This rattan luggage design puts a modern spin on ancient Chinese basket-weaving techniques!

When I saw this backpack and suitcase set, my first thought was, Wow, this is beautiful, but is it sturdy enough for practical use? I was pleased to learn that the eye-catching basket-woven exterior was made a durable material called rattan, which had been used to make luggage 100 years ago in China.

Aside from being an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic, rattan offers several advantages as a material. It is breathable, shock-absorbent, and molds comfortably to the shape of your back. The white cloth material, Lycra, is very flexible, changing shape to fit all of your items. Instead of playing Tetris with your clothes, trying to squeeze everything into limited space, the Lycra covering stretches to accommodate your needs. Imagine being able to close a full suitcase without pressing your full body weight on top of it.

Last year, the Regression travel bags took home the bronze award from the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). However, I still have concerns about its practical use. I used to travel frequently via plane, and my suitcase accumulated many scuffs and dents over the years. Even if the Regression backpack and suitcase could withstand the light jostling of an airplane cargo hold without breaking, I believe that even a small amount of dirt would tarnish from its pristine beauty. In short, these bags are too gorgeous for my personal needs, but I would be very jealous of anyone who owned them.

Designer: Zidi Chen of Shantou University