Many companies starting in the early 1920’s faced extreme hardship and bankruptcy before ever getting their business off the ground. Unfortunately, many stayed broke and eventually went out of business. Hugo Boss was no exception, because after starting his clothing business in 1924 located in Metzingen, Germany. Due to the economic climate, he was bankrupt by 1930.
Rise to Power
Instead of giving up, he set up a new business, and in 1931, joined the Nazi Party. Because of Hitler’s rise in power, Hugo’s business also flourished. He became the chief supplier of uniforms for the many military parties of the time. But once Hitler and the Nazi Regime was defeated, he was fined 80,000 marks. Though he died in 1948, his business survived and even thrived. In August of 1997, it was revealed that the company produced uniforms for the Nazi army through the use of forced labor from France and Poland during World War II. After Hugo Boss hired an historian to research and document the company’s history, they pledged in 1999 to reimburse the former slave workers.
A New Era
After this era, Hugo’s grandchildren took over the business in the early 1960’s. Instead of keeping the “old” style of suits, they revised their marketing and production strategies to target the younger generation with trendy suits and quality material. Because of this, they out-sold the competition, and within a decade, had beat out all the competition. This success took them across the Atlantic in the late 1970’s, where the success kept on coming. Celebrities, such as Sylvester Stallone, were sporting the new suits, bringing in more business. Hugo Boss had finally created the image of the powerful and successful professional to sell their suits, which was important for moving away from a dark past.
Changes and Revamping
Throughout the years, Hugo Boss grew and revamped their company to reflect the changing styles and trends of society. For example, after the “yuppie” era of the 1980’s, customers began demanding less formal suits and other clothing types. Styles started reflecting a societal change towards family oriented activities and values, making Hugo Boss change right along with it. But it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that they began selling watches, ties, sunglasses and other licensed accessories, as they revamped their company to be “lifestyle oriented”.
Hugo Boss watches are similar to other quality watches, in that they are simplistic, elegant, and a bit edgy. These are appropriate for any occasion, including being at the office, which matches their clothing line. While they do carry a line of women’s watches, they specialize in fashions for men, so the limited selection of watches for women may be a turn off for some.
No one can really say for sure what will happen in the future, but if the past says anything at all, it is that Hugo Boss will continue to be innovative and trendy for many years to come. While they have a dark past, they are not that way anymore and are now a respectable company.