SPONSORS: HUGO BOSS

Name: Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss established a clothing company in Metzingen, a small town just to the south of Stuttgart, in 1923. It was not an easy time for Germany, which was recovering from World War I and had to pay enormous reparations to the Allies. This handicapped the economy and resulted in the collapse of the German currency. In 1930 Boss went bankrupt but he set up a new business and tried again. The following year he joined the Nazi party and after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, Boss's business began to flourish when it became an official supplier of uniforms to Hitler's SA and later to the SS.

After Germany's defeat in 1945 Hugo Boss was stripped of his right to vote in Germany and forced to pay fines. He died in 1948 but the business survived and in 1953 the firm began to make suits. These became increasingly popular in the 1960s and 1970s as the male fashion industry developed. By the early 1980s the firm was doing well enough to become a sponsor of the McLaren Formula 1 team and has been involved ever since. The company also sponsors players and tournaments in golf and tennis.

At the end of 1985 Hugo Boss was floated and the majority shareholding in the company is now owned by the Marzotto textile group, which has strong links with the sport as brothers Vittorio and Giannino Marzotto both raced Ferraris with some success in the 1950s.

In recent years Boss has developed a network of shops around the world and has promoted three major brands: Hugo Boss, Hugo and Baldessarini, the latter named after the company's chief designer Werner Baldessarini. The company now has an annual turnover of over half a billion dollars and employs over 2000 people.

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