For Camper, it was never just about the shoes.
The Mallorca-based footwear company, founded by the Camper family in 1975, has gone on to become an innovator in the luxury shoe space, with a slew of unique concept stores and eccentric shoe offerings. As the company has evolved, it’s taken a cue from other high-end brands that have established themselves as lifestyle brands — not just fashion companies — by opening a line of boutique hotels in the world’s most fashionable locales.
A Camper concept store in Paris. A Camper concept store in New York.
Luxury travel has been on the rise in recent years, and recent data from the luxury consumer price index shows that travel spending has increased by 5 percent overall, according to Luxury Daily. Even airlines like Etihad have started to underwrite opulent offerings, serving as a sponsor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in May and offering premier traveling accommodations for models, photographers and designers.
Camper founded its first hotel in Barcelona in 2005, followed by Berlin in 2009. According to Susana Marin, general manager of Camper, the destinations were selected specifically for their rich cultural and artistic histories, and the hotels were designed by Fernando Amat, the designer behind Camper’s first store in Mallorca, in an effort to maintain an aesthetic across retail and hospitality. Everything from the rooms to the halls, terrace, bar and lobby were designed with the Camper look in mind.
An interior shot of Camper Barcelona
A suite at Camper Berlin.
Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, senior analyst at Forrester Research, said that luxury fashion brands and hotels are highly complementary, so it makes sense for them to expand into hospitality. Deciding to develop the hotels came after years of the Camper family traveling around Europe to promote the shoes. During this time, they gleaned insights about luxury hotels and international travel, identifying ways to adapt them for their own.
Among their observations: Fashion brands have increasingly joined the hotel trend, such as the Armani hotel in Dubai, the Bulgari resort in Bali and Missoni Edinburgh, as well as smaller scale hospitality efforts like the Dior suite at the St. Regis New York.
“Hotels can have a luxury reputation so it makes sense,” Mulpuru-Kodali said. “You expect a great experience when luxury brands lend their names to hospitality. Hopefully they execute well too.”
In a larger sense, the hotels are part of a larger strategy by Camper to deepen its focus on customer service and its brick-and-mortar offerings as it determines a more robust digital strategy, Camper CEO Miguel Fluxá said at an event at the Fashion Institute of Technology in April.
“I believe that online, at least in our case, cannot exist without offline,” he said.