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MEET THE CRAFTSMEN: AREK SLAWIKOWSKI, PRODUCTION MANAGER

Always on the go, Slawikowski on overseeing the manufacturing of Globe-Trotter’s iconic cases, his favourite pieces over the years, and how he likes to spend his down time.

PHOTOGRAPHY: KENSINGTON LEVERNE

My job at Globe-Trotter is to manage the production line.
I receive orders from my factory manager and then spread the jobs throughout the section. It starts from cutting, and ends with inspection and packing up, and I look after every single stage.

I’ve been at Globe-Trotter for about 12 years and have been a manager for the past eight.
I’m from Poland originally. I ended up coming here because my cousin, who was working for Globe-Trotter, called me about a job that was going in the factory. I had one week to make my mind up and I decided to go for it. I hardly spoke any English back then, only ‘yes’ and ‘no’, so I pretty much learned English in the company. My first job in production was making the suitcase lids. I’d put them together, the frames, lids and corners.

There aren’t many companies around that do the kind of things we do at Globe-Trotter.
Our guillotine is an original one and it still works well. Some of the riveting machines are 70-80 years old and they still work. It’s something rare that you can’t really find these days. I like it.

If people don’t know much about Globe-Trotter they can’t imagine how much work is involved in the production but there’s so much detail.
A lot of the case is handmade. Every single stage, of which there are about seven, has got something interesting about it. The stage I probably like best is when the lid and body come together, when you can almost see the finished product.

There have been quite a few collaborations I’ve liked over the years.
One of them is the Sophie Hulme collaboration. Then there’s the James Bond case, of course – I liked the aluminium version. I also liked the Maison Margiela case, where they printed a vintage design on the outside of the case to make it look old. That was something really original. Recently we collaborated with Charlotte Olympia, which was great, I think we should do more collections like that in the future.

Outside of work I like to spend time with my wife Monica and our four-year-old son Oliver.
Other than that, I used to play football and I like travelling and seeing lots of new things. When I go abroad I don’t like to sit around the hotel, I like to explore – I can’t sit by the pool all day. At work I have to do admin sometimes, but mostly I’m on the shop floor. I can’t be sitting behind a desk all day, it’s not in my nature.