When Hugo Boss began his clothes factory, fashionable suits and perfume were not on the agenda. These days, Hugo Boss is a well recognized universal style empire with a chain of stores in 102 international locations, more than 5000 shops and an annual turnover of over half a billion dollars. However, it was not always so good for the man whose business created one of the world's most trendy men's clothing lines and now also features Hugo Boss cologne along with additional men's accessories.
Hugo Boss began his clothing business during 1923 in Metzingen, where it is even now based, a little municipality south of Stuttgart, Germany. But, due to the economic climate in Germany at the time Boss was forced into bankruptcy in 1930. Undeterred, Hugo formed a new company and during 1931 became a member of the Nazi party. Along with the advance of Adolf Hitler in 1933, Boss's business also started to thrive as he became the formal supplier of uniforms to the SA and SS guards.
With the defeat of Nazism in 1945, Boss was accused of being sympathetic to the Nazi cause and was denied the right to vote in Germany and forced to pay a fine. He passed away during 1948 but his company survived and in 1953, with the need for SS uniforms no more, the business turned its direction to making suits. The timing was ideal, as the male style industry was just establishing itself and through the 60's and 70's Boss suits formed the level for quality, fashionable menswear.
In 1985 the business was floated on the stock market as a consequence the biggest shareholder is currently the Marzotto textile group. In 1993, exactly seventy years after it was founded, Hugo Boss launched its initial cologne, as a result setting up a department of the business which has gradually grown to be an important area of business for the company.
At present there are two major clothing lines - Hugo Boss and Hugo. The Baldessarini brand, named after the chief designer Werner Baldessarini (who left in 2002), was discontinued after the release of the spring/summer collection of 2007. Baldessarini is now a standalone business division which concentrates on a more prominent image than its 2 sister brand names. It sells, similar to the other Hugo Boss brands, garments, footwear, fragrances along with accessories but left Hugo Boss after the Spring/Summer 2007 collection had been dispatched to boutiques. This is due to the newly launched premium Boss line, Boss Black Selection, outselling Baldessarini. Baldessarini fashion was recently sold for approximately 9 million euros (Aug. 2006) to Ahlers AG, a fashion brand holding company. Werner Baldessarini continues to design the collections; he will also be in charge of marketing.
In addition to suits, over the years Hugo Boss has branched out into shirts, ties, tuxedos, underwear, footwear, sunglasses as well as a variety of mens cologne and womens fragrances.
Today's sub-brands for men include: Boss Black/Boss Black Selection, Boss Green, Boss Orange, Hugo, and Baldessarini. For women: Boss Black, Boss Orange (announced in July 2005 for Spring/Summer 2006 launch) and Hugo. Also part of the brand are Lifestyle
All fragrance brands (Hugo, Hugo Boss and Baldessarini) are now owned by Procter & Gamble.