As countries around the world begin to open back up to US travelers, many of us are dusting off our passports—and maybe discovering that they have expired. If you’re in need of a renewal, skip the mugshot-like drugstore photo experience in favor of a stop at the new Rimowa Passport Studio in New York City. Opened on June 16 at the luggage brand’s sleek SoHo location, the studio was designed to create the ideal conditions for taking the photo that will be with you on all your travels for the next ten years.
Rimowa’s first-ever passport studio was always intended to be an integral part of the Prince Street store, which itself just opened last July. Because of the pandemic, however, the brand decided to hold off on launching the experience until international travel was once again a possibility. “For us, this new location is an exciting opportunity to continue growing the US market and exploring innovative ways to connect with our audience on different aspects and touch points of modern travel, particularly during this time of more limited mobility,” said Emelie De Vitis, chief marketing officer of Rimowa, in an announcement about the launch.
Located in the back of the 800-square-foot store, the private, self-service passport studio is set inside a futuristic silver tube equipped with adjustable seating, flattering lighting, a closable door and a touch-screen user interface that gives customers complete control over the creation and selection of their 2×2” portraits. Once you start the process, instructions on the screen walk you through some of the dos and don’ts of passport photos (don’t wear a uniform or camouflage, for example, and do maintain a neutral facial expression); subsequent screens show you exactly where to line up your face and eyes, and allow you to do as many retakes as needed. Two photos are then printed on the spot, and digital versions are sent to your email to have on hand for future reprinting needs. The service is complimentary and no appointments are needed.
While at the Prince Street store, make sure to check out the “floating” window display, which showcases some of the over 200 individual components that go into crafting a Rimowa suitcase, and the vintage pieces—including a 1940s wardrobe trunk—on loan from the 123-year-old company’s headquarters in Cologne, Germany. While no purchase is necessary to enjoy the passport photo experience, don’t miss a look at some of the newer additions to the retail line, including suitcases in seasonal colors like bamboo and mango, and recently launched soft goods and accessories, including briefcases, messenger bags and computer sleeves.