FRANKFURT: When Meghan Markle crossed the town of England Chichester with a royal visit last month, her green-green costume lights up to Instagram. Within minutes, Hugo Boss AG's $ 595 lamb pencil skirt was sold online.
The Duges of Sussex clothing wardrobe was a German-German company, which was well-known for business wrap in gray suits and sensible shirts. The episode revealed a number of key things, according to CEO, Mark Langer: users find inspiration online, they want to be welcome immediately, and Hugo Boss is still and behind the curve when you go to those two points.
"We inspired by companies that are faster than us," said Langer at an interview in London.
As brands from Dior to Burberry woo younger shoppers with flash sales and hype social media, the German label needs to use harnessing some of their techniques if they want to compete. That's why Boss is experimenting with vegan sneakers made of pineapple fibers or capsule collections that include bombarder jackets and sweaters made in Germany.
Even the main stay suit is transformed: there is now a portable version of a machine; the double single-torque model comes back; and even the Boss re-won the white number that Michael Jackson wore on the cover of the Thriller 1982 – although he had more mitigation buds in line with current tastes. There is also no tiger-cub option.
Speed is key to making consumers hang on the new trends. The company took inspiration from the fast-growing pioneer Zara, the CEO said, although the Spanish company was operating at a much lower price point and a boss could be wrapped several times with lightning. But the German brand has broken the time to design and develop new collections from eight months to six weeks, using digital tools and fabric prototypes and skipping threads. The next step will be to accelerate manufacturing, says Langer.
"We must recognize that our industry has changed," he said.
Boss still recovers not to get upset and out of office wear and to enjoy a higher luxury that outweighs the brand several years ago. Langer has simplified its stable of sub-brands, pushed e-commerce and graduated by some larger but under-performing companies and the company. It has also moved spending from magazines and online.
A brand that survives is the Hugo label, which is targeting a younger customer with more casual wear. The collections include tops that contain the logo that has to print backwards. The company is experimented by allowing buyers to choose their own wording as it is trying to increase the proportion of customized products.
The Meghan episode of Markle was also important for a Boss in another way, as he was helping to locate the company mainly from a male audience. Langer said the women's line was an integral part of the company, and that Boss wanted to be a 1 weird brand to work for professional women.
All of this is part of an aspiration to raise sales sales of 4% this year to as much as 7% annually by 2022. The new targets are "ambitious" and ahead of the growth of the projected industry, according to the RBC analyst, Piral Dadhania.
Indeed, Langer's cross was welcomed for the community to invest in a presentation in London last week with some suspicion. The shares, which have lost 11% this year and traded around half their top 2015, have not changed a little despite criticism's praise. Langer, who took part in 2016, said that he is not surprised as investors want to see the strategy first.
"Now it's going to be implemented," says CEO. "We have to achieve".