Hugo Boss AG, often styled as BOSS, is a German luxury fashion house headquartered in Metzingen. It was founded in 1924 by Hugo Boss and originally produced general purpose clothing. With the rise of the Nazi Party in the 1930s, Boss began to produce and sell Nazi uniforms. Boss would eventually supply the wartime German government with uniforms for organizations such as the Hitler Youth and Waffen-SS, resulting in a large boost in sales.
After World War II and the founder’s death in 1948, Hugo Boss started to turn its focus from uniforms to men’s suits. The company went public in 1988 and introduced a fragrance line that same year, added men’s and women’s wear diffusion lines in 1997, a full women’s collection in 2000, as well as children’s clothing in 2006–2007 and has since evolved into a major global fashion house. As of 2018 it owned more than 1,113 retail stores worldwide.
1. “Number of Hugo Boss stores worldwide 2009-2018”. Statista. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
In 1923, Hugo Boss founded his own clothing company in Metzingen, Germany, where it is still based. In 1924, he started a factory along with two partners. The company produced shirts, jackets, work clothing, sportswear and raincoats. Due to the economic climate of Germany at the time, Boss was forced into bankruptcy. In 1931, he reached an agreement with his creditors, leaving him with six sewing machines to start again.
(Above) Heinrich Himmler in an SS uniform, of a type manufactured by Hugo Boss, visiting Dachau Concentration Camp.
That same year, Hugo Boss became a member of the Nazi Party, receiving the membership number 508 889, and a sponsoring member (“Förderndes Mitglied”) 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. He was also a member of the Reichskriegerbund and the Reichsbund for physical exercises. 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. Though he claimed in a 1934–35 advertisement that he had been a “supplier for National Socialist uniforms since 1924”, it is probable that he did not begin to supply them until 1928 at the earliest. This is the year he became a Reichszeugmeisterei-licensed supplier of uniforms to the Sturmabteilung (SA), Schutzstaffel, Hitler Youth, National Socialist Motor Corps, and other party organizations.
By the third quarter of 1932, the all-black SS uniform was designed by SS members Karl Diebitsch (artist) and Walter Heck (graphic designer). The Hugo Boss company was one of the companies that produced these black uniforms for the SS. By 1938, the firm was focused on producing Wehrmacht uniforms and later also uniforms for the Waffen-SS.
He died in 1948, but his business survived. In 2011, the company issued a statement of “profound regret to those who suffered harm or hardship at the factory run by Hugo Boss under National Socialist rule”.
4. Timm, Elisabeth (April 12, 2018). “Hugo Ferdinand Boss (1885–1948) und die Firma Hugo Boss” (PDF). Metzingen Zwangsarbeit (in German). Retrieved April 12, 2018.
5. Obermaier, Frederik (September 23, 2011). “Hugo Boss in der NS-Zeit – Mode mit brauner Vergangenheit” (in German). Süddeutsche Zeitung. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
6. “Biografie Hugo Ferdinand Boss”. Who’s Who (in German). Retrieved April 12, 2018.
7. Köster, Roman. “Hugo Boss, 1924-1945. A Clothing Factory During the Weimar Republic and Third Reich” (PDF). Hugoboss.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 8, 2011.
8. Hugo Boss: ‘regret’ for Holocaust record Jennifer Lipman, September 22, 2011,
HUGO BOSS stands for innovation, creativity, and progress. Its objective is to further consolidate its position as a leading international fashion group and grow with its brands. HUGO BOSS implements stringent design and quality standards to produce superior products that deliver value for money.