The Hugo brand is on track to hit 1 billion euros in sales by next year.

That was the projection made by Daniel Grieder, chief executive officer of Hugo Boss, who is basking in the ongoing success of the company’s younger-skewed label.

In 2023, sales of the Hugo brand rose 22 percent on a currency-adjusted basis to 656 million euros, or 16 percent of total company sales. And that came at a time when overall sales for the corporation hit a record 4.2 billion euros, exceeding the 4 billion-euro milestone for the first time, Grieder said.

And the momentum has continued this year. In the first three months of 2024, Hugo’s sales increased 9 percent, thanks in part to the “successful launch of Hugo Blue, the new denim-focused line,” Grieder added.

The Hugo Garage activation in Miami.

But he’s not stopping there. Grieder said the goal for the brand is to achieve sales of around 1 billion euros, or a 20 percent share of overall sales, by 2025 as it seeks to further cement its position with Gen Z and “young-minded consumers in general,” he said.

“The launch of Hugo Blue in early 2024 is dedicated to leveraging the full potential of Hugo in the future,” Grieder told WWD. “With the new brand line, we will seize opportunities in denimwear while the existing product range under the main line will continue to place a strong emphasis on street tailoring. We also aim to leverage the potential of hero products and will further excite our fans with inspiring collaborations. For this year, we look forward to connecting with a younger and more global audience via our new involvement with Hugo in F1 and the related brand moments in a powerful way.”

This past weekend, Hugo was a major presence at the F1 Grand Prix races in Miami. The company created a Hugo Garage, a large, experiential space modeled after a car garage that served to publicize its newly inked deal as the official apparel of the Red Bull Formula 1 team.

The “off track” installation included two days chock full of programming such as local artists doing customizations, performers taking the stage, partnerships with Boiler Room, AfroFuture, Lovewatts, replica F1 cars and a visit to Planet Hugo in the virtual Roblox universe.

There was even a Hugo pop-up at the Aventura Mall where fans could try their skills on a racing simulator or pick up a piece or two from the Hugo x Red Bull capsule collection.

“This is all part of the refresh of the brand,” said Nadia Kokni, senior vice president of global marketing and brand communications for Hugo Boss.

The Hugo Garage activation in Miami.

The Hugo Garage activation in Miami.

Courtesy of Hugo

As the corporation strategized the best way to connect with younger consumers, Hugo Boss decided to go all in on sports.

“We love the narrative of sports,” Kokni said. “The power of sports resonates with all people whether they’re professionals or just active. Humans can relate to the inspiration and uplifting narratives of sports.”

But Hugo is not Nike or Under Armour — and that’s OK.

“We’re not a sport performance brand,” she said, “but it’s the lifestyle and culture of sports that we like. Only a very small number of people are Formula 1 drivers, but it’s more about bringing the excitement of F1 to customers.”

Hugo is not alone in trying to capitalize on the growing popularity of F1. Many fashion brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Puma and Psycho Bunny have also been activating around the sport.

For Hugo, Kokni said, “it’s such a great match. We’re both mavericks and disrupters.” And by getting involved with F1, Hugo is able to reach new audiences, she believes.

“Sports are part of the culture of entertainment for younger customers,” she continued. “We want to deliver relevant stories that connect emotionally with consumers and Formula 1 is the perfect vehicle to bring our brand to life.”

Sports and fashion continue to converge, Kokni said, pointing to the NBA and NFL tunnel walks where players are dressed to the nines with the latest designer fashions. And F1 is “the pinnacle of entertainment” with its races staged in major cities around the world including Las Vegas, Abu Dhabi and Miami.

Hugo will continue to focus its sports efforts on F1 and the two drivers it sponsors: Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda, as well as music and the metaverse.

Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda,

Courtesy of Hugo

For the larger Boss brand, which is more rooted in tailored clothing, Kokni said there are also sports tie-ins. In 2022, Boss became the official fashion partner of the Aston Martin Formula 1 team and named one of its drivers, Fernando Alonso, as an ambassador.

It is also involved in tennis, cycling, track, golf and other sports, sponsoring athetes including Matteo Berrettini, Noma Noha Akugue, Ella Seidel, and most recently, Taylor Fritz. The brand also sponsors Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Major League Baseball’s Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Hugo Garage activation in Miami.

The Hugo Garage activation in Miami.

Courtesy of Hugo

Reinventing Hugo Boss was a key strategy of Grieder’s when he joined the brand in 2021. The former chief of Tommy Hilfiger Global quickly saw that his new company was faced with an aging customer and stagnating sales. As he said shortly after taking the helm: “Over the past eight to 10 years, [Hugo Boss] lost its relevance. They got old. When you looked in the stores, it was flat. There was no excitement, no campaign that got your pulse racing. They lost that feeling — the sexiness, the desirability — bit by bit over the years.”

But under his leadership, he has clearly defined the positioning of its two brands and by partnering with major sports and culturally relevant events such as F1, Hugo Boss appears to be on the right track.

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