Boss is back: Ingo Wilts, Chief Brand Officer of Hugo Boss
Hugo Boss recently unveiled their new Boss store in Mall of Emirates, Esquire sits down with the Chief Brand Officer Ingo Wilts to talk about the modern man’s wardrobe needs and how they are meeting them.
You’re obviously a brand with an incredibly strong heritage, have you struggled at all in the ever-changing competitive landscape of the modern fashion market?
Our heritage is the suit. So whenever we’re trying to market ourselves we always start with the suit. Admittedly, the market is a little bit more competitive than in the past.
But I don’t think that’s really affected the quality of our product or our role in the upper premium market and as a global player in the world. Different markets obviously react differently but at the moment we are very, very happy with our results in general.
So what fundamentally makes a great suit?
It’s the fabric, the fit, and the workmanship. And with Boss we have a range of different workmanship levels. We have our normal suits but we also have our custom suits which we produce in Germany. These are made to measure as each suit is really made for each person.
You have talked previously about the evolution of the suit and how it is constantly shifting. As a company, would you say that you’re trying to drive this evolution?
That’s quite an interesting question. When you look in our archives, for example, you can see how our suits have been evolving over time. And I like that. I always ask the team to incorporate a few archive pieces when it comes to the runway or for a new collection just for comparison. Our archives date back as far as the 70s, I believe.
But even if you look at the 80s, everything was different back then. Lapels were wider, fits were wider. And ever since then everything has evolved to become much more fitted. So what we tend to do is to keep our basic suit, our volume driver, but then we build the rest of the collection on top of that based on how things are trending. We also make sure to look into the different market, look at the different regions, and try and work out what the needs are for each specific location.
Do you consider the Middle East an important market for you? Is that why you have invested in the new store?
The Middle East is a very important market for us. It’s my first time here in Dubai; but, when I drove in, I said there’s so much going on here, a shopping mall here, shopping mall there.
On November 01, 2017 one of three pilot stores presenting our new store concept opened in the Mall of the Emirates, Dubai – which shows the importance of the market for us.
How involved were you in the actual store launch? What was your role in that?
Very involved. I think when I came into the process, there were certain things which needed to be renewed so it was important to give a little bit more attention to the collection, give it more relevance. The second one was building a 360° company and the third one was for the store concept because this all goes together and I think what I wanted is to have a store which is feminine for the women and very masculine for the men.
A little bit lighter a little bit fresher not as heavy as they have been in the past. I think with the new shop concept we did really well. It was also important to integrate digital features such as the digital LED mesh wall at the entrance showing the latest brand-related videos.
What do you love about this brand?
I obviously love the style. The modernity, the consistency, the elegance, it’s like nothing else. But aside from the style I also love the people. It’s really the people that make this company. We’ve known each other for so long that it really is a family.
Most mornings I will be in early and the first thing I will do is go down to the pattern making department to see the new collection pieces the teams are working on. I like how I still just do things like that and see how everything is working from the ground up. That’s really what keeps me going and motivated.
If you had to say in a sentence what makes Hugo Boss unique, what would it be?
For me, it would be quality, confidence, and modernity. That’s what we stand for.
What is it that a modern man is looking for in his wardrobe? And how as a brand are you trying to reach that?
People always talk about trends, I don’t think so much about trends, I think for men its more about “wardrobing” - what do you need to have in a man’s closet. I think the combination and versatility of all these classic wardrobe pieces make up the basis of what men are looking for.
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