Hugo Boss is best known for its ready-to-wear Wall Street suits. With a stiff, corporate style and unapproachable vibe, the brand has spent the last 50 years sitting aside from and above the eb and flow of street fashion. Now, however, the brand is diving into a new world of fashion – and they’re bringing some celebrities along for the ride. Hugo Boss is back with a new style, and they want you to know that you can #BeYourOwnBoss with an all-new look.
Hugo Boss is Back – and Better than Ever
The roots of Hugo Boss are a little controversial. A German mid-level brand, the company originally opened its doors in 1924. Their clothes were originally general purpose clothing. However, with the rise of the Nazi party – things took a bit of a sideways turn. From the mid-1930’s to the end of World War II, Hugo Boss focused their production power on Nazi uniforms. It wasn’t until 1948 when they found their niche producing men’s suits, the kind you’d wear on Wall Street. They left their dark history behind and focused on clean-cut fashion.
For the past 50+ years, they’ve been known as a stiff, formal, corporate-chic brand, but that’s all about to change. The iconic brand is working with supermodels and stars to come back as something new. CEO Daniel Grieder joined the company in 2021 after almost two decades at Tommy Hilfiger, helming the change. Last Fall, Hugo Boss hit the Milan runways with a new face, and the fashion world blinked in suprise.
The New York Times reports, “It was fashion week, and the German brand, once a go-to for urban professionals dreaming of a steady climb to the corner office, cast its jackets and slacks to the side in favor of a baseball-themed spectacle. The model Gigi Hadid opened the show, held to debut Boss’s collaboration with Russell Athletic, the active wear brand, in high-waisted sweatpants and a beanie. There was a brass marching band and cheerleaders. The K-pop star Big Matthew made his modeling debut, and an anthropomorphic popcorn mascot danced.
It was, for anyone familiar with Hugo Boss’s usual slick Wall Street-ready offering, a tad unexpected.
It was also, it turns out, Stage 1 in what the company is calling a major rebrand that reaches fruition this week with new ad campaigns and a new look.”
The new rebranding includes sleeker, street-type logos and lettering, delving into repurposed materials, athleisure blends, more casual styles and en vogue ad campaigns. The rebrand involves splitting the company into two distinct labels, Hugo and Boss.
#BeYourOwnBoss – Celebs Galore
Those new ad campaigns have brought together some of the biggest names of today. The campaign was shot by famed photographer Mikael Jansson, and includes Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, and Joan Smalls. South Korean superstar Lee Min-Ho, rapper/artist Future, and up-and-coming TikTok star Khaby Lame are also involved. And the sports world has lent boxer Anthony Joshua, tennis star Matteo Berrettini, and runner Alica Schmidt to the drive for people to #BeYourOwnBoss.
The Hollywood Reporter shares, “In tandem with the campaign, Hugo Boss says it is rolling out ‘a true 360-degree rebrand’ across all consumer touchpoints. It will feature a new logo with bolder, more graphic typeface meant to convey a contemporary look. The brand’s design direction, retail buys, store concepts and messaging is getting an overhaul as well, ‘centered on a more playful and casual aesthetic while staying true to the brand codes of dressing excellence.’ Overseeing the shift is CEO Daniel Grieder.”
In addition, Hugo Boss has teamed up with Lame for a multi-year ambassador position that started with Lame getting a spot at Milan and continues with a co-designed capsule collection.
Hugo Boss’s CEO Explains the Change
Why – after nearly 100 years – is Hugo Bass switching things up? This certainly isn’t the first time the brand has seen the writing on the wall and reversed course. Since 2018, the brand has seen their sales falling consistently. This downward slide was accelerated by the pandemic as people sought more comfortable clothing to work from home in and corporate formal became less desirable. Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street titans left their corporate dress codes in the past, and Hugo Boss saw Gen Z’s passion for fashion – and now they’ve got their eyes on a new generation of customers.
In an interview with Forbes, the Hugo Boss CEO Daniel Grieder explained why they’re making an about-face, “As a brand, you have to constantly reinvent yourself to stay relevant to customers. Hugo Boss has lost relevance over the past few years, and we are reclaiming our position now. Our ambition is to become one of the top-100 global brands, and with this, in mind, we introduced our Claim 5 growth strategy last year, based on five strong pillars: Boost Brands, Product is King, Lead in Digital, Rebalance Omnichannel, and Organize for Growth. The brand refresh is part of this strategy and will boost our brands.”
Will a more fun, funkier Hugo Boss woo Gen Z? It’s a huge gamble, considering that Gen Z is more likely than any other generation to be bothered by Hugo Boss’s sketchy past. However, they’re on the right path – so time will tell if their rebranding bet pays off.