The world has changed dramatically in 75 years. We’ve made leaps and bounds in technology, allowing us now to have infinite volumes of information at our fingertips at a moment’s notice. Artificial intelligence and robotics that blend seamlessly with the human body are no longer far fetched concepts. Styles have changed across the board, everything from clothing and hairstyles to how we speak to each other. The materials we use in everyday life have evolved and are lighter, stronger and more efficient than ever before. We’ve explored the world and our environment in areas previously deemed inaccessible or impossible, and in the harshest of environments on the planet. We can now travel across the world in a day, as opposed to months and years. Countless companies have been created and disbanded, but a handful have withstood the test of time and change. This year, Thule celebrates 75 years of being a leader in automotive cargo carriers, bags and outdoor gear.
75 successful years is a worthy cause to celebrate, and there’s no better place for a party than Manhattan. Michael Callaghan, Thule’s merchandising design manager, took on the task of picking a location to transform into an interactive display case. Root studios in the historic and diverse neighborhood of Chelsea was chosen, blending bare red brick walls with polished concrete floors and a transitioned white studio wall was selected to be Mike’s canvas to mirror Thule’s rugged yet refined products. For the past 3.5 years Mike has been responsible for the look and feel of the brand to the public- from all the Thule stores to tradeshow booths, event setups and promotional materials in both North and South America. The entire back wall of Root was lined with bags, luggage and baby haulers for employees and guests alike to interact with. A DJ booth divided the two sections, with “Since 1942” proudly projected above the DJ. The transitioned wall was utilized to project videos of Thule products in action, from snowboarding and surfing, to mountaineering and parents running with performance strollers. Since Mike comes from a snowboarding background, 10 Barrel Brewing beers were served in Thule themed Mizu reusable stainless cups. 10 Barrel is a brewing company founded in Bend, Oregon where a deep powder day on the mountain means company ski breaks or a swim on days that are too hot. Mizu is former professional snowboarder Jussi Oksanen’s company who’s mission is to reduce the impact on the environment from single use plastic water bottles.
To showcase Thule’s automotive products, Mike decided to feature vehicles which are equally as versatile as the products that would be mounted on them. Five vehicles in total would line the main floor of the studio, four in white and all fitted with period correct Thule products sourced from anywhere Mike was able to procure them from- Ebay, Craigslist, friends of friends… whatever it took. Our good friend Brett of Sloan cars graciously lent a white on black 1974 Carrera to be fitted with a vintage rack and inverted bike carrier, and two Fuji road bikes in a matching color scheme. Alongside the Porsche, Sam Dobbins’ GTI-RS project wore it’s signature lowered roof bars and two white on black State Bicycle co fixed gear road bikes, a nod to the Vossen x State bicycle collaboration from last year. Alloy + Grit magazine added the rugged credibility with an iconic Land Rover Defender 90, fitted with a late 90’s Thule ski box and surfboard carrier, still intact were the stickers from various mountain resorts and ski companies. Adding modern but equally offroad capable flair, a 2018 Audi Q7 was fitted with a colormatched Thule Motion XT cargo box and hitch mounted bike rack and graphite metallic Vossen CVT wheels. Placed right in front of the Thule marketing videos projected on the wall, was Brett’s personal red 911T fitted with, no surprise here, vintage Thule crossbars and ski racks, snow chains, and vintage Rossignol Skis whose red logo perfectly matched the original red paint of the Porsche. Thule makes cargo solutions for nearly every make and model of vehicle, but these were picked for a reason. The Porsches are as capable on the track as they are on long road trips. Sam’s GTI-RS has toured the country and been driven from Vegas to Miami (packed full of camera gear) twice since it’s completion. Land Rovers are iconic and sought after for their ability to conquer the most daunting of terrains. Audi’s all wheel drive systems allow confidence in adverse climates and conditions while never sacrificing comfort. If you compare them to Thule’s product lineup, you’ll see a similar set of traits. Thule’s products are designed to be equally functional and stylish whether in a cityscape or in remote lands.
Thule has withstood the test of time and change through never forfeiting practicality and durability for fads or cheap materials. The same products produced back in 1942 can be used today, 75 years later. Products that are simple and tough, it will be no surprise to see Thule’s products from today still being used in another 25 years- when Thule will celebrate a century allowing the world to “Bring your life” wherever they desire.