LONDON — Katie Lyall and Charlotte Stockdale make for the ideal focus group for anyone looking for answers about travelers’ needs.
Working as stylists, consultants and running their accessories business, Chaos, they have traveled the globe — and often found themselves stuffing clothes into overpacked suitcases at the airline check-in counter.
Now that travel is starting to seem like a reality again, Lyall and Stockdale have come up with a new travel capsule in partnership with Rimowa.
Their aim has been to make the travel experience more upbeat, with cabin luggage featuring paint drips all over the top; funky luggage tags in the shape of pills, eggs or apples, and a harness with large compartments to hold those overpacked suitcases together.
The harness, which is shaped like a backpack, also offers additional space for essentials — no more searching into packed totes for a passport or desperately trying to zip up an overstuffed carry-on at check-in.
“That was one of the most exciting parts of the collaboration: Inventing something like the harness that doesn’t otherwise exist, and which we feel could really enhance the travel experience. With the amount of travel we do, we’ve done the research for the user,” said Lyall, adding that the two put a lot of focus on function, and also wanted to ensure the suitcase itself was still visible under the harness.
“At first, we were looking at doing a suitcase cover, but then we thought, ‘Who on Earth wants to cover their Rimowa suitcase? Isn’t having a Rimowa suitcase the whole point?'” Stockdale said.
The rest of the collection highlights the irreverent, humorous approach that Chaos, which is best known for its leather phone cases, has become known for.
The luggage comes in two color options, black and khaki or white and yellow, and features a graphic pattern resembling paint drip. The idea was to meld the rigidity of the signature Rimowa suitcase with something more “fluid” and reflective of the Chaos flair for mashing together bright colors and patterns.
A set of leather tags is included in the range, inspired by 12 cities the creative duo has visited, or wants to visit. There are also chenille-embroidered luggage charms in the shape of some of their favorite symbols.
“We chose the egg because we’re British, and the pill because it’s the symbol of Chaos — and also because we’re British. And there’s also an apple because it’s somehow such a lovely symbol of happiness, hope and health,” the duo said.
Prices range from 135 euros for the charms to 690 euros for the cabin-sized luggage.
Collaborations have been at the core of Chaos ever since Lyall and Stockdale launched the brand in 2016, creating what has become one of fashion’s most popular phone cases.
They’ve joined forces with brands ranging from Fendi to Disney and Uniqlo — defying market traditions that usually advise against working across different price points.
“Brand integrity isn’t always based on price point, and I think that the definition of luxury has changed so much. Some of the most expensive, luxurious items are so available to anybody, so what does that mean for what luxury is to a consumer? We love random retro garages in America, but also an afternoon in Chanel is wonderful. That’s how we consume now,” Lyall said.
“We love shopping, we love fashion, we love accessories and to us our world is bigger than just our brand. Collaborations help build a broader story of who we are and give you freedom to work on something you don’t normally make. We make travel accessories, so this opportunity with Rimowa can tell the story in a bit more detail.”
Stockdale added that working collaboratively with other brands has become the way forward for the industry as a whole: “Ten or 15 years ago, you didn’t really see it so much. But now there’s a relaxing of those old, very strict fashion rules where no one shared anything and it was all quite competitive. I think that’s a really emotional and nice move for the industry generally.”
The plan for Chaos, which has been seeing “good sales and good audience growth” on its e-commerce platforms throughout the last year, is to continue with its collaborations and for the moment, push the Rimowa tieup, which is launching on both brands’ e-commerce platforms.
An event at Rimowa’s new store at the Beijing mall is also slated for later in May.