The German men’s tailoring brand has sexed up its offer without compromising its classic, elegant feel
The past two years have seen a swathe of once classic menswear brands adjusting their images in a bid to speak to a more contemporary shopper. Some have tweaked advertising images, others have gambled on younger product lines, but few have updated their personalities eloquently enough to maintain their core customer while attracting younger shoppers.
Eighteen months ago, Hans Bäumler, former owner of Bäumler, one of the world’s most prolific suit-making brands, sold up to investment house Credit Suisse. Since then the brand has been rejuvenated. Bäumler has introduced more premium looks and extended its portfolio of licensed brands to include Cerruti 1881 alongside Louis Féraud.
“We’ve been in the UK for 28 years and have grown successfully to 150 UK accounts,” explains Bäumler chairman Sanjiv Singh. “That growth is based around consistency. UK consumers are among the most demanding in the world and are driven by the best fits and consistent quality, things which Bäumler has become synonymous with.”
Bäumler bases its suit silhouette around an English cut with a razor-sharp shoulder, designed to flatter a diverse array of figures with its elegantly nipped-in shape. “The engineering is unique to Bäumler,” Singh says. “We don’t outsource any product, we use our own machinery in our own central European factories and have developed a fit which is entirely our own.”
Singh joined Bäumler 18 months ago from designer womenswear brand Escada, where he was European sales director. He admits in the past Bäumler’s collection lacked “sexiness”, but his strategy is to inject a new glamorous dynamic to the brand’s reputation of consistency and quality.
This desire is articulated via the brand’s international ad campaigns, the first of which had a group shot of the German Olympic team jumping in the air. “We’re proud of our German heritage and want to subtly reflect that through our ad images,” says Singh.
In autumn 07 the brand developed what Singh describes as a lifestyle collection, paying greater attention to overcoats, smart casualwear, shirts and ties. Suiting has been tweaked and a line called Hand Finished introduced. These fully-canvas suits have floating chest pieces and working cuffs.
The Hand Finished range wholesales at £130, a shade above Bäumler’s core £101 to £125 price architecture. A quarter of the brand’s UK stockists have already bought into the collection.
Jason Gerrard, managing director of Geko Fashion Marketing, Bäumler’s UK agent, believes the brand’s prices are pitched correctly. “For businessmen buying suits from classic brands, trust is critical. In the past 10 years they have been surrounded by mediocre product, and dazzled by labels and linings. Now they need confidence in quality and prefer to spend a little more and buy less,” he says.
Bäumler 020 7624 0164 www.baeumler.com
Number of suits Bäumler manufactures annually
Number of Bäumler’s international accounts
Number of Bäumler’s UK accounts
Increase in UK sales over the past three years