MILAN — The Boss x Russell Athletic collaboration is slated to become a very physical, very experiential affair — in more ways than one.
On Thursday, the German brand will bring a baseball field to Milan, taking over the Kennedy Sport Center to present and celebrate the second collaborative sportswear effort with Russell Athletic, which will debut for the spring 2022 pre-collection. The partnership was revealed in 2020 and the first drop was released last March, in the midst of the pandemic, but successfully attracted younger customers, hence the decision to keep it going.
Speaking over the phone from New York, Hugo Boss’ chief brand officer Ingo Wilts revealed exclusively to WWD what to expect from the event and second collection, underlining that the aim of the ongoing partnership with the Bowling Green, Ky.-based sportswear company is to tap into a new generation of consumers and turn them into Boss fans.
“We are always seen as a tailoring brand — suiting, suiting, suiting — and here we show with Russell Athletic the other side of the brand,” he said. By delving deep into both labels’ archives the goal was again to “create something out of both, for a 24/7 lifestyle brand. It’s really for all to dress up and dress down, there’s a balance between the tailoring part and the sportier part.”
The collection comprises 60 looks, 48 of which will immediately be shoppable via the brand’s own store network and e-commerce after the Milan Fashion Week event, scheduled for noon CET. The capsule collection retails at between $88 for T-shirts and $995 for outerwear.
Drawing inspiration from the world of baseball and nodding to the relaxed silhouettes popular in the ’90s, the lineup includes varsity jackets, hoodies, sweatpants and checkered overcoats exalting the sartorial DNA of the Boss brand and the sportswear credentials of Russell Athletic — all done in a streamlined color palette of off-white, blue, camel and bright orange.
Patches with a co-branded Boss x Russell Athletic logo appear throughout the line, further highlighting the blend of both companies’ ethos.
Wilts said the main target for this second drop “is really Gen Z, the idea is to turn them from customers into Boss fans, so that they last longer as customers and not just for the Russell Athletic products.”
According to Daniel Grieder, chief executive officer of Hugo Boss, the new capsule collection is aimed at “strengthening the brand’s position in the crucial growth area of casualwear and among younger consumers. Our goal is to inspire and excite existing and new customers alike.”
Further tapping into the target age group, the brand is mounting what is slated to turn into a true spectacle during fashion week. A slew of influencers along with models will parade the looks inside a mock baseball field with a marching band, cheerleaders and mascots to enhance the festive mood.
“It’s not a regular runway show; we wanted again to show a different side of the Boss brand at an event level. It aims to replicate an American baseball event in the Hugo Boss world,” Wilts explained.
“We want to show the collective spirit of the younger generations,” he added. This is also highlighted by the collection’s campaign imagery and film shot in New York by photographer Andrew Jacobs and filmmaker Matthew Dillon Cohen, respectively. Representing a snapshot of the city’s youth culture, they follow a group of friends relaxing and hanging out on the street, before heading off on a road trip for an impromptu game of baseball.
As no physical event would be complete these days without its digital counterpart, Boss is launching a TikTok challenge the day of the show, asking users on the popular social media platform to embrace the #BossMoves challenge. Five winners will be rewarded with an NFT collegiate jacket and the actual wearable item from the capsule.