Russell Brand on Hugo Boss, Nazis, fashion and the tedium of glitz


No one’s brought up twerking for a few days.


Wow, I had no idea about the Nazi connection with Hugo Boss. Seriously!

The same year 1931, he became a member of the National Socialist (Nazi) party and a sponsoring member (“Förderndes Mitglied”) of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and his economic situation improved with their help. He later stated himself that he had joined the party because of their promise to end unemployment and because he felt “temporarily” withdrawn from the Lutheran church. He joined the German Labour Front in 1936, the Reich Air Protection Association in 1939, and the National Socialist People’s Welfare in 1941. His sales increased from 38,260 RM in 1932 to over 3,300,000 RM in 1941, while his profits increased in the same period from 5,000 RM to 241,000 RM. Though he claimed in a 1934/1935 advertising that he had been a “supplier for National Socialist uniforms since 1924”, such supplies are probable since 1928/1929 and certain since 1934, when he became an Reichszeugmeisterei-licensed (official) supplier of uniforms to the Sturmabteilung, Schutzstaffel, Hitler Youth, National Socialist Motor Corps, and other party organizations. To meet demand in later years of the war, Boss used about 30 to 40 prisoners of war and about 150 forced (i.e. slave) labourers, from the Baltic States, Belgium, France, Italy, Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union. According to German historian Henning Kober, the company managers were “avowed Nazis”, “the Boss were all great admirers of Adolf Hitler”, and Hugo Boss himself had in 1945 in his apartment a photograph of himself with Hitler taken in the latter’s Obersalzberg retreat.

Eeek, man. Eeek!


“Oh you’re being paid enough money to take it seriously? Oh fuck!”

“…in a way which appeals to the working class… which won’t be fucking relevant in this room.”

Mmmmh, delicious.



Good luck being more offensive than that, mate!

was such an awesome exit line. Huge thumbs up for that. Plus… it’s true, innit?


I think his two roles are complementary. Because his stand-up is so whimsical and trivial, he puts you in a position where you don’t expect his brain to produce much intelligent discourse, and that leaves him free to punch you in the face twice (by telling you something relevant in elegant prose AND by shattering your prejudice) and make you listen. It works even more on popularity-seeking roles (i.e. pols), who associate him to “man in the street” thinking and hence consider him as having the pulse of el pueblo.


Comedians are supposed to be offensive, and make you laugh about the horrible realities of our everyday lives. Comedians cracking jokes about airplane food are offensive to airlines and their suppliers. Comedians cracking jokes about politicians are offensive to political activists and honest politicians (yes, they exist). Those topics are easy, because you don’t have skin in those games so you’re free to laugh. Whenever it gets too close to home, that’s when you think the comedian should be booed.

Comedians walk very thin lines.


Its not like those snappy uniforms designed themselves


Bitching in The Guardian about The Telegraph. Pot meet kettle.

Yes Hugo Boss and plenty of other existing corporations had ties both close and distant to the Third Reich. That some dont know history is not news.


At the point where the founder of the company, who goes by the same name as the company, has a picture of himself and Hitler proudly on display in his home in 1945… that is the opposite of a distant tie.


I guess this is one of those things someone is more likely to know if they have much interest in that slice of history.

You are aware of Henry Ford in this context, no?


These awards are so meaningless and mean nothing at all. I think Russell Brand understands that and it explains his behavior. He just doesn’t care about something so stupid.


I find this ad much more visceral than the economic figures behind Boss’ collaboration:


Given that the past is hard to change, I’m honestly a trifle surprised that 'ol HB hasn’t found some way to (tacitly, overtly would be so tacky) be proud of having helped define the look that screams ‘Evil bad guy!’ so well that it’s still a hackneyed resort of lazy storytellers half a century later. Even commies really didn’t have that staying power (and went through several iterations: you had your ruskie commies, your red chinese, your VC, your cigar-chomping, corporate-property-expropriating populist el presidente for life). Nazis, though, snappy dressers.


He spelled pyjamas wrong as well (not in keeping with british english).


Fuck, I like this guy.


I think I see what you did there (given activity in other threads). Nice pre-emption! Or is it inbefore-ism?


Bah. Mere whataboutery.


He hangs out with the guys from Mighty Boosh, so that was always more than good enough for me. Though he was married to Katy Perry and thinks one of the guys from Oasis is cool… so there’s that. No one is perfect, even witty British comics.


He spelled pyjamas wrong as well

The Guardian Style Guide was on holiday.


Pretty much all their gear was the business, wasn’t it?

And their angle! I wouldn’t be so quick to call all those writers lazy; it’s pretty damn tough to imagine a mob that better epitomises fearsome and crazy bad guys.