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Hugo Boss challenges men to rethink suits

Hugo Boss Chad Douglas BMX BMX rider Chad Douglas for Hugo Boss. Image credit: Hugo Boss


German fashion brand Hugo Boss is emphasizing the wearability of its classic suits with the help of an athletic group of influencers.

As casual wear has taken hold of high-end men’s apparel, suits have become less prominent. By working with a range of athletes for its #SuitChallenge, Boss is showing consumers there is still a place for tailored suits, including more adventurous settings.

“Suits are typically viewed as staid, professional wear,” said Jim Gentleman, independent marketing consultant for lifestyle brands. “This campaign from Boss positions their namesake suits in an active, youthful way – a refreshing, energized take on the traditional suit.”

Mr. Gentleman is not affiliated with Boss, but agreed to comment as an industry expert. Boss was reached for comment.

Boss partnered with athletes from the worlds of BMX, basketball, skateboarding and freerunning, with campaign content featured on the brand’s Web site and Instagram.

One of those featured is BMX rider Chad Douglas, who wears a black suit while doing extreme moves on his bike. American skateboarder and photographer Steven Stinson pairs his suit with white athletic sneakers and shows off his talents in a skatepark.

Freerunners Miguel Southee, Jr. and Joseph Henderson also participate in the #SuitChallenge. Freerunning is an acrobatic sport similar to parkour and involves flipping, spinning and other moves as participants move to and from different places.

Former basketball player Marvin Agoh also appears in the campaign and slam dunks in his Boss suit.

By including men who participate in popular and extreme sports, Boss further appeals to younger affluent men.


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@mcasalss, @hugophilip, @jayalvarrez, @bendahlhaus, @marcforne, and @marcoferri5 answer this question. Tune in to see what they did for the #SuitChallenge Discover more: bit.ly/SuitChallenge_

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Hugo Boss shared the #SuitChallenge on IGTV

A #SuitChallenge IGTV episode also features social media influencers. The men are shown riding quad bikes, skateboarding and doing tricks on motorcycles.

To further engage consumers, Boss’ social content challenges viewers to see what they can do in a suit.

“The ambassadors in Boss’ Suit Challenge campaign are relatable and engaging,” Mr. Gentleman said. “They are influencers who can effectively attract the attention of Boss’ target audience – independent, free-spirited men who don’t want to compromise how they live when wearing a suit.”

Boss men
Hugo Boss has worked with a range of male celebrities and ambassadors in the past.

The brand’s “Own Your Journey” campaign included a short film, a photo shoot featuring actor James Marsden in new Hugo Boss clothes and an interview. Besides Mr. Marsden, who was the face of the campaign, Own Your Journey also chronicled the lives of British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton and style blogger Patrick Janelle (see story).

Boss and other brands in the menswear space must keep pace with shifting mindsets as luxury casual wear and streetwear have become fast-growing categories among affluent consumers, particularly millennials. 

More relaxed dress codes are likely to have an impact on luxury apparel brands that sell suits and other formal business attire for men. Some luxury fashion labels have relaxed their business wear fashions without fully embracing streetwear, both staying true to their heritage and staying in tune with the market (see story).

“Boss is a modern, progressive brand,” Mr. Gentleman said. “By showcasing its suits in action in unexpected places like basketball courts or skateparks, Boss symbolizes a lifestyle that combines style, passion and class.”