Exclusive Interview with Michael Petry - Creative Director, TUMI


M: Merci Editor | MP: Michael Petry

M: Can you tell us more about the coming FW collection and the inspiration behind it? What are the highlights?

MP: Each season we visit a new destination and we incorporate graphic patterns and colors important to that location into the collection. The inspiration for the Fall/Winter 2016 season is contemporary Japan, and a rich color palette rooted in nature is the foundation for this collection. We had a lot of fun infusing strong prints and bold colors into silhouettes that are designed with simplicity and functional purposes, giving personality to each piece.

Some highlights include the ever-popular Tegra-Lite® assortment in new seasonal Indigo Floral and Character Print, the select silhouettes in the Tahoe assortment updated in new Forest Print and some new assortment additions: ultra-premium Landon, made from matte pebbled leather and beautifully refined hardware signature to the collection; and Haydon—a new lightweight assortment of soft, relaxed silhouettes that are both fashion-forward and functional.

M: How have you applied your knowledge and expertise on textile from fashion to design to the new collection?

MP: While this role differs from previous positions I’ve held, I believe it is important to bring your prior experiences to the next job in your career. I’ve learned that in any job, it’s imperative to be immersed in the company culture and I encouraged those I worked with to be as well. “Culture” in this case is referring to how we design—allowing an open forum for everyone to speak his or her mind and pushing creativity. It’s important to make the work environment more open and dynamic, thus making the design process more team-oriented and always collaborative.

M: You grew up in the same era as TUMI did. Is there anything in your generation that means something to both you and TUMI and are you intended to incorporate it/ them to TUMI's collections in the future?

MP: We’ve worked very hard to keep the brand’s DNA in every single product we make while updating the silhouettes, the styling and paying particular attention to every little detail and touch point. The brand continues to evolve every season. At TUMI, we are always looking at ways to elevate our product through material innovation—from various leathers, textiles, trims and hardware details.

M: Why did you move from fashion design to product design?

MP: I’ve always done accessories and I have experience in making outerwear. I have 17 years of footwear experience; I’ve probably made every style of shoe possible. Joining TUMI was a great challenge because I’ve been design and creative director for some great brands throughout my career. This was an opportunity to take on a real American brand that has a fantastic reputation. Everywhere I go, people will say “I own a piece of TUMI,” or “I know someone who owns TUMI,” which is really great to hear. My goal has been about how to make the brand cooler and get people to reach it on a daily basis and not just from a travel standpoint.

M: And your reason choose to join TUMI?

MP: I was attracted to the brand because of its reputation for making luxury goods and being known for its superior quality and durability. TUMI has a great collection of classic silhouettes that never go out of style. Those are all things that great brands are built upon. I have been a fan of the brand for a very long time. Anyone who has traveled the world as extensively as I have definitely is a fan of the brand, the quality, the style and the timeless nature of the products.

M: How will you help TUMI stand out from competitors?

MP: The brand is known for superior product quality and durability, and the classic silhouettes never go out of style. Since beginning my role here at TUMI, the goal has been—and will continue to be—to evolve the brand aesthetic by making cool product as well as to elevate the creative of the product and our global marketing appearance. In my opinion, great brands are successful when they challenge themselves to innovate and create.

We will also continue to grow our consumer base to include younger and trend-focused individuals through more casual and tech-oriented product, while ensuring that the iconic and staple features for which clients look to TUMI are left intact and made better than ever.

About Michael Petry

In June 2015, Michael Petry joined TUMI, the leading global travel lifestyle brand, as Creative Director. In this role, Mr. Petry provides the TUMI brand vision and communications, enhancement of product identity, ensuring alignment of all creative disciplines, and set the strategic creative direction for TUMI to achieve business objectives that advance the brands’ strategy. Additionally Michael provides global leadership to marketing, design, public relations, digital and ecommerce platforms, visual merchandising and store design while ensuring that the brand identity, product aesthetic and quality are consistent with the expectations of TUMI’s target customers worldwide.