Jason “Cheech” Hall, VICE’s director of merchandise and the driving force behind the Shorty-nominated show, Sauce Talk , is always bluntly honest. That’s why we go to him first for the best recommendations.
From buyer conventions in Vegas to vacations in the Dominican Republic, VICE Merchandise Director Jason “Cheech” Hall is frequently on the road. This holiday season, his mind is set on travel bags that seamlessly blend form and function.
Though the most hyped luggage of the moment is always nice to have, Cheech says he needs to be able to carry all of his necessities—a work laptop, several pairs of sneakers, toiletries and clothes—with ease. Below are his picks for a few travel upgrades you’ll actually want to spend money on.
Topo Designs Getaway Travel Bag
Sauce Ranking: Elite
“It’s like the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I just went to the Dominican Republic … and all I took was my duffle bag and that Topo bag, and it was elite as shit,” Hall said. “It’s insane. I love it to death. I didn’t know I was going to love it so much.”
He was able to carry three pairs of sneakers and his toiletries, hats, underwear, socks and laptop “with no problem.”
“It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but sometimes travel accessories shouldn’t be,” he said. “It needs to be tossed around, it needs to be beat up a bit. It has to be durable and there’s no pretty in durable.”
Dior x Rimowa
Sauce Ranking: Spicy
The rare exception to Hall’s no pretty in durable adage goes to the luxury suitcase brand Rimowa—particularly its latest collaboration with the designer Kim Jones for Christian Dior.
The capsule collection includes Rimowa’s “Cabin,” “Trunk,” and “Hand Case” suitcases with the Dior logo in a few different colorways. Rimowa has done collaborations with other notable designers and streetwear labels, but Hall said he was specifically eyeing the Dior drop because of its relative rarity.
Hall gave it a spicy, not elite, ranking because he acknowledged how unattainable the collab was. “It’s one of those things where it’s like, luggage is supposed to be accessible, but when it's not accessible, it’s a pain in the ass,” he said.
For those who can’t get their hands on the Dior designs, Hall said he “wholeheartedly” recommends Rimowa’s original suitcases.
Sauce ranking: Mild
For the price point and quality, Cheech said that you’re better off investing in a luxury suitcase like the Rimowa or going with a heritage brand like Tumi than buying the much-advertised Away carry-on suitcase.
“They’re way too basic for that price,” he said. “They have the name recognition, but it’s just because of the price point—that’s it. People are buying the hype, not really the functionality and the heritage.”
He also said that Away’s supposed “smart” qualities—that it has an attached battery, which allows users to charge their phones—isn’t up to snuff with other tech being used on suitcases today. “I know smart suitcases out here that actually have GPS attached, so if I lose my bag, or if my bag gets lost, I can stalk my bag. That’s a smart bag,” he said. “What they’re doing? Not so smart.”
But given Away’s growing popularity, Cheech said the brand would be well-advised to start collaborating with designers for special collections.
"If they were to do a collab with Aimé [Leon Dore] and they give them complete creative control," he offered as an example, "I bet you that Away bag will be a little bit more lux and people will feel a little bit better with buying it."
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