Get to know Tumi Creative Director Victor Sanz, the man behind some of your favorite travel companions, making the best of both worlds happen one piece of luggage at a time.
Here’s an odd truth: I actually forgot I was being accorded the opportunity to meet and eventually throw in a question to Chris Pratt, Hollywood A-Lister and yes, a Guardian of the Galaxy. Don’t get me wrong though, it isn’t as if I like the guy, because going way back to his Parks & Recreation days, I was already a fan. This time, however, he only slightly lorded over by another figure that I consider a rockstar, Victor Sanz.
To the visibly unaware, and perhaps even longtime fans of the luggage and lifestyle brand, Tumi, his name won’t necessarily ring a bell, but his imprint is all over your choice of anything from the Alpha, A2, Bravo, Arrivé, Virtue, Haydon, Los Altos, Tegra-Lite, Tegra-Lite Max, and the brand’s first-ever aluminum travel collection, 19 Degree. So, imagine my delight when at the Chinese-style brunch prior to the official launch of the Tumi Loft in Pacific Place, Hong Kong, I find out that Victor Sanz was to be seated at our table.
With his hair tied back in a slick ponytail, there is a little bit of edge running through the man that has refined and updated the Tumi portfolio of products made appropriate and in congruence with the traveling generation of today. There is also no air of importance, as he was only so eager to break the ice, asking everyone at the rounded table where their dream destinations were.
For a man who has gone through significant corners of the globe, even one time figuring out how to make time for multiple destinations in multiple countries at an astounding limited time. “Thankfully, it figured itself out, or else I do not know what would have happened to me,” he says followed by a fit of robust laughter. “I’m blessed to travel the world, you know, for the brand, and I get inspired by my love for different things. A lot of times it’s not so much about the destination, but it’s about the experiences I have, having these connections, having these dinners, having these meals with people, and at times, you forget where you are because of the people you’re with, and the connections you made, and you trade all these stories,” says the New York-based creative. “When I sit with friends, we’re just like you know, trading stories on travel for example, that’s when I get inspired. Like, I go, ‘I’m going to fix that problem he talked about,’ or ‘oh, she doesn’t have this bag she has been looking for, and she really needs it.’ That starts getting my brain and going, and it’s like, ‘oh, cool, I can do this. How do I get to there?’ And then that’s where inspiration comes from, you know?”
One of the most important things for Victor Sanz, especially when it comes to his design process for the brand, is how his daydreams and conversations become reality with the help of his team. “One of the great things about the brand is that, it’s really evolving. From the very beginning, like we said, it’s all about the function, the features, the quality, and it’s not changing who it is. It’s not trying to be someone else. It’s not about looking at the world and giving the tools that the customers are asking for, and the customers need,” he says. “We do not do anything because it’s going to be trendy, you know? It’s going to be the customer’s experience in the end. It’s how it will benefit you. At the end of the day, we want to ensure that the things we put forward are the best. And they are going to have that longevity to them.”
Where Tumi really shines is how it has a firm grip on the pulse of its customer, really understanding how to perfect that journey with them. This means bridging two ends of the spectrum into one cohesive, beautiful whole. “For me, there shouldn’t be a trade off [between form and function.] Something shouldn’t be functional and not beautiful. Something—even if it’s beautiful—it should be functional,” he states.
And this sees the most truth in Tumi’s fall/winter 2019 collection, an adaptive offering that takes its seed of inspiration from the feeling of enlightenment. With a more introspective journey at play, Victor Sanz and the design team of the brand was keen to celebrate a true understanding, knowledge, and insight of the human condition, one that seeks a constant striving to pursue a deeper meaning to life and travel. Engaged by a higher learning, Tumi is able to provide its customers with freedom from worry, frustration, and distraction—unnecessary excess baggage, so to speak.
Taking us on a trip this season are its new innovations on the Tumi stronghold, such as the 19 Degree Aluminum in a lush season color, Banyon Leaf, as well as the multi-layer polycarbonate alloy Tumi V4 in Black, Eclipse Blue, and Mink, and the durable Latitude luggage, which features the Continental Carry-On to the assortment. Anchored on design innovation, engineering, and functionality, the Alpha 3 gets a sophisticated upgrade in black chrome, as well as a reinforcement of its leather rain flaps and USB power ports. For the more adventurous, the Alpha Bravo range sees welcome additions in the ballistic nylon crafted backpacks, on-trend rucksack-style pieces, and finally, crossbodies for those who like to sling their packs for more mobility and comfort. So, whichever your compass of adventure points, whether it be eternally active (Tahoe) or attuned to the urban jungle (Harrison), there is a Tumi bag or luggage perfect for you, guaranteed.
The beauty about the brand under the willful baton of Victor Sanz is being able to elicit an emotional reaction from something typically mundane. Now more than ever, people are getting into the little details of their luggages, really making sure that what they pick up and take with them to wherever their heart’s desires is a perfect fit. “We’re definitely playing within that realm of you know, they can do both things, and customers enjoy it from us. You see, the great thing about Tumi is that your needs come first, and then we make things happen,” he says. “This obsession has allowed us to really push things, as well as the brand forward. Truly guaranteeing that the journey you go through is the best one, if not most perfect one yet.