For those who love to add a personal touch, there’s nothing quite like tailor-made.
Every Globe-Trotter product is made by hand at the Hertfordshire factory, meaning that nothing with the company’s North Star seal of approval is considered 'off the peg'.
Nonetheless, as purveyors of good taste and quality, Globe-Trotter clients have, for many years, made special requests – a different colour here, an extra shoe compartment there. Yet it wasn't until the launch of the flagship store in 2014 – a two-storey townhouse boutique directly across from Mayfair’s Royal Arcade – that the custom-made service became an established part of the business.
Bespoke has long been the ultimate expression of personal style and for many Globe-Trotter clients it's a way of either adding to their personal collection or updating an existing case. A surprising amount, however, are directly inspired by Globe-Trotter's limited-edition collaborations, which continue to push their creative capabilities.
'For many years Globe-Trotter was all about craftsmanship and heritage – which of course is still very much part of our DNA – but now it’s moved into offering something more', explains Ben Thorne, a retail assistant who originally trained as a fabric cutter in the Globe-Trotter factory. ‘Globe-Trotter has been known as an innovator since the beginning when it introduced the use of Vulcanised Fibreboard, an especially lightweight but durable material, in the manufacturing of the suitcases and that spirit of pushing boundaries is still present today.'
A 'collaboration wall' lining one side of the lounge displays a sample of Globe-Trotter's combined efforts. There are cases that carry designer hallmarks, such as the effortlessly cool studs and skulls cases by Alexander McQueen and then there are the more unexpected outcomes, such as a suitcase lined with an intricate cityscape illustration by design bible Wallpaper*, and the heavy-duty 007 Skyfall case, complete with a handle made from a real rifle viewfinder.
These one-of-a-kind designs give clients 'an idea of what we can do,' says Thorne, 'and if they want to push it a bit further and create what we term ‘design and build’, we can offer that too.'
Bespoke, after all, isn't just about matching your luggage to your sports car or favourite shoes. Some client requests have included enormous Victorian-style steam trunks, while others like to add additional compartments for clothing, cameras or anything they desire. Design and build is at the top end of the bespoke spectrum, and many clients stick within the first two tiers. Level one is based on colour combinations, the second involves more complex detail such as stitch colour, wood finishes, lining and even choosing the lock metals.
After booking their appointment, bespoke clients spend time with the Globe-Trotter team to finalise the design. The lounge is filled with samples including folders of lining swatches, including tweeds and Liberty print florals, classic stripes and avant-garde prints from Japan.
As with all bespoke requests, however, there is always the option to go 'off-piste'. A recent client came to the store armed with a vintage map, which he wanted printed in the lining of a case. After some trial and error, Globe-Trotter managed to pull it off. 'It worked out really well and the gentleman was completely floored by it,' Thorne says with a smile, 'so that's a blueprint for whatever comes next.'
When it comes to a customer's imagination, Thorne agrees that there are 'no rules'. It is, he acknowledges, both refreshing and a vital form of feedback, encouraging Globe-Trotter to consider its collections and remain, as always, one step ahead.