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Hugo Boss was a fascinating character, and sometimes controversial too. He was born in 1885 and lived through WWI before deciding to start his own clothing company. Now, his eponymous brand is still renowned around the world; known for its sophisticated suits, timeless fragrances and womenswear.
But who was Hugo Boss, and how did he build such an empire that has lasted decades? In our latest blog, we delve into the history of Hugo Boss.
Who was Hugo Boss?
The man behind the Hugo Boss brand was born in 1885 in Metzingen, just south of Stuttgart in Germany. He was the youngest of 5 children, and completed a merchant apprenticeship before serving in WWI as a corporal.
After the war, he worked in a weaving mill and shortly after, in 1908, he inherited his parents’ lingerie shop. Seemingly, his background was always going to propel him into fashion. In 1923, he had founded his own clothing company; specialising in shirts and jackets.
Building a business
Hugo Boss ran his business under the reign of the Third Reich, and due to the economic climate of the country, Boss was forced into bankruptcy. Luckily, he made an agreement with his creditors and was able to start again.
The Nazi Party was at its peak during the 1930s, and with the difficult business environment in Germany at the time, Hugo Boss saw an opportunity. His clothing company began producing and selling the uniforms for Nazi soldiers. Boss himself joined the Nazi Party in 1931.
This had devastating consequences for the Boss brand; after the war Hugo Boss was stripped of his right to vote, to run a business and had to pay a large fine. Subsequently, the company agreed to take part in an initiative that compensated for the use of slave laborers during WWII.
Growth under the next generations
Hugo Boss died in 1948, but his son-in-law and his sons took over the legacy. By 1950, Hugo Boss the brand was designing and producing men’s suits. By 1954, Hugo Boss fragrances were being released.
Today, we know Boss through a number of different labels; all built and sustained by the foundations laid by Hugo Boss all those years ago. From casualwear and sportswear to luxury collections, Hugo Boss the brand has continued to evolve with the times; as have his fragrances.