BOSS rethinks itself

It’s a fact. Men wear fewer suits. And Hugo Boss is a company, which specializes in making them. What to do? Ever since Ingo Wilts returned as chief designer for the brand and no less as a member of the board, the Metzingen-based company has been serious about reinventing itself. Casualization is the name of the game and Wilts has been pushing hard to get with the program. His latest idea? A collaboration with American sportswear icon Russell Athletic, known as the inventor of the sweatshirt. The brand that is worn in every gym in America and Boss have come up with a fresh take on what men should wear right now. We added a twist for our shoot with Julia von der Heide and dressed Dutch newcomer model Tess in the pieces running around on the streets of Paris. Then we caught up with Wilts to hear his ideas behind the game changing clothes which launched on via an event at Gotham Hall in New York City.

Achtung: Who is the Boss man in 2021?

Ingo Wilts: I think the casualization aspect of the BOSS x Russell Athletic collaboration definitely has the look of how men will be dressing. I have always had the dream of combining two very different elements of menswear: tailoring and sportswear. BOSS’ heritage is the suit, and Russell Athletic is famous for inventing the sweatshirt. So in that way, the collaboration really reflects the future of menswear.

A: What is next for the suit?

IW: I think people will dress totally differently in the future. Everyone will approach things with a much more casual approach. Nevertheless, I think people will still wear suits in the future. But even in classic business wear we will see a much more laid-back look. I definitely think the sportswear influence will come through more. So maybe the future of menswear looks something like a suit, but in new, unexpected materials like jersey for example. Perhaps styling-wise we will see a crisp shirt and tailored coat, but styled with a sweatshirt.

A: When did you come up with the idea to work with Russell Athletic?

IW: When I first traveled to the US, a Russell Athletic sweatshirt was among my first purchases. I have always wanted to do something with the brand, so this collaboration is a very special project for me personally.

A: What are you wearing at the moment?

IW: My way of dressing has totally changed over the past year. I suppose my personal style has two extremes. When I am at the office I am often still in a suit. Or in my personal favorite outfit: a classic black turtleneck and wool trousers with a drawstring waistband. Then, during the weekend I am wearing much more sportswear, like sweatpants or hoodies, but mixed with a beautiful coat. I have definitely been dressing more casually lately – super comfortable, but in beautiful fabrics.

A: Your hopes for 2021?

IW: When I think about returning to the office and our lifestyle, we are really going to see a new way of working, especially for myself as I used to travel so much. Even a year ago it was so rare to have video calls for meetings. We now develop all our collections digitally, and we’ll have to start thinking if it is really necessary to have many meetings in person.

Boss rethinks itself

All clothes and accessories BOSS x Russell Athletic

Photography: Julia von der Heide

Styling and interview: Markus Ebner

Model: Tess / Viva Paris