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Research and development

  • Collection development follows three steps – design, pattern design and technical product development
  • Internal innovation and development teams based at five sites and collaboration with external partners to encourage innovation
  • Growing use of digital prototypes is shortening development times

Development activities are spread across five sites

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. Innovation and development work is organized at HUGO BOSS across five development centers in Metzingen (Germany), New York City (United States), Coldrerio (Switzerland), Morrovalle (Italy) and Scandicci (Italy). HUGO BOSS develops the bulk of its collections at its Group headquarters in Metzingen, using the technical center to test production methods and to produce prototypes. Parts of the BOSS womenswear are created at a design studio in New York City. The Coldrerio competence center is responsible for the development of the product groups shirts, ties and knitwear and also for the design and development of shoes, leather accessories and bodywear. High-quality shoes and leather accessories are developed in Morrovalle and Scandicci.

Partnerships strengthen innovation

HUGO BOSS is increasingly making use of partnerships to strengthen innovation. This aims to generate as wide a range of ideas as possible to heighten innovativeness in the development of new products. To give one example, the Company has worked with an external partner to develop a leisure shoe made solely from sustainable and vegan materials. This shoe will be available in selected stores in 2018. Sustainability

BOSS Athleisure is pioneering innovations

A jacket with an integrated heating system made its debut in the BOSS Athleisure Fall/Winter 2017 collection, underscoring the pioneering role of this wearing occasion in the area of innovation and technology. In view of the favorable customer feedback and further advances in this technology, BOSS businesswear and HUGO jackets will be available with an integrated heating system for the first time in the Fall/Winter 2018 collection.

Product development process at HUGO BOSS (graphic)

Creative management gathers inspiration via various channels

The creative idea marks the beginning of the product development process. It incorporates global secular and fashion trends in the light of the brand strategy and values. The transformation of the creative idea into specific collections takes account of the sales success of earlier seasons as well as factors relevant to the individual markets such as regional purchasing power, climate, fashion preferences and the prevailing market environment. Direct customer feedback derived from questionnaires, for example, is also incorporated into the development process. This way, it is directly linked to the value that the customer places in the various aspects of a product. With respect to suits, for example, the quality of the outer material, the workmanship and the fit particularly influence the value perceived by the customer.

Digital prototypes shorten development times

In a second step, the design teams’ creative ideas are tailored in the pattern design phase. Technical product development then turns the models into prototypes and tests their suitability for the industrial production process. The use of digital prototypes is shortening development times. The high degree of detail provided by 3D virtualization allows colors, contours and the way the outer material drapes the wearer’s body to be realistically simulated. In 2017, the Company fully digitized product development for shirts, ties and knitwear of the HUGO brand.

Digital showroom for HUGO menswear collection

After the prototype has been assembled, a sample collection is produced for presentation and sale to wholesale customers. A digital showroom has been developed for selling the HUGO menswear collection. The entire HUGO menswear collection is presented digitally using a touchscreen of the size of a table. In addition to displaying color and style options, it also accepts orders. This dispenses with the need for a physical sample collection. Following the sale of the collections to wholesale partners, these then go into production and are shipped to the wholesale partners as well as the Group’s own retail stores.

“Summer of Ease” is the motto of the BOSS Spring/Summer 2018 collection

The BOSS Spring/Summer 2018 collection is being launched under the motto “Summer of Ease”. BOSS menswear generates a certain sense of ease by combining the core tailoring competence with influences from the sport and leisure segment. The new garment dyed collection, which is a part of the Spring/Summer 2018 collection, is inspired by the trend towards a more relaxed look, offering a variety of different components that can be worn to the office as a modern summer suit or as casual individual pieces outside the office. This motto is reflected in BOSS womenswear in the form of relaxed silhouettes providing the perfect wardrobe for the modern woman.

“Ritualis spiritualis” is the motto for the HUGO Spring/Summer 2018 collection

The motto of the HUGO Spring/Summer 2018 collection is “Ritualis spiritualis” with its focus on voodoo art, its statements and its artists whose creative approach reflects the values of HUGO. The collection was inspired by photographs by Jean-Michel Basquiat in which things are viewed from a different and unexpected perspective. Many parts of the collection – such as the T-shirts bearing artistic prints by designer Charles Jeffrey – serve as canvas.

Slight increase in research and development employees

Number of employees in R&D as of December 31 (bar chart)

The HUGO BOSS Group’s creative and development departments are staffed by skilled fashion designers, tailors, shoe and clothing technicians and engineers. Employees

R&D expenses (bar chart)

R&D expenses slightly below prior-year level

At 70%, personnel expenses accounted for the bulk of R&D expenses last year (2016: 72%). The rest primarily comprises other operating expenses. In 2017, R&D expenses were again mostly expensed as incurred. In addition, production-related development expenses are included in the costs of conversion of inventories. No development expenses were recognized as internally generated intangible assets due to the short product life cycles.

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