Travel sharp, work smart: Émigré is the brand looking to elevate the on-the-go experience for modern professionals
Revolving around one key principle – style and function without compromise – the label’s products are noted for their contemporary lines, muted colours, and pared-down aesthetics, features that ease and elevate motion when on the road
In 2022, a period when movement across the world still came with its hurdles and uncertainties, Ralph Thoma made the daring step of launching a collection of functional, stylish clothes and accessories angled towards today’s travelling professional. Named Émigré – a word that the team defines as an enlightened traveller who blurs the world of work and life, understanding that curiosity, making connections, and seeing the world enriches one’s life – the brand caters to today’s travelling professional, whether that be for the long-haul or the daily-work commute.
Though founded during a period when speculation and predictions said that business travel as we knew it was over, Thoma argued that global work wasn’t so much finished, per se, but that desires and values for the professional on-the-go were already evolving.
‘New solutions were required; we came along to address that, through how we feel, how we dress, and how we move,’ Thoma states on The Accent, the label’s online editorial platform.
Even before the pandemic, he further argues, business travellers wanted to move away from the usual stiff suit-and-tie look, and more towards fluid, versatile products that could help maximise the multi-faceted, rewarding experience of conducting work abroad – itineraries that didn't just comprise meetings in the boardroom, but also included moments beyond that, whether heading to dinner with new collaborators or going to a part of a city that one hadn’t truly seen yet.
‘Even if the old "business class", or even business travel in general, never reaches pre-pandemic levels again, those of us who do continue to move for work will be doing so because we desire it – because we relish in the ride as much as the business end itself, and understand how travel works to inspire and expands our worlds,’ he continued.
Seeing this desire and gap in the business travel space, he – along with an international cadre of experts in the fields of technical and tailored apparel – took the plunge to start Émigré, with the label focusing on a few core principles: creating adaptable products that wouldn’t compromise on style or function; enhancing every journey for today’s travelling professional; and, ultimately, championing the value of face-to-face connections, a notion imperative to work and travel.
Noted for their contemporary lines, muted colours, premium materials and fabrication details, and pared-down aesthetics, the intention behind each product is not just for it to work easily with other items, but so that it can help modern-day travellers move seamlessly from country to country, climate to climate, airport to meetings, hotel to bar, elevating motion and connection and enhancing those small, human elements when on the road.
Though subtle and discreet, it's the functional details that help distinguish Émigré; all products are injected with practical details, and each is designed to minimise friction while moving between different climates, destinations and occasions. This is particularly notable across Émigré’s selection of bags and accessories, items that are produced with several compartments that hold an array of small-sized essentials; hidden zippers that secure everything in place; and whose lightweight yet hardy materials facilitate non-stop motion while also protecting what’s held inside.
The Boston Bag, created primarily for the daily commute and short-haul trips, has two large sections that keep professional and personal items apart, and its zippered mesh and waterproof pocket separates clean and worn, dry and wet items. Of equal note is the lightweight Garment Organiser, a product unique to the brand and one that replaces the bulk of packing cubes with a single, folio-style unit that features smart compartments to keep your on-the-move wardrobe organised and clean. Its premium detailing, such as custom zipper pulls, and an easy-to-clean nylon twill exterior, round things off nicely.
A considered, luxe feel is also evident in the sustainable, premium and durable fabrics used. Of particular note is the semi-structured Four Season Wool Travel Blazer, a crease-resistant, water-repellent piece crafted from 100 per cent OEKO-TEX®-certified Italian Marzotto wool and whose tailored silhouette allows for a formal look, depending on what’s worn with it, but whose half-lined structure can facilitate it to be dressed down.
The Cotton Oxford Shirt, a versatile alternative to the more rigid white poplin, is intended to be worn in myriad settings – including the office and for after-hours drinks – and comes in an elegant organic-cotton blend that has stretch, a subtle feature that adds a bit of comfort when on the go, easing and elevating those moments when travel can take its toll.
Meanwhile, the Merino Crewneck, which comes in two neutral colourways – Nordic Blue and Downtown Grey – draws upon a lustrous Italian-spun merino CASHWOOL® from Baruffa, a material that allows for a complementary fit and temperature regulation, and is also anti-static and anti-itch.
Though its fluidity, sharpness and understated looks are key to its appeal, Émigré offers more than just a capsule of versatile products. It’s a venture whose ethos champions a new culture of global travel, easing and elevating the human experience – ‘the moments we find ourselves passing through... the irreplaceable experiences that we live and love to encounter along the way’ – when moving through the world.
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