The winter holidays are nearly here, but this year, they’re probably going to look a bit different than years’ past. With the pandemic still raging, some of us will not be traveling at all, while others might decide to take road trips closer to home. Away, the luggage startup, is closely observing these trends. The company’s design team has created a collection of new products perfectly designed for our travel needs today but also versatile enough to be used in the future, if and when travel returns to normal.
Away is best known for its first product, a hardshell suitcase with distinctive ridges, designed for carrying on board. But there’s been a steep decline in air travel, the company’s design team has been designing a range of soft luggage that are perfect for car trips. The hero of the collection is a duffle called the Everywhere Bag. It comes in three sizes and two materials, water-resistant leather or nylon. “While the hardshell is connected to planes, people tend to think of duffle bags when they’re planning road trips,” says Cuan Hanly, SVP of product design and merchandise. “Soft bags collapse when they’re empty and they’re easier to squeeze into tight spaces.”
Hanly and the design team have been working to iterate on the design of the Everywhere Bag, based on focus groups and customer feedback. The most innovative design tweak is that the bags open all the way around, like a clamshell suitcase, with two compartments on the side. This makes it much easier to pack and access items than in a traditional duffle bag, which generally opens that the top, meaning you have to dig to find items at the bottom. The large and medium bags come with a dedicated padded laptop compartment, so you don’t need to carry a separate bag for your computer. These bags are thoughtfully designed to fit into your post pandemic life. They’re equipped with sleeves that slide onto the handle of a suitcase, so you can bring them on the plane as your “personal item.” And the medium bag, in particular, could easily work as a gym bag or an office bag.
If you’re staying put during the holidays, Away has created a mini Everywhere Bag that’s effectively a small purse with a main compartment large enough to fit an iPad. It comes in shiny black or brown leather with lots of pockets inside along with a key fob, so it’s ideal for toting around on walks or trips to the grocery. Away’s design team has invested heavily in creating a range of bags that are designed for everyday life. This holiday season, it is releasing several backpack silhouettes, belt bags, messengers, totes, and even pet carriers. But Hanly says the brand is still focused on travel. Each of these items is designed to be neatly integrated into a suitcase, thanks to luggage sleeves. And the brand has created a design language that extends across all the products: The horizontal lines on the soft luggage mimics the ridges on the hardshell suitcases. “Even before the pandemic, customers wanted to be able to quickly transition from work to the airport for a quick trip,” says Hanly. “We wanted to create products that allow them to more easily move between these spaces.”
If you’re looking for small gifts and stocking stuffers, Away has got you covered. The brand has released a selection of leather goods in bright, cheery colors just in time for the holidays, including jewelry boxes, wallets, and passport holders. They’re designed to be useful right now, while tapping into your wanderlust. “We believe that travel will, eventually come back,” Hanly says. “And we’ll be here for travelers when the time comes.”
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