In Fashion for 50 Years
The most important assets of the S.OLIVER GROUP are entrepreneurial skill and the will to succeed.
It All Begins in a Small Menswear Boutique in Würzburg
“Sir Oliver”: Over a floor space of 25 square meters, company founder Bernd Freier sells clothes from the fashion capitals of Europe, bringing trends to Würzburg. The shop is just a stone’s throw away from today’s flagship store. Coming from humble beginnings, the founder decided on Oliver Twist as the namesake for his shop: a small boy who sets out with great courage to seek his fortune. With just such courage, as well as his will to succeed, Bernd Freier will transform the boutique into the starting point for an international success story.
One for the Women – with comma.
Only four years after founding the menswear brand Sir Oliver, the small and exclusive fashion brand comma, catering to the modern woman, is founded independently of Sir Oliver in a residential building in Düsseldorf. It is founded in exactly the same year that women in Germany are allowed to pursue a job without needing their husband’s consent for the first time. comma has been supporting women on their triumphant progress toward greater self-determination ever since.
Madras Check Shirts: The Latest Thing in 1975!
Everyone is after these checks and, due to the high demand, even wholesale traders can’t keep up with the demand. So Sir Oliver owner Bernd Freier produces the shirts himself! No sooner has he made contact with an Indian factory owner than he sets off, arriving in Madras with neither much money nor sufficient knowledge of English. Bernd Freier orders shirts with blue check combinations, which are delivered in Würzburg a short time later. But they are purple – thanks to Bernd Freier’s color blindness. Despite this error in the color of the pattern, they do appeal to some retailers. And he immediately sends acquaintances and family members out disguised as customers to buy them back, thereby generating increased repeat orders. His plan works: the purple shirts become a best-seller, transforming Sir Oliver into a supplier and producer in one.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Alongside its successful menswear range, Sir Oliver now offers a women’s line in its now significantly increased number of stores in Würzburg.
A Legal Dispute with Consequences
The perfume manufacturer 4711 sues Sir Oliver. It has released a fragrance with the name “Sir” onto the market and believes its trademark rights are being infringed. The company faces a fine of 250,000 German marks – far too much for this fledging company. The brand Sir Oliver eventually changes its name to s.Oliver. A year later, the new trademark is registered at the German Patent and Trademark Office in Munich. Omitting “Sir” from the name is also much better suited to women.
New Additions to the Collections
With the children’s product line Oliver Twist, s.Oliver provides fashion for the whole family. It is available today under the name s.Oliver Junior.
The Passage of Time
With QS, an abbrevation of the name Quick Step, s.Oliver launches a fashion program which is trend-led and appeals to a new target group of young adults. The line is later positioned as a stand-alone brand and targeted precisely at Generation Z under the claim “Fun is where you are.”
Ready for Business
With the development of its own business and occasion line, s.Oliver continues to gain influence in the fashion world and now offers fashion not only for the whole family, but also for almost all occasions.
s.Oliver Expands its Product Palette
Only a year later, the first licenses are granted to enhance the company’s portfolio with products such as shoes and eyewear. The number of collections is also increased. The brand expands into the lifestyle sector and becomes an everyday companion for those with busy lives. This new direction remains the core element of the brand to this day.
The Brand Portfolio Grows
Bernd Freier takes over the comma brand, making it a part of the S.OLIVER GROUP in the process. The integration gives it access to a broad market and enables it to offer consistently high quality at attractive prices. The plan works. To this day, the brand offers sophisticated looks for women with busy lives, who know exactly what they want and who value that special something extra.
LIEBESKIND BERLIN is founded by brothers Johannes and Julian Rellecke. The premium handbags and accessories from the label reflect the spirit of the times with charm, while still being timeless.
For the fashion and lifestyle group, being open to new technologies and being brave in trying new things are part of the day-to-day business. In 2004, s.Oliver is the first fashion brand to launch its own online shop. This is a sales channel that is standard today. The design team at the S.OLIVER GROUP is also a front runner when it comes to product development. Today, many pieces are designed entirely digitally in 3D on the computer. Processes which help us to achieve greater flexibility, creativity, and sustainability in our fashion. The first step towards achieving our vision of being able to try on 3D computer styles digitally in the online store has already been taken.
Billion Dollar Baby
s.Oliver exceeds the billion Euro mark with sales of EUR 1.05 billion in fiscal year.
Home Sweet Home
The new s.Oliver headquarters opens in Rottendorf, near Würzburg. A year later, comma also moves into its new central location in the same building. The new location creates a stable infrastructure for the expanding group.
With “by s.Oliver”, the company introduces a product line for plus sizes for the first time. The brand is later continued and repositioned as TRIANGLE. The brand breaks with old norms and focuses on diversity, acceptance, and equality – an absolute plus for the fashion world.
A New Addition to the Fashion Family
The business line comma receives a new little sister in the form of comma casual identity. Individual looks from casual chic to relaxed cool are reinvented and interpreted in a contemporary way – without looking overdressed.
New Love on the Spree
Ten years after the acquisition of comma, the S.OLIVER GROUP takes on the LIEBESKIND BERLIN brand, thus expanding its product portfolio to include premium handbags. The Berlin bag brand takes inspiration from its muse Berlin, combining straightforward practicality and sophisticated design in its collections.
The Group Evolves
The S.OLIVER GROUP becomes a multi-brand corporate group with a holding structure. The s.Oliver lines and the comma lines each create a complementary brand world within themselves. QS, TRIANGLE, and LIEBESKIND BERLIN complete the strategic brand portfolio.
Greetings from Copenhagen
The Rellecke brothers, founders of the LIEBESKIND BERLIN brand, create a further company in the form of COPENHAGEN STUDIOS. The focus here lies on high-quality footwear inspired by clean Scandinavian design and it soon achieves great popularity.
s.Oliver celebrates its 50th birthday with the campaign "50 years worn by generations" and the anniversary collection, which brings the Madras pattern of the beginnings into the present.
From Franchise to Retail
The S.OLIVER GROUP takes over Fashion Schmiemann, the largest franchise partner of the s.Oliver brand, and integrates more than 40 stores in north-west Germany into its own network of stores.
Stepping into the Future
After a comprehensive relaunch, s.Oliver unveils its new logo. With the campaign claim “We create fashion for your life,” the brand wears its heart on its sleeve and continues to tell its own story, which has always been about people and real life. The consistent further development of this motto follows in the Fall/Winter 2022 campaign under the motto “Everyday People.”
Twenty years after the acquisition of comma and ten years after the acquisition of LIEBESKIND BERLIN, the group continues to grow: the new premium footwear brand COPENHAGEN STUDIOS becomes a member of the S.OLIVER GROUP in an expansion of the strong brand portfolio of the fashion and lifestyle group. With high-quality designs, the shoe collection brings Scandinavian attitude to everyday life.
In the B2B sector, we are setting an important new benchmark in terms of innovation and digitalization in relation to orders with the Hybrid Fashion Studio.