A British Trip: Carl Friedrik Collaborates With Hackett

LONDON Luggage brand Carl Friedrik is collaborating with Hackett and swapping its signature burnt orange accents for a dark chocolate brown as part of a new five-piece collection.

The collection, which is set to be released on May 2, riffs on the idea of Britishness. 

“People see the British man as well dressed, a man about town. There’s a romanticism to that persona,” said Niklas Oppermann, cofounder of Carl Friedrik with his brother Mattis, in an interview.

Although Hackett has dabbled in bags, luggage has never been a priority for the brand — until now.

Carl Friedrik hackett

Styles from Carl Friedrik’s collaboration with Hackett.

“We didn’t explore the full potential that this category can bring until we met with the Carl Friedrik team and formed a connection,” said Gianni Colarossi, vice president of product at Hackett.

The teams worked together on finding materials that could work. They eventually decided to use polycarbonate shells in “blazer navy”; shiny gray lock frames; dark green linings, and dark chocolate brown trim detailing.

Carl Friedrik is on a roll. The suitcases witnessed a surge in sales after being featured on hit HBO shows such as “Succession” and “The White Lotus,” which opened the brand to a whole new segment of customers.

As a result of the TV series, the brand saw a growth of 103 percent year-over-year.

Carl Friedrik launched luggage right before the COVID-19 pandemic and it now counts for half of the business.

The brand has 19 luggage variations and 40 styles of bags. Prices range from 395 pounds for a carry-on, polycarbonate shell wheelie bag, to 735 pounds for a vachetta leather weekend bag.

Carl Friedrik hackett

Carl Friedrik for Hackett.

Although there were early signs that luggage was going to be a successful category, sales stopped due to travel restrictions during the pandemic. Instead, people were buying the brand’s briefcases.

“E-commerce was a booming category in lockdown. The problem with our e-commerce was that we were doing it for products that were not being used,” said Oppermann.

After travel bans lifted, sales of luggage soared and the brand partnered with wholesale partners such as Selfridges and Harrods, although the majority of the business continues to be direct-to-consumer.

Oppermann said selling through top retailers is “a point of validation and a feather in the cap for most brands,” and added that Carl Friedrik is exploring the idea of adding more retail. 

The brothers are considering large cities such as London, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, where their products have been selling consistently.

Theo James in 'The Gentlemen’.

Theo James in “The Gentlemen.”

Courtesy of Netflix

North America makes up 50 percent of the business; followed by the U.K. and the rest of Europe, each with 20 percent. The remaining 10 percent comes from various countries worldwide.

“Even though the U.K. is smaller in numbers, it’s the country where we have the biggest presence and where we’re most represented,” said Oppermann.

“We’re not rushing to go into any new markets as we’re putting our focus on northern Europe right now,” he added.

Besides the development of Europe, the brand wants to expand its offerings before targeting new customers and markets.

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