Bianca Boorer reveals the dark past of major German fashion houses.
Hugo Boss’s publicity took a dive after a GQ party where Russell Brand highlighted the fact that Boss had supplied uniforms to the Nazis during World War II. He said, ‘If anyone knows a bit about history and fashion, you know it was Hugo Boss who made uniforms for the Nazis.’
GQ editor, Dylan Jones, responded: ‘What you did was very offensive to Hugo Boss.’
Brand replied: ‘What Hugo Boss did was very offensive to the Jews.’
However, Brand was called out for being a hypocrite when he was seen wearing a Hugo Boss jacket in February. Another comment from his speech: ‘But they looked f**king fantastic, let’s face it, while they were killing people on the basis of their religion and sexuality.’
Hugo Boss was economical in his decision to join the Nazi party in 1931. By joining the Nazi party, he was able to secure contracts with them, he also believed Hitler would pull Germany out of the economic crisis. According to an article in the Daily Mail, ‘By 1940, the company was turning over some 1,000,000 Reichsmarks.’
Yet Boss ran his factories in a very Nazi-like fashion. Employees were from occupied countries, some of whom were kidnapped from their homes at the ages of 17-19, and exposed to harsh working conditions. Hygiene was poor with factories containing lice and fleas; they also had no access to medical treatment. Those who escaped were captured and beaten. In cases where workers committed suicide due to the drastic conditions, Boss paid for the funeral costs.
After the war, Boss was classified as a Nazi supporter and stripped of his right to run a business. When he appealed, he was later classified as a “follower” instead. His business now lives on after his death.
It is surprising to think such world renowned brands have such a dark past. Should this affect whether we should buy from them? That’s for you to decide.
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