One-On-One With RIMOWA Chief Brand Officer Hector Muelas On Global Campaign With Roger Federer, Virgil Abloh, Nobu Matsuhisa & More

For its first ever global integrated campaign in honor of its 120th anniversary, LVMH-owned luggage company RIMOWA unveiled a series of compelling films featuring cultural icons—all of whom travel with the brand—such as tennis player Roger Federer, Off-White founder/Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director Virgil Abloh, model Adwoa Aboah, South Korean designer and Dior Men Director of Jewelry Yoon Ahn and world-renowned Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. The films touch on each icon’s personal experiences with travel and what it means in their lives, while maintaining the integral ethos that “no one builds a legacy by standing still.”


“For 120 years, RIMOWA has been a leader in quality, innovation and craftsmanship, creating a product that’s loved cross-generationally for its ability to aid in the pursuit of inspiration and discovery through travel,” began Alexandre Arnault, CEO of the brand. “As we look to the future with our heritage in mind, we want to celebrate that mission of relentlessly seeking perfection through action. It’s the shared mindset that both RIMOWA and its most iconic travellers demonstrate in our pursuits.”

Roger Federer’s film was shot in Lucerne, Switzerland, his birth country. Director Karim Huu Do focused on the world-renowned athlete’s childhood, where he began his travels at a very young age. The conversation that can be heard in the background is reflective of a conversation the he had with his father, taking the first step towards his success, packing a suitcase for a journey into the seemingly unknown, later resulting in his becoming the greatest tennis player the world has ever known. Each subsequent film is equally as personal, equally as moving, equally as impactful. To discuss the campaign and the brand as a whole, Haute Living sat down with Chief Brand Officer, Hector Muelas.


Congratulations on an incredibly impactful campaign. Can you tell me a little bit about how it was conceptualized?

Thank you so much. First and foremost, I must give the majority of the credit to our CEO, Alexandre Arnault, with whom I work very closely. Launching a campaign is always a very fragile moment. We started thinking about this when we realized it was the 120th anniversary of the brand. RIMOWA has a very rich history and strong DNA but it has never been communicated properly. A lot of the communication focused on the product features and what makes the suitcase, in terms of quality and craftsmanship, but we never talked about RIMOWA, the brand. The point of the campaign was to articulate the heart of the brand. It’s a great moment for us to take a step up and leverage our community [like Roger Federer, Chef Nobu, Virgil Abloh and Adwoa Aboah]. They’re not just brand ambassadors, they’ve actually been traveling with RIMOWA for years. We wanted to tell their stories, their journeys, their shared mindset. And we also wanted to communicate the history of the brand. From the beginning, RIMOWA started by creating suitcases for people who were traveling to accomplish things. They were suitcases for doctors, architects and artists. People who needed to travel to do things and affect or change the world. That’s a really powerful message that’s part of our history that translates now into Roger or Virgil or Chef Nobu. Travel is essential for them to accomplish great things and it’s such a part of their ongoing story. So we realized it was the perfect moment to tell their stories.


How did you choose the subjects to include in the campaign?

The prerequisite for a lot of the things we do is having an organic relationship with our brand. The second important thing to us is that success and ambition are very different today and they means different things to different people, so we wanted diversity. And I don’t just mean culturally. I mean diversity in storytelling. And the third thing that was important to us is finding people that represented the idea of mastery and the shared the mindset that to become a master at something, it is a never-ending journey and you never stand still. You have to continue going and you have to continue traveling. We felt that the people we chose were great encapsulations of that mindset. They all share that idea that you have to keep going if you want to leave a mark in the universe. Those were the real principles and on a practical level, we looked at the areas that the brand traditionally and organically had a role. Food, for instance, has always been an important world for us, and that intersection of lifestyle, music, fashion and sports have also created the universe for the brand.

What does it mean for you and for RIMOWA to be part of LVMH—one of the biggest luxury groups in the world? 

LVMH builds brands. They care about emotional returns as much as they care about financial ones. It’s as simple as that. There are great companies out there, but that’s what they are: companies. They are run by millions of different factors. But LVMH are long-term thinkers and are interested in building brands that are going to last and outlast. They are building legacies. That takes courage and expertise. I love helping to build brands and this is one of the best places in the world to do that. They have the most impressive brand portfolio in history, in terms of brands that convey quality and craftsmanship with storytelling and DNA; they’re brands that are here to stay.

RIMOWA has tapped into the idea of what luggage represents, not just its pragmatic ability to transport items from place-to-place. Can you discuss that?

I think it has motivated by a lot of things. First off, the number of travelers has increased significantly and continue to grow exponentially. The products that are part of your ecosystem are therefore going to matter now more than they ever did before. Suitcases have become cultural symbols. You definitely want your suitcases to say something about who you are and what you stand for. Though that behavior is becoming mainstream, RIMOWA has always believed that. Rimowa has always been that suitcase of choice for people that travel often, that appreciate design, that appreciate where our products are made, appreciate that idea of timelessness and quality. It’s a behavior we are very acquainted with already that’s now becoming more mainstream.

RIMOWA has also created some amazing collaborative products with Supreme, FENDI, etc., as well as a one-of-a-kind piece with Pharrell. Can you talk about that a bit? 

Pharrell is a great friend of the brand and part of our community of friends. He’s also a good friend of our CEO. Like all fun things, it just started with a conversation of, “Wouldn’t it be cool to do this?” and our CEO immediately got the wheels in motion and we made that one-of-a-kind piece. It’s one of the things RIMOWA can do by virtue of having the expertise in-house and owning the factories in which we produce our products. We can do really special products. I anticipate more of that coming soon, because it’s really one of the things that makes our brand unique and a cool way to contribute to the community and culture in meaningful ways, while also playing into our expertise and skill set.

For more information, please visit the brand’s website. All photos courtesy of RIMOWA. Check out the films online and at key US city airports, including New York and Los Angeles.