Top luggage designer shares tips on packing and dressing for travel

In the fast-changing world of travel, Victor Sanz strives to push the limits by blurring the line between engineering and design

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 April, 2018, 7:03am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 April, 2018, 7:03am

Gone are the days when a suitcase is just a dull four-wheeled trunk that travellers loathe to drag around. At a time when globetrotters want travel goods to be an extension of themselves, the luxury luggage market is evolving at breakneck speed. Spending a third of the year collecting stamps on his passport, Victor Sanz, creative director of Tumi, knows a thing or two about the art of travel.

Growing up as an aspiring artist and sculptor, Sanz’s penchant for art and design eventually led him to New York’s Pratt Institute, where he studied industrial design. Starting off at Kodak, it wasn’t long until Sanz realised his true passion was fashion and travel. In 2003, Sanz moved to Tumi, starting a 15-year journey with the company. Having worked alongside various heavyweights in the company, including its founder Charlie Clifford, Sanz has been a core part of the luggage brand’s evolution. During his recent whirlwind tour in Asia, Sanz shared his first travel memory, his favourite travel accessory and his tips on beating jet lag.

Tell us about your personal dressing style?

My sense of style is pretty much the same at the office and on the road. Being in the design industry, it’s all about being comfortable and feeling confident. Typically, the colour palette in my wardrobe is very simple – think a lot of black and classic navy tones. To create a personal edge, I like to inject a splash of colour into my outfits by accessorising.

Tell us about your packing style?

I’m on the road almost a hundred days per year, travelling domestically as well as to Europe, Asia and South America. One thing that I’ve learned with travelling is to keep things very simple with a minimalistic palette. Yet, it’s equally important to make sure that I have enough clothes to mix and match. So if I feel differently one day, I’ll be able to change my look.

What are your essential travel accessories?

I always travel with my sketchbook, which comes in handy when I have an idea and want to scribble it down. In terms of bags, one of my go-to products is this Ashton Morrison Backpack that I’m currently travelling with. It’s an all black piece elevated by a pop of citron tones. Not only is it’s stylish, it’s also highly functional. It has a section for all my computer needs, an anti-scratch division where I can put my sunglasses, and the hidden zipper pocket is great for keeping my passport and wallet safe.

Share some of your most unforgettable travel stories with us?

Riding bicycles at 1.00am around the Louvre in Paris, and dining at this hidden Mexican restaurant in Tokyo. To me, travelling is not just about where you’re going but whom you’re travelling with. Some of the most memorable travel stories are the ones where I travelled to a city and met old friends for dinner – not necessarily at the most fancy restaurants, but it’s about that magical moment when you had people from all over the world gathering together.

Which destinations are on your bucket list in 2018?

I would love to go to Africa. I would love to see the countryside, the colours and the people there. Antarctica is on my bucket list as well.

Can you share your first travel memory?

My family is all from Spain and I’m a first generation American. So one of my earliest travel memories was actually being on the road with my family, packing up all of our clothes and spending three months in Spain during summer. I would always remember these moments – seeing family, jumping into the car and going on road trips together.

Name a typical packing mistake that we tend to make and how we can avoid it?

Over packing. In order to avoid this, what I always do is I lay everything out, cut it in half and then spend time to really think about what you would need. Because a great part about travelling is also shopping, and if you don’t have the spare space to bring them back, that would be a headache.

Any tips on beating jet lag?

Go outside and get some fresh air. Get on schedule with your eating habits and work out regularly, as well as force yourself to get sleep even when you don’t feel like it. The quicker you reset your body clock, the quicker you’ll be able to enjoy yourself during the trip. In terms of diet, I always eat very healthy and clean once I reach the destination.

In an era where style and functionality goes hand in hand in travel, how does Tumi hit the mark consistently?

One thing that sets us apart is that we spend a lot of time studying our clients, who are from all walks of life, such as DJs, artists, entrepreneurs and journalists. We strive to understand how they live their life, their needs and lifestyle. For example, nowadays everyone has a smartphone, some travel with their tablets and business travellers are always on their laptops.

With this in mind, we have equipped some of our products with easily accessible and crushproof layers for these gadgets. Because business doesn’t stop once you leave the office. It continues on the train, on the plane, and even at the bar. We try hard to keep up with the trends and find out what are the designs that keep travelling enjoyable and stress-free.

What can we look forward to the latest SS18 collection?

This spring and summer, California takes centre-stage in our collection. We drew inspiration from the unstoppable energy and the pop of colour of the West Coast, and you can easily spot traces of the Golden State in the products. For example, the kitschy-cool vibe at Venice Beach is translated into tropical graphic prints, while you can see bold shades against dark canvases on products, as inspired by the iconic red of the Golden Gate Bridge.