Go Away With … Aimee Kestenberg

Aimee Kestenberg x 640

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
April 5, 2016

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, designer Aimee Kestenberg moved to New York in 2007 to attend Parsons School for Design at the New School.

“I am very proud to say that last year, I earned my U.S. citizenship!” says the 29-year-old entrepreneur. “(I return home) to Australia to be with my family during the holidays. It’s always really special and it’s summer time (there) during Christmas and Hanukkah!”

For more information on Kestenberg and her designs, check out her website or follow her on Instagram.

Q. How have your travels impacted your luggage/handbag line?

A. My brand DNA is based upon combining unique, modern design with a focus on ergonomics and functionality. I started designing luggage after shopping around and realizing there was nothing available to me that was unique, lightweight, durable, fashionable and affordable.

Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much that you felt compelled to incorporate it into your work?

A. I’ve traveled to many places that have inspired the many prints and custom exotic designs I apply to my luggage. For example, the python prints, custom python quilts and molded luggage are all inspired by snakes in areas I have explored, such as Australia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. Australia. For an amazing island vacation, I recommend Airlie Beach, an Australian resort town on Queensland’s Whitsunday Coast. Take the daily island tours to each of the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child? And did you love it … or not so much?

A. Surfers Paradise in Queensland Australia. I spent many school holidays there as a child with my family and it features the perfect balance of beach, adventure and delicious food.

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?

A. To be conscious of your surroundings. I use a zip-top, cross-body bag when traveling to hold my wallet and passport for security. When going out in the evening, always be conscious of drinks and bottles not being pre-opened. If in a foreign country, always take some hotel business cards at check-in so that you have it to pass to a cab driver in case you get lost.

Q. Which cities that you’ve traveled to have some of the most fashionable citizens?

A. Paris, France, Florence and Milan, Italy, New York City, Sydney, Australia.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. I’d love to visit Japan and Switzerland to experience the cultures. I have also always really wanted to drive around America and explore this great country!

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. I never leave my house without my sketch pad and camera — usually my iPhone. I’m always taking in my surroundings and doodling ideas and designs everywhere I go, as well as snapping lots of pictures along the way.

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

A. I am always ready for a bowl of spaghetti Bolognese or a trip to the spa!

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?

A. I do at least a couple of hours of research when headed to a new destination. I use TripAdvisor to research hotel and restaurant reviews. I find them to be the most accurate. I will also try to find local write-ups on new restaurants or things to do in the area outside of the touristy norm.

Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A. The worst was when I was 18 and my bottle of water was spiked with something at a bar on vacation in Queensland, Australia. I was luckily able to make it back to the hotel safely, but was very sick for the remainder of the trip. The best was my first trip to Paris with my husband, Sean, last year. We work together and were there for my appearances on QVC France. Regardless of it being a business trip, it was somehow the most romantic and special trip we have ever had together. It is my favorite city in the world for shopping, sightseeing, eating and everything in between. Now I understand why they call it the City of Love. It’s contagious!

Q. Many of us would love to travel comfortably and chic. But most of us just end up being comfortable–and not so chic. What are some of your tips for looking and feeling good on flights?
A.  Drink lots of water! Hydration is key to healthy travel. I always travel in the same uniform: black leggings, a comfy t-shirt, a black zip up hooded sweater with a leather jacket over it for a pop of chic, and cool- but always comfortable- sneakers. Luckily for us, athleisure is the biggest style trend for 2016! It’s finally cool to be casual. I always travel with my carry-on, a small cross-body & my Tamitha travel backpack and make sure to have the following with me on the plane: clip for my hair so it doesn’t get oily on the flight; sugar-free gum – gum helps your ears not to pop on take off and landing; a protein bar or some dried fruit or nuts nuts to snack on if needed; my own headphones because I am kind of germ phobic; mini hand sanitizer; small tube of hydration moisturizer and lip balm; my phone charger and mobile power bank; toothbrush and toothpaste – it’s always refreshing to brush before landing on a long flight; change of socks – I wear these during the flight; and my Aimee Kestenberg passport organizer wallet.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. Phi Phi Islands, Thailand.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. The Berkshires, Massachusetts – It’s a 2 ½ hour drive from New York City.

Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. Paris.

Q. If you’ve ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?
A. Melbourne, Australia. Being with my family on the holidays is always really special and it’s summertime during Christmas and Chanukah there!

Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. California.

Q. What would be your dream trip?

A. Flying first class around the world with my family.

Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. I’m all about experiencing culture, so I will always find the most authentic restaurant in each country I visit. Some of my favorite things to eat include croissants in Paris, pizza in Milan, spaghetti and fish in Florence and smashed avo for breakfast in Australia.

Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. I have a different favorite in every country/city. When traveling to Europe, I generally love to find cute, authentic boutique hotels however when traveling within the USA. I generally like Starwood or Hyatt Hotels. If you want to splurge, you can never go wrong with the Four Seasons in any location.

© 2016 JAE-HA KIM

Comments (2)

  1. Aimee Kestenberg says:

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