Next year Closed (closed.com) will celebrate its 30th anniversary, yet the three friends – Gordon Giers, Til Nadler and Hans Redlefsen - who are today’s owners of the German based sportswear company have still not decided how to celebrate.

Despite this though, they know exactly how they intend to move the business forward. With the project ‘100 x 100’ the Closed trio wants to double the company’s turnover through exports, product development and store openings, as Giers and Nadler explained during a lunch meeting with Sportswear International last week.

The brand was established in the late Seventies out of Italy when it created the iconic pedal-pusher jean, which in its height accounted for 85% of the company’s turnover. In the Nineties the brand moved its headquarters to the northern German city Hamburg. Today Closed counts 150 employees and has tripled its turnover in the last five years to 60 million Euros (about USD$90,000).

Closed has 1500 points of sale, mostly high-end multi-brand stores in Europe, and a few in Japan. The company now aims to broaden its export reach throughout North America and the Far and Middle East, while in Europe some countries such as Italy and Greece also have potential for growth. Closed participates at the Pitti Uomo trade show in Florence, and has a showroom in Milan, which also serve well as points for expanding international sales.

In the near future, Closed plans to open about 30 stores in the most important fashion metropoles worldwide, and has already opened retails stores in Lyon, Anverse and Kiew this year. The idea is not only to open their own stores, but franchise shops too.

Although the brand offers a total New Luxury collection today, pants are still important and account for up to 45-48% of business. “Closed is a modern, innovative product. Pants are still important, but we like to extend our product groups,” says Gordon Giers, the brand’s design and production director. “We already started with footwear and bags, but the list could go on in the future. And we want to expand the menswear business by focusing very much on sportswear.”

“We see Closed as a true sportswear and denim brand. That’s where our DNA is,” says marketing director Til Nadler. For the Winter 2008/09 collections Closed has hired a new creative director, Allison Buddenhagen, and a new footwear designer who came from Costume National. The women’s collection concept has been switched from two to four collections a year with the Spring and Fall lines offering preview programs (see sketch above for a preview of Fall 2008/09).


By Michaela Schmidinger | SI’s fashion features editor