in army and navy catalogues spread the brand throughout the British Empire and it prospered in many of the colonies. However, it wasn’t until 2000 that Globe-Trotter moved to Mayfair, setting up shop in Burlington Arcade.
The main reason for Globe-Trotter’s success, however, is its strong commitment to craftsmanship. All products, which now extend to passport holders and luxury luggage tags, are produced in its Hertfordshire factory. It is by no means a large, mass-production facility but rather made up of several small teams of highly skilled craftspeople.
Her Majesty The Queen took one on her honeymoon in 1947
For more than a century, the brand has never wavered from using original techniques and machinery. Each leather strap is stitched using a harness sewing machine; the corners of the case are moulded on a Victorian press for five days to give them strength and their recognisable form; and all pieces are attached by hand to beech wood frames by a specialist carpenter.
From ladies’ vanity cases to an explorer’s expedition essential, Globe-Trotter has found itself in the hands of some very influential people. Sir Edmund Hillary chose one for his ascent to Everest’s base camp in 1953; Sir Winston Churchill used a dispatch case as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1924, and even Her Majesty The Queen took one on her honeymoon in 1947 (and still uses them to this day). But the label has rolled with the times and a younger crowd of actors, celebrities and models – Daniel Craig, David Beckham, Kate Moss – are often seen lugging one from the boot of a car into a five-star hotel or private jet.
Globe-Trotter’s time on Burlington Arcade came to an end in 2014 but, still favouring Mayfair as a luxury shopping destination, the store moved to a larger premises on Albemarle Street. This year marks its 120th anniversary, an impressive milestone that the brand is celebrating with the launch of new collections inspired by the past, present and future of the company. We can’t wait to see where they end up, be it Buckingham Palace or the mountains of Nepal.