R&D: Development of modern designs, innovative materials and sustainable production techniques
At HUGO BOSS, research and development (R&D) refers to the product development process, which involves the transformation of a creative idea into a marketable product. The Group’s R&D activities comprise product design, pattern design and technical product development. The work of the R&D teams is particularly evident in the use of new types of materials, innovative patterns and production techniques that enhance both quality and efficiency. The focus of development activities at HUGO BOSS is on satisfying customers’ exacting demands, not only on quality, fit and consistent brand management but also on excellent and innovative design.
Creative management gathers inspiration from a wide range of different sources
Creative management marks the beginning of the production development process. The work of the design teams includes defining the collection statement, designing the color, theme, shape and farbric concepts and setting the targeted price points. The first step in the development process of a new collection entails defining the pieces of content required. To this end, HUGO BOSS analyses its points of sale on the basis of various shared characteristics such as local purchasing power, climate and the brand environment. The collection modules identified on this basis provide the framework for the development of a new collection. In addition to a sell-through analysis of the reference season, development is also influenced by new color and material trends as well as ideas for innovative production techniques which the design teams gather at specialist trade shows. They also seek inspiration, for example, from architecture, design and art but also from new technologies as well as social and economic trends. To detect fashion trends at an even earlier stage, the design teams also make limited use of external advisors such as trend scouts.
The BOSS Womenswear Spring/Summer 2016 collection has been inspired by the “form follows function” ideals of the Bauhaus movement. Materials with a wealth of contrasts, abstract prints in strong colors and asymmetrical cuts feature throughout the collection. In its Spring/Summer 2016 collection, BOSS Menswear is focusing on multifunction, merging formal and functional wear into a single modern look. With its precision-cut silhouettes, exclusive materials and versatile functions (e.g. high breathability and crease resistance), the specially designed “Traveler Collection” satisfies the demands of the modern man.
Pattern design and technical product development turn creative designs into prototypes
In a second step, the technical feasibility of the design teams’ creative ideas is reviewed by the pattern design department. Technical product development then turns the models into prototypes and tests their suitability for the industrial production process. All this is done at the Group’s own Technical Center in Metzingen, its largest development center. This is also where new production techniques are developed and tested. For example, the Company is increasingly using innovative welding and gluing technologies for hems and seams. In addition, HUGO BOSS gives its products a highly individual and modern look with specially developed dyeing techniques. Orange Dye involves the addition of orange peel to the dyeing process for jeans. In addition to the hand-made effect which this gives the products, Orange Dye is a particularly sustainable dyeing process due to the use of natural materials. In the Overdye process, suits manufactured in the Technical Center from materials specially developed for the Group are “overdyed” in a single piece. The dynamic surface which this process lends to the fabric because it does not fully absorb the dye gives the suit a particularly casual yet very high-quality look.
The prototyping stage is followed by sampling, which involves the production of a sample collection for presentation and sale to international wholesale customers. Finally, the articles are produced and shipped to wholesale customers and the Group’s own retail stores.
Product development process at HUGO BOSS
Because the research and development process is right at the beginning of the value chain, it plays a decisive role in the collection’s later success.