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Hugo Boss Fashions, Inc.

suit company lines holly

In 1923 Siegfried Boss and his son-in-law, Eugen Holly, opened a manufacturing facility in Germany specializing in uniforms. Boss and Holly discontinued their uniform line in 1948 and developed men’s and children’s lines. In 1972 Boss’s grandsons, Jochen and Owe Holly, purchased the family-owned shares of the company. Even though the brothers’ experience in the clothing industry was minimal, their degrees in economics and business prepared them for their new positions. The Holly brothers divided the responsibilities of the business; Jochen Holly managed the production and administration duties, and Owe handled the marketing.

The Hugo Boss suit evolved as a strong power suit, usually double breasted, accompanied by pleated trousers. Each season the shoulder and lapel lines were slightly varied, and the suit was refabricated. The design modifications were based upon the latest style trends, but they always retained their comfort. The brothers relied on technicians each season to transform the basic suit until 1989, when they hired Baldessarini, an Austrian designer.

Hugo Boss has been successful in satisfying their customers partly because of their sampling process. Each season the company offers buyers 140 different samples. Hugo Boss continued striving to meet customer demands by adding additional lines to the Hugo Boss label. In 1981 a line of men’s shirts was added to complement the existing suit line. A sportswear division was added in 1984 to provide customers with active wear outside of work. By 1994 the Hugo Boss label consisted of three separate labels which addressed all their customers lifestyle needs: Hugo Boss for casual, Boss Hugo Boss for career, and Baldessarini Hugo Boss for the confident man. The lines were sold in several countries, including the United States, and were displayed in department stores such as Barneys New York, Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, and Jacobson’s. The Hugo Boss lines are not just merchandised in department and specialty stores but are also sold in franchised mono-brand stores around the world, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea. The company also formed subsidiaries in Paris under Hugo Boss SARL, in Italy under Hugo Boss Italian, and Tokyo under Hugo Boss Japan.

Hugo Boss produces their garments in its three factories while selectively pursuing licensing agreements. Licensed products include leather accessories to Charmant Inc., footwear and accessories to MH Shoes and Accessories, Boss Hugo Boss Bodywear to Schiesser AG of Radolfzell, fragrance to Procter and Gamble and Revlon, and Hugo Eyewear to Carrera eyewear. In 1989 Hugo Boss purchased Joseph and Feiss (previously Phillips-Van Heusen), a tailored suit manufacturer located in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1996 Hugo Boss also purchased its Swiss shirt manufacturer, Della Croce-Besazio.

Hugo Boss has employed many different channels for advertising products including sponsorships, television, print ads, and special events. The first activity they sponsored was Formula One auto racing. The company felt that associating their name with such an exciting sport would provide them with a compelling, powerful image. Hugo Boss also sponsored golf star Bernhard Inager, who represented the more classical, debonair side of Hugo Boss. Perhaps the biggest boost to Hugo Boss’s profile came through the 1980s television show Miami Vice . The Hugo Boss sports coats worn by actor Don Johnson launched a revolution in menswear. Suddenly men everywhere were abandoning their dress shirts and ties and wearing t-shirts with their sports jackets. In 1995 Hugo Boss provided financial support to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for exhibitions and educational programs for the museum. Hugo Boss attire was also exposed through print advertising in such classic men’s magazines as GQ .

Classic. Masculine. Powerful. These are all terms that come to mind when looking at a Hugo Boss suit. Hugo Boss has carefully cultivated a lifestyle image associated with influence, strength, and privilege. Their products are selectively distributed at high-end retail establishments and company-franchised boutiques in the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, England, Italy, Japan, Spain, Portugal, Taiwan, and Korea. The combination of promotional activities and distribution strategies has helped make Hugo Boss the largest menswear company in Germany.


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