Hugo Ferdinand Boss (8 July 1885 – 9 August 1948) was the founder of the clothing company Hugo Boss.
Early lifeBoss was born in Metzingen, in the Kingdom of Württemberg. After completing his apprenticeship and one year of employment, he founded his own company in Metzingen in 1923.
Support of Nazism
Boss joined the Nazi Party in 1931, two years before Hitler came to power. By the third quarter of 1932, the all-black SS uniform (to replace the SA brown shirts) was designed by SS-Oberführer Prof. Karl Diebitsch and Walter Heck (graphic designer). Hugo Boss company produced these black uniforms along with the brown SA shirts and the black-and-brown uniforms of the Hitler Youth. Some workers are acknowledged to have been French and Polish prisoners of war forced into labour. In 1999, US lawyers acting on behalf of Holocaust survivors started legal proceedings against the Hugo Boss company over the use of slave labour during the war.
After World War II, Boss was fined for his support of Nazism and was not allowed to vote. He died of a tooth abscess in 1948.
This, BTW, is one of the supporting arguments of my first theory of uniforms, which is that the side with the ugliest uniforms wins, at least in US wars. For example, the American Revolution was fought by colonial militias in whatever was available, against the British Red Coats, whose uniforms were a source of universal admiration. By 1812, we'd outfitted our armies to match the British, and fought to a draw. The Mexican War uniforms were utilitarian, but the Mexican uniforms were highly decorative. The Confederate officers were known to be highly dapper, while the Union Officers were rather frumpy. The Spanish American War introduced blue and khaki, but the Spanish kept their old-style imperial uniforms and were soundly thrashed. The WWI uniforms of the Germans were similar to the WWII uniforms, and were quite stylish, while the US uniforms were known for their ill-fit and rough fabric. In WWII, the US adopted some of the best looking uniforms we'd ever had, but since the Germans had Hugo Boss, we were still behind the curve. It wasn't until Vietnam that we decided on fatigues that were pretty awful looking, but the VC responded with pajamas and beat us. The Chocolate-Chip-Cookie pattern desert camoflage of the Gulf War was a return to ugly, with spectacular tactical results. The adoption of the ACU will have given us an uglier uniform than we've ever had, but the Islamic outfit of skullcaps, beards and homespun wool may end up being the definitively uglier outfit.
Pornographic cartoonist Tom of Finland (do not google at work) told the story that when he was a boy the German troops came to Finland and he thought they were the most handsome men he had ever seen.
Nazi iconography has always stood apart as a political artform in my opinion. I find it moving even though I don't care for the reality of what was behind it. Some people can't detach like that, and it's understandable.
I have long thought that American iconography and patriotic music was somewhat lacking. The Star Spangled Banner is moving, but it doesn't make you want to man the barricades like Scotland The Brave, La Marseilles, or Das Deutschlandlied.