Monday, February 26, 2024

In Their First Collaboration, Hugo Boss and Spencer Phipps Make Sustainable Style ‘Weird’


In a label collaboration first, Hugo Boss partners with California-born sustainable designer Spencer Phipps for a collection focused on environmental responsibility and playful, ‘weird’ design.

Since its launch in 2018, the nature-obsessed Spencer Phipps label has continued its exploration of sustainability and environmental responsibility, reflecting these values through a style lens. Its newest collaboration with Hugo Boss brings that environmental ethos along with a tie-dyed Y2K twist—perfect for reliving your rave days.

Boss x Phipps

The bearded designer took to modeling his own designs for the Pre-Fall 22 gender-neutral collection made with deadstock and sustainable materials. The collection features oversized t-shirts and sweaters in Day-Glo psychedelic tie-dye—a running theme across runways this last year and even making waves in beauty brands with Harry Styles’ Pleasing label incorporating psychedelic imagery and design. The tees feature slogans including “Don’t cross the Boss” or “Awaken your inner Boss”. The idea behind the co-branded eagle logo hoodie “was to produce something that was inspiring and positive and fun, an easy collection for the summer whose pieces are also cool and interesting.”

The Boss x Spencer Phipps collection also features technical wear such as cargo shorts and the obligatory bucket hat in earthy tones of moss green and stone accented with lilac and aqua blue. The climbing sneakers feature pineapple leather and a retro design.

Phipps x Boss
Boss x Phipps | Courtesy

According to Boss, this is its first collaboration with another label. “I love what we’ve managed to create. Our clashing aesthetics create a beautiful contradiction—one that has environmental responsibility at its heart,” Marco Falcioni, Senior Vice President of Creative Direction at Boss, said on a recent call.

“Marco definitely instigated it. What I wanted to do was take them out of their comfort zone a little and make something that felt more Phipps, more funky and weird,” Phipps added.

Sustainability at Boss

Boss has been leading a shift to sustainable materials and practices. In February, the German label announced that it had made a $5 million investment into a novel yarn technology that binds to carbon, removing it from the atmosphere.

“[W]e want to be at the forefront when it comes to driving positive change within the fashion industry,” CEO Daniel Grieder said in a statement. 

Hugo Boss' Pineapple leather shoes
Hugo Boss’ Pineapple leather shoes | Courtesy

“In light of the natural limitation of resources, we have to fundamentally rethink and reconsider the way we source materials,” he says. “Because if humankind continues on its current path, by 2050 there will be more microplastic in the oceans than fish.”

In 2018, Boss became the first major fashion label to launch a range of footwear made from sustainable Piñatex’s pineapple leather. With strong sustainability metrics in place, the label says it is aiming to steadily increase the use of sustainable materials across its collections as part of its aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

Sustainability at Phipps

Phipps started the label after working for Marc Jacobs and Dries Van Noten.

“Phipps is founded on a deep sense of respect and curiosity for the natural world, but at its core, Phipps is focused on survival—as individuals, as a species, as a planet, and as an industry,’ the label explains on its website. “Phipps creates collections blending new masculine archetypes with a unique appreciation for craft, quality, and a focus on environmental responsibility.”

The label says it “encourages compassion and mindfulness in all aspects of life,” sharing educated messages to expand knowledge of the environment, and uniting communities around the celebration of nature. “Phipps reignites fashion’s ability to restore a sense of function to any and every lifestyle, because we believe global consciousness goes far beyond the way a piece of clothing is made.”

That commitment has built a cult-like following for the brand, pushing Phipps to the top of responsible contemporary fashion.

Boss x Phipps
Boss x Phipps | Courtesy

As such, since its inception in 2018 PHIPPS has rapidly expanded its critical following, occupying the very forefront of contemporary fashion and leading the industry into a new and more responsible future.  In its quest for a new modern ideology, PHIPPS is defining its own rules for contemporary fashion and establishing the modern example of an authentically responsible business. 

Earlier this month, Phipps announced he was moving back to California after holding court in Europe in recent years. The move is motivated by his work that’s influenced his design aesthetic.

“[T]hese identities that I’m talking about and this kind of language I’ve developed, it’s very specifically American,” he told Vogue about his Spring 2023 menswear collection. “And all these elements come from the base of American reference points.”

The California influence marries with Phipps’ unique brand of environmentalism. Speaking on his 2021 collaboration with the nonprofit Ocean Global, which featured a t-shirt reading “Save the Fucking Whales,” he told Highsnobiety that when you start talking about sustainability and ‘let’s be all do-gooder about it,’ “it gets very wet very fast,” he said. “No one wants to be told, ‘I’m better than you and I’m trying harder.'”

“If you can make it fun, you can include people,” he said.


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