This Destination-Inspired Travel Brand Is on a Quest to Quell Extractive Tourism

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Luggage has come a long way over the last decade, and there is no shortage of brands offering luxe carry-ons, rolling checked luggage, and other bags with thoughtful design features meant to streamline the travel experience, from packing, security checks, the wear and tear of travel, all the way through to the dreaded task of unpacking. Within the last five years or so, there has been a surge of new luggage brands offering beautiful shells and eye-catching colorways that would make your designer handbag jealous. Many of these new entrants to the market focus on tech and gadget interfacing—travel batteries, cords, tracking devices, and other innovative features built into the bags.

All things considered, it’s especially hard to stand out in the luggage space right now, but the newly launched, destination-inspired travel brand Nex is truly a category disruptor. Nex understands that sometimes travel is about more than just getting from point A to point B—sometimes it’s about the journey, and other times it’s about the destination, but the way we choose to participate in tourism—whether domestically or abroad—is an important part of the experience that often gets overlooked.

Championing a unique approach to travel focused on cultivating mindfulness of the nature, culture, and people that we visit, Nex has built a brand ethos against vacuous travel and extractive tourism in favor of conscious exploration and self-realization—and its curated collection of suitcases, bags, and backpacks reflects its brand DNA while working to make your travels a little more ethical, sustainable, and hassle-free.

Nex Luggage

“Travel, to me, is always this part of me that every step I took helped me reinvent myself to become a better person and to overcome challenges,” Nex cofounder Jackson Wang told an intimate group of journalists at the brand’s recent launch event in O’ahu, Hawaii. “Every journey you take, you return home with more than memories. When you travel, you go out, take photos, try to understand the culture or maybe the language, and you come back home with a new perspective.”

Nex’s co-founder, Adam Luco, agrees, adding, “When you travel mindfully, it really changes who you are as a person. You start to see how interconnected life is and how our actions and our failures to act have long-reaching effects globally, geographically, and generationally.”

The brand launched in late June with its first collection, the Hawaii Edition, which includes a curated collection of premium hardshell suitcases with colorways inspired by the island’s natural beauty, including Waikiki Blue and Hanelei Green. Staying true to Nex’s guiding principle of changing the way we think about travel, the collection delves much deeper into the culture and community of its muse before launching its inaugural collection.

For Wang, Hawaii is close to his heart because it’s where he proposed to his wife. However, the Island felt doubly right fit to underscore Nex’s founding mission, as Hawaii has been subjected to the extractive legacy of imperialism, which sadly, continues today, often in the form of well-intentioned but ultimately exploitative or deleterious tourism.

Nex debuted its luggage drop in unison with Nex Up, a video series of conversations and interviews exploring the stories, cultures, and inspirations behind the brand’s destination-inspired luggage, available on the brand’s YouTube channel. In the first installment, Luco speaks with Kauii-based musician Maluhia Castillo about the ecological, sociological, and cultural trauma Hawaii suffers from thanks to a legacy of extractive tourism the Hawaiian Islands have endured.

While Castillo admitted that he was initially hesitant to partner with Nex, after learning about the brand’s mission, he was eager to help educate tourists about the importance of the importance of traveling to new places with curiosity, sensitivity, patience, and respect for the local culture and environment.

Of course, Wang and Luco understand the luggage and travel essential space is saturated, but that just makes them even more committed to doing things differently. “People have had luggage for 2,000 years—that problem was solved a long time ago,” Wang says. “We don’t want to solve that problem; we want to promote a different way of traveling.” Aside from its overarching mission of fostering storytelling, community, and mindful tourism through hassle-reducing products, Nex is also committed to not only making it easier for travelers to get out of their comfort zones and explore new cultures but also to make it more eco-friendly while promoting ethical manufacturing practices.

For example, the brand’s Million Mile guarantee allows Nex owners to travel up to a million miles with one of their pieces, and when it’s time for a new one, the brand will replace it for free. With the retired luggage, the brand will fix any broken or damaged part, clean it, and make it look shiny and *almost* new again so that the pre-loved luggage is eligible for resale at a reduced price via the soon-to-launch Nexperience program. It’s a win-win for traveling consumers and the environment.

While some other current luggage brands emphasize minimalist, sleek design in their baggage, Nex’s collection is truly next level, no pun intended. The suitcases’ interiors are designed to maximize not just space but actually usable space, with several almost-hidden compartments for delicates, underwear, shoes, and even dirty clothes for the end of your trip. Even if you are typically a careless, last-minute packer (*raises my hand*), the bags’ interior helps you easily sort things into at least one of the two halves or amongst various dividers or pockets so that function rises above the chaos of even the most procrastination-prone packer’s usual luggage nightmare.

Nex Travel Luggage

If you’re looking for luggage that elevates your travel experience, is well-crafted, sustainable, and inspires a greater sense of purpose in your travels, Nex travels solo as the number one emerging luggage brand. For a limited time, score a discounted pre-order price on Nex’s first-ever Hawaii-inspired collection.

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