Q&A with Ingo Wilts

Your questions, answered

Chief Brand Officer Ingo Wilts shares his unique perspective as the creative mind behind BOSS, answering questions sent in by a selection of our customers. From what goes into a fashion show, to our collection inspirations, read on to discover more.

Insights from Ingo Wilts

Your direct line to our Chief Brand Officer. Take a look at our video with Ingo Wilts to find out everything you wanted to know about BOSS.

CBO Ingo Wilts CBO Ingo Wilts
Our customers: What criteria do you use to decide for the theme of a fashion show?
Ingo Wilts

It is different every time. For this show, we started with the location, the Palazzo del Senato in Milan, where the first-ever BOSS Womenswear collection was revealed 20 years ago.
For the 20th anniversary of our women’s line, we wanted to look back in order to look forward, and continue the story of BOSS Menswear and Womenswear in Italy’s fashion capital, which has meant so much to us over the years. 

As you prepare for a show like this, how do you balance showing some "avant-garde" design to promote BOSS’s creativity while keeping it "real" for people like me who love BOSS because of its elegant but also a little more conservative styles?

We are always mindful of keeping the BOSS identity, even on the runway, where we can of course be more adventurous and experimental with colour and proportion. This doesn’t mean losing the link to how our customers dress though. These days, daring runway looks can easily be combined with more classic pieces, and it’s always fun to explore new directions, while keeping the whole show very recognisably BOSS. 

How do you choose music that supports the fashion show?

We often choose instrumental tracks – it’s important to find a balance between grabbing the audience’s attention from the first moment, and not distracting from the collection itself. The perfect music enhances the whole experience of the show. We had a live orchestra at our last Milan show performing music written especially for the event, which was very much appreciated by the audience. 

What are the success criteria for a fashion show from your perspective? I am curious to know how you measure success on a significant investment like this show. What needs to happen for you to high-five your team and say: "we did it"?

When the models step onto the runway, and everything comes together, it represents the culmination of many months of work, so it’s already an opportunity to say “we did it”. Regarding how we measure success more broadly, we keep track of digital engagement and press coverage. It is always great to see people talking about the show online and to read positive reviews.

I have noticed that there are recurring fashion trends that are introduced by different fashion houses in the same season, for example the use of collars. Is this mutually coordinated, or how do several brands end up with the same key elements in their collections?

We do not coordinate with other brands or fashion houses – everyone has access to the same inspiration, trends, street style, and so on, which might explain any overlaps to some extent. We have access to trend research and trend forecasting, but our collection itself is kept closely under wraps until the day of the show. 

How have the BOSS Womenswear styles changed over the years and what has remained constant?

Our passion for impeccable tailoring has remained constant. We have also included beautiful dresses in the collections from the very beginning. Over the years, we have seen a shift towards a more casual and relaxed way of dressing, which you can see reflected in our runway collections with more oversize silhouettes and sporty influences. 

Tailoring is at a low point because of the global pandemic. How is BOSS going to respond so that it stays competitive and commercial yet keep its brand identity in its stores?

The trend towards a more casual way of dressing for work was established even before the pandemic. For several seasons now, we have been moving towards sportier, softer tailoring that stays perfectly in line with our signature style and identity. We have introduced more relaxed styles that customers can mix and match, for example sweatpants with a tailored jacket. This is reflected in our campaigns, as well as the collections themselves, meaning we can provide our customers with inspiration on how to combine and style these new pieces. Even when working from home, we believe people want to look and feel good in what they are wearing. 

How has the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the upcoming Spring/Sumer 2021 collection?

Of course we had to adapt our ways of working, and I had a lot of meetings with my design team via phone or video conference rather than in person. We also faced limited availability of the Italian fabrics that we work with, and this affected our production. But we saw this as a creative challenge and found ways to overcome these restrictions. We have put together a beautiful collection this season that I am very proud of. 

With BOSS being a brand for such a long time, is it difficult to find inspiration for the new collections? Has a source of inspiration repeated in its history?

I am never at a loss for inspiration. It can come from anywhere – from a book, a movie, a piece of art, a song – but also from how people are dressing today. Trends come and go – what is more important to us is to continually evolve the story of the brand. We have a very extensive design archive, which we often reference in our new collections, in order to align with the established house codes. So we don’t reuse past inspirations, instead we pick up on key details, such as the shape of a collar, or a shoulder, and reinterpret them in a new way.