Ready for Takeoff: Tropical, Hawai‘i-Inspired Luggage from Lei‘ohu Designs

Vacay in style with the Hilo label’s gorgeous lei, shell and flower patterns.


Planning to do a little jet-setting this season? Make sure to save room on your packing list for some travel gear from Hilo label Lei‘ohu Designs.


The Hilo label’s tropi-cool suitcases, travel bags and accessories, featuring illustrations of Hawai‘i flora and fauna (including endemic species), lei and other cultural elements, let you take a bit of the Islands with you wherever you go.


Designer Chauncy Santiago created the line after her operations gig at an ecotourism company got put on hold during the pandemic. “I had also broken my leg, so I was stuck at home with a lot of free time on my hands,” she says with a laugh. “I started drawing and getting into digital art.”


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Groovy Pua Melia Cabin Luggage, Groovy Lei Travel Backpack / Photos: Courtesy of Lei‘ohu Designs



Her first few products—phone cases featuring silhouettes of lei—were such a hit that she quickly realized there was a demand for everyday accessories that celebrated the Hawai‘i lifestyle.


Her travel range started with a sleek black weekender tote, made out of a lightweight, water-resistant material, with clever features including a trolley sleeve and a bottom shoe compartment. “I took all my favorite bit and pieces from the luggage I’ve had over the years and put them together in one,” Santiago explains.


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Shell Makeup Case, Groovy Pua Passport Cover / Photos: Courtesy of Lei‘ohu Designs



The mix now also includes chic vegan-leather backpacks in shell, moon and lei prints. And there are smaller accessories, including passport holders, makeup cases with adjustable compartments and toiletry bags with built-in hooks for hanging. We’re especially loving the new retro-inspired patterns in ’60s and ’70s hues.


The show-stopping roller suitcases are sure to elicit envious glances from fellow travelers. Available in two carry-on sizes, they boast a hard-but-lightweight polycarbonate shell exteriors, adjustable telescopic handles, inner pockets and built-in locks.


Just be sure to order them a little early—made on the U.S. Mainland in small batches to minimize waste, the suitcases take around two to three and a half weeks to produce. You can even customize colors or add a name if you like.


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‘Iwa Cabin Suitcase, Kahakai Weekender / Photos: Courtesy of Lei‘ohu Designs/Katelyn Ingersoll


The brand’s own name, Lei‘ohu, holds special meaning for Santiago. “It’s actually the beginning of my middle name and can also be translated in Hawaiian to mean adorned with lei. When you receive a lei, it’s such a beautiful moment filled with love and happiness. I wanted to be able to offer that feeling, that reminder of home, every day., @leiohudesigns