Hugo Boss is a luxury fashion brand associated with wealth, elegance, and status - but this fashion icon has done all it can to hide its dark business past from the public eye. This is the story of how Hugo Boss supported Hitler.
Hugo Boss is a luxury fashion brand associated with wealth, elegance, and status. This is the story of how Hugo Boss supported Hitler, and continue to violate human rights even today. The Hugo Boss story all begins when a boy named Hugo Boss was born in Germany in 1885 in Metzingen. In 1923 Hugo Boss became a member of the Nazi Party. According to Henning Kober, the company managers were Nazis who were all admirers of Adolf Hitler.
BERLIN DECEMBER 2022: Hugo Boss is a luxury fashion brand associated with wealth, elegance, and status – but this fashion icon has done all it can to hide its dark business past from the public eye. This is the story of how Hugo Boss supported Hitler, made the uniforms for the Nazis, and yet somehow re-branded and built a fashion empire.
Welcome to the INSANE story of Hugo Boss & the history of Hugo Boss’s luxury fashion business empire. We’ll look at: How did Hugo Boss begin? Why is Hugo Boss’ history controversial? Did Hugo Boss make nazi uniforms? Why did Joe Lycett change his name to Hugo Boss? Why is Hugo Boss so successful? What business and marketing lessons are there from Hugo Boss? Plus lots more in this business mini movie about the story of Hugo Boss!
The Hugo Boss story all begins when a boy named Hugo Boss was born in Germany in 1885, in Metzingen, who developed an interest in the fashion business from an early age… He wanted to create his own fashion company – and before long managed to turn a small local shop into a whole factory, Hugo Boss’ apprenticeship as a merchant made him a great salesman, and before long, the company’s clothing became fairly well known around Germany.
However, after World War I Germany had been ordered to pay a huge amount of money in reparations. The debt was set at 132 billion gold marks, the equivalent of about $270 billion US dollars in today’s currency. This began to cripple the German economy.
As the US, UK, and France enjoyed extravagant spending on behalf of Germany’s debt, a time known in America as the Roaring 20s, Germany struggled to pay off the war. As a result, German citizens saw high inflation and business closures – and therefore even though Hugo Boss’ clothing had been pretty popular, his company began to suffer.
No amount of good reputation could help the fact people were struggling to afford his work. And then, the Great Depression only made Germany’s bleak economic situation even worse – food became scarce, jobs were nowhere to be found, and some families even burnt their money to provide heat during the harsh winters.
Hugo tried to save his business, but was forced to lay off most of his work force and shut down his factory. Eventually, he filed for bankruptcy, and all Hugo Boss was left with were 6 sewing machines. It seemed like the Hugo Boss clothing brand would be nothing but a short-lived dream… But of course, we all know that’s not the case – in present day Hugo Boss is a multi-billion dollar clothing empire. So, what happened?
Hugo Boss – Manufacturing For The Nazi Party
In 1923 Hugo Boss became a member of the Nazi Party, receiving the membership number 508 889, and a sponsoring member of the Schutzstaffel (SS). He also joined the German Labour Front in 1936, the Reich Air Protection Association in 1939, and the National Socialist People’s Welfare in 1941. After joining these organizations, his sales increased from 38,260 ℛℳ ($26,993 U.S. dollars in 1932) to over 3,300,000 ℛℳ in 1941.
During the Second World War, Hugo Boss employed 140 forced laborers, the majority of them women. In addition to these workers, 40 French prisoners of war also worked for the company briefly between October 1940 – April 1941. According to German historian Henning Kober, the company managers were fervent Nazis who were all great admirers of Adolf Hitler.
Continued Violations Against Human Rights
In 2020, Hugo Boss told NBC News it did not use cotton from the Xinjiang area of China to avoid Uyghur forced labor. However, in 2021, the Chinese subsidiary of Hugo Boss stated on its official Sina Weibo account that they had been using cotton from the region and would continue to do so.
In September 2021, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights filed a complaint with German prosecutors accusing Hugo Boss from abetting and profiting from forced labor in Xinjiang. In 2022, researchers from Nordhausen University of Applied Sciences identified cotton from Xinjiang in Hugo Boss shirts.