Hugo Boss started his clothing company in 1924. After filing for bankruptcy in 1931, he reached an agreement with his creditors to start again with just six sewing machines. He was a Nazi and supplied uniforms to many National Socialist party organizations. After the war he was stripped of his voting rights, his ability to run a business, and had to pay a very heavy fine. He died in 1948. The company later agreed to participate in a fund created to compensate the use of slave laborers by the Germans in World War II.

However, under the direction of Eugen Holy, Hugo Boss’s son in law, the company continued and started to prosper by manufacturing readymade suits. When Holy retired in 1969, his sons Jochen and Uwe took over and soon the company became an International brand. The name was registered as an International trade mark in 1977. To popularize the name, management initially sponsored Formula One drivers and subsequently added golf and tennis events to its marketing program. In 1954 a Boss fragrance was successfully introduced. The growing company was listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

 

90s til today

In 1991 the Mazotto textile group bought the company. The fashion brands were spun off into the Valentino fashion group that was then sold to Permira, a London based private equity group. Under Permira’s ownership the company opened more stores, expanded into the United States and China, and shortened lead-time between design and sale. This strategy shifted the sales mix from 70% wholesale to 60% retail through 1041 stores, up from 200 when Permira took over. On March 18, 2015, Permira sold its remaining holding to the public, giving their clients a 2.3x return on their investment or about 2.5 billion Euros (about $2.7 Billion). Since the exit by Permira, 91% of the shares floated on the Börse Frankfurt, and the residual 2% was held by the company. 7% of the shares are owned by the Marzotto family. Hugo Boss has at least 6,102 points of sale in 124 countries. Hugo Boss AG directly owns over 364 shops, 537 monobrand shops, and over 1,000 franchise-owned shops.

 

In 2009, BOSS Hugo Boss was by far the largest segment, consisting of 68% of all sales. The remainder of sales were made up by BOSS Orange at 17%, BOSS Selection at 3%, BOSS Green at 3% and HUGO at 9%.

In 2010, the company had sales of $2,345,850,000 and a net profit of $262,183,000,[10] with royalties of 42% of total net profit.

In June 2013, Jason Wu was named artistic director of Boss Womenswear. Jason Wu stepped down from his role as artistic director of Boss women’s. His Autumn/Winter 2018 show was presented during New York Fashion Week as designer’s final collection for the German fashion house.

“The five years at Hugo Boss have been a very exciting time for me. I am especially grateful to the entire Boss womenswear team. Now the time has come for me to concentrate fully on my own label,” Wu said in a statement.

 

Hugo Boss has segmented the market by developing many sub-brands that distinguish the company. They are sold in many department stores and fashion specialty stores.

Boss Black – Men – classic clothing since 1970
Boss Black – Women – classic clothing since 2000
Boss Orange – Men – Lifestyle clothing since 1999
Boss Orange – Women – Lifestyle clothing since 2005
Boss Selection – High priced English tailored wear since 2003
Boss Green – Men – formerly known as Boss Sport – golf style since 2003
Boss Green – Women – Active clothing since 2010
Hugo – Men – European look since 1993
Hugo – Women – European look since 1998
In 2014 Boss Black was the largest segment consisting of 72% of all sales in 2014. The remainder is Orange 12%, Hugo 9%, Green 8%. Boss Black increased 8% in the past year over the previous year.

 

Hugo Boss has invested in technology for its made-to-measure program, using machines for almost all the tailoring traditionally made by hand.

 

The company is still in its original location of Metzingen, near Stuttgart, Germany. Claus-Dietrich Lahrs was at the helm since 2008 to February of 2016. Previously he rose through the ranks at such high fashion companies as Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. During his time at Hugo Boss, Lahrs was responsible for Hugo Boss, BOSS and the brand’s licenses, overseeing lines that include menswear, womenswear and fragrances.

While at Hugo Boss, Lahrs focused on own store retail sales. Hugo Boss opened 218 branches in 2012, including stores in Brussels, Toronto and Melbourne, as well as a big push in Asia, taking the brand’s total store locations to 840.

Mark Langer has been the Chief Executive Officer of Hugo Boss AG since May 2016. Current Creative Manager is Ingo Wilts.

 

HUGO BOSS PRIZE

The Hugo Boss Prize is awarded every other year to an artist (or group of artists) working in any medium, anywhere in the world. Since its establishment in 1996, it has distinguished itself from other art awards (e.g. the Turner Prize) because it has no restrictions on nationality or age. The prize is administered by the Guggenheim Museum and sponsored by the Hugo Boss clothing company, which since 1995 has been sponsoring various exhibitions and activities at the museum. It carries with it a cash award of US$100,000 and a tetrahedral trophy.

A jury of five to six curators, critics and scholars is responsible for the selection of the artists. They nominate six or seven artists for the short list; several months later, they choose the winner of the prize. In past years most nominated artists have been little known. In 1996 and 1998, the nominated artists exhibited their work at the now-defunct Guggenheim Soho, where a space on the second floor was named the Hugo Boss Gallery in 1996; since 2000, only the winning artist has shown his or her work.

 

Learn more about the brand history here: Hugoboss.com