The worlds of sports and luxury are merging once again as part of a wider generational shift with Rimowa and LeBron James. Rimowa’s hyper-luxury goal is to make the brand relevant to the Instagram generation of which Afirfcan American’s have outsized influence. By including King James in its latest campaign, Rimowa may be able to excel at forging culturally relevant collaborations and boost sales.
The Breakdown You Need to Know
Traveling has always been aspirational, so it makes sense that the bags we bring along on our journeys would be as well. Since James has nearly 50 million followers on Instagram, a platform that 43% of black adults use, it will be easy to promote the brand to his aspiring followers. The French luxury powerhouse LVMH acquired an 80% majority stake of Rimowa in January 201, and their luggage price tags range from $800 to more than $1,200.
Making a jump to the more utility-driven luggage market has no clear precedent and is more of a cultural aesthetic. The luxury luggage brand isn’t expecting this collaboration to be a trial sales driver, instead they want to harness James social media influence. CultureBanx found there is immense value in his combined social media reach of about 93 million people. For Rimowa, partnering with James is extremely important for driving awareness and desirability.
The global luggage market is about $31 billion, led by brands like Samsonite and Tumi, however Rimowa is carving out its own lane by making luggage more than just travel and into a lifestyle. This market is projected to increase by a compound annual growth rate of 6.72% during 2018 – 2023, according to Azoth Analytics. Thanks to an increase in disposable income, people are expected to spend more on quality luggage products and Rimowa could be a big winner of these consumer dollars.
Lifestyle, Luxury & Luggage: The company’s 27 year old CEO Alexandre Arnault decided to lead the brand’s relaunch with a new ad campaign, forged around a new set of ambassadors including James and designer Virgil Abloh along with others, according to GQ.
More luxury brands are using the cultural energy of streetwear to pursue millennial customers. This demographic represented 85% of luxury growth last year and they demand unique and novelty pieces. Last year the Rimowa teamed up with Virgil Abloh to create a pair of clear $1,000 suitcases to usher in a new era of cultural attachment and relevance.
“Rimowa is a 120-year-old brand and what we’re doing with Virgil is a great example of modernity,” said Arnault.
Rimowa isn’t the first luggage company using sports and streetwear to breathe new life into the brand. Tumi did it three years ago with Maxwell Osborne’s street savvy fashion label Public School. For James, you can catch his new ad campaign and short film with the luxury luggage brand set to launch this month.