Fashion at War

Fashion at War

2018, History  -   8 Comments
Ratings: 6.27/10 from 30 users.

Underneath its carefully crafted image, the Hugo Boss brand hides a shameful secret. Long before his fashions gripped the popular imagination, the acclaimed designer produced uniforms for the Nazi Party. Fashion at War outlines this fascinating back story, and examines the corporate challenges of making peace with a dishonorable past.

Boss eagerly embraced the Nazi philosophy from the start. But whether he was a true believer or merely an economic opportunist is unclear.

The ability to serve as the party's tailor saved him from the brink of bankruptcy. By 1945, however, he was forced to pay the price for his associations. As the war drew to a close and the Nazi Party was vanquished, Boss was required to pay a small fee and atone for his collaborations with the party in order to regain his freedom. He died a few years later, but the reach of his company was soon expanded beyond his wildest expectations when his descendants took control. Through their dapper designs and robust fragrances, the brand has redefined itself as the ultimate metaphor for confident masculinity. Can this mythical facade survive in the face of historical scandal?

In the world of fashion - where brand identification is everything - this poses a unique challenge to the company and how they chose to relate to their past.

The film features interviews with several fashion historians who provide informative commentary on this complicated dilemma. Along the way, we learn about the thriving fashion industry of 1930s Berlin, the symbolism of the Nazi uniform, the contracting of Boss and others to clothe Nazi soldiers, and to what extent the Boss brand is inextricably linked to the promotion of anti-Semitic propaganda.

The film also shows us how these uniforms continue to inform our edgiest modern-day fashions, and what they represent in the societal and cultural climate of today.

Wrapped up in Fashion at War are a series of intriguing issues. How does our history inform our current culture and values? What is the nature of a company's responsibility to its namesake? What is fashion if not a reflection of who we are and the image we wish to project?

Directed by: Alexa Karolinski, John Walter

More great documentaries

8 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Juno

    Strong on fashion dialogue but very light on historical research. Here you have a weak summary of Nazism but not much on the actual design and production of uniforms by Hugo Boss.

  2. GunnarInLA

    "...the acclaimed designer produced uniforms for the Nazi Party..."
    ...and "Americans" (of all people) condemn that as being somehow uniquely "shameful"...?? goodness, the hypocrisy..."guilt projection"...

  3. Alicia

    A hymn to western peacock narcisistic culture. Facade prevailing over thoughts, ideas or brains.

  4. Konrad Gola

    Allover the police now a days are starting to wear black uniforms. What does that show you?

  5. Roger Andout

    Visit the sins of the father onto the children. Blame the current generation of Germans for WW2, WW1, the Franco-Prussian War, etc, etc.

  6. Paddy

    Who care's ?....nobody involved in the company today, was involved or responsible for their war work.......nearly all of the Japanese car makers were involved in fighter and bomber aircraft production during the war and I'm sure their were untold other countries who supplied all sorts of stuff that was used by the military in or for what ever country....we have moved can't change the past

  7. Sylvia

    People just don’t care .. ditto for designer clothes and high street fashion being made in China by what amounts to slave wages .. nothing changes in our world ..

  8. Sebastian

    euhm ok , what we wear is a poster of who we are ? Where do they learn such crap ?