In the fashion industry, there has been a slight break in the traditional commercial strategy. Since COVID-19, cobranding has become more popular that ever before. Since then, many more partnerships have taken place. At this juncture, cobranding aims to examine the way in which consumers evaluate luxury brands’ personality in a partnership context. Not to mention, the effects of psychographic variables including the global pandemic.
On the timeline of the fashion business the inter-brand alliance is relatively a modified hybrid trend in brand management. In short, cobranding is where a company joins in a partnership with a separate company and offers innovative products that marry each partner’s strengths and consumer base.
Porsche and BOSS: two respective German companies united by design, quality and sex-appeal. Yes, sex-appeal! In my humble opinion, nothing feels more turnt-up then being decked in the latest threads and being behind the wheel of a racy Porsche.
This season, the menswear collection is supported by a campaign starring former racing driver Mark Webber who won nine Formula One Grands Prix before competing in the FIA World Endurance Championships in Porsche cars. These days, forthright brands ( both automotive and fashion) are implementing advanced technology and futuristic hybrids to launch the brands into modernity — which nowadays seems to update at the drop of a hat.
The Hugo Boss collections were designed with the silhouette and details of Porsche cars. In fact, consumers can view seams and inserts on the jersey sweater and polo, casual shirt, leather jacket, and tailoring as well as the fine nubuck leather used for the driver’s jacket.
Functional highlights include the three-in-one bomber jacket with a padded reversible and removable inner vest, and a lightweight suit with stretch lining tailored in a fabric that regulates temperature and resists wrinkles. I believe that this is spot on for what consumer’s are looking for today: apparel that is wrinkle-free and resists wrinkles. The Porsche X BOSS SS20 Collection is available now on Hugoboss.com . Off the track Mark Webber is now in the car seat of the men’s fashion arena.
“I’m really proud to be a BOSS ambassador. It’s even more exciting to be the face of their collaboration with Porsche, who I have had a long and successful relationship with – on and off the track.”
MARK WEBBER —former Formula One driver
Despite all that has happened in this world in 2020, I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing the famous Australian former professional racing driver, nine-time Formula One Grand Prix winner and FIA World Endurance Champion Mark Webber about how it feels to be a brand Ambassador for Hugo Boss, his early beginnings in Australia as a race car driver and his long time connection with menswear’s Hugo Boss!
How do you find the time in your schedule to be a Boss ambassador?
Mark Webber: Firstly, boss enjoy a tremendous and very good relationship with Porsche. So initially, I am heavily linked with Porsche as a car owner and car brand, but it actually goes back further than that. In the last 90’s, when I was a young pup, I was wearing Hugo Boss. In between the late 90s and the last few years I always had a relationship boss staff in Germany. Boss is clean, tidy, understated, and sporty. That being said I stayed with Boss over the years so it was pushing an open door when they rang me up and said they would like to be involved in the new collection. That resonated really well with me because I didn’t want to be super formal, even though boss does some great formal wear as well, but the window and opportunity to do the active wear collection was really a good fit.
Joseph DeAcetis: Give Forbes 3 adjectives why you like Boss?
Max Webber: I would say clean, sporty, and timeless. I like how often and timeless a lot of the garments are. If I had a Euro for every time someone asked me, “can you put me in touch,” or “how do I get that” and I just say get online buy it yourself! When I am wearing boss, people always seem to ask me about it hence that is really a great endorsement. Despite men having a lot of choices these days, it seems that they only want to wear boss.
Joseph DeAcetis: Do you think the clothing was sexy? You have a lot of appeal with the ladies!
Mark Webber: You know I let the clothes do the work mate. If that’s the way it is, then that’s the way it is. Naturally, I think that women like these really awesome photoshoots in these really breathtaking locations with the sporty theme centered around racing.
Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, talk to Forbes about the Spring Porsche and boss campaign?
Mark Webber: We produced one shot it in a wind tunnel, which is very rare for Porsche to give anyone access (to a wind tunnel) at the Porsche HQ. That was extraordinary to be able to do one of the photoshoots in the wind tunnel. We also did a shoot at the racetrack in Leipzig in Eastern Germany and everything around that was class. The photoshoot had a pioneering spirit as well. It shows an element of exclusivity as well— because they are private locations to resonate with the new collection. We had chosen it to resonate with high-end and a sporty exclusive package.
Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, talk to Forbes about growing up in Australia and what triggered your passion for race car driving, motorsport? And at that time, that you made that decision, who were your racing heroes?
Mark Webber: I was very lucky to grow up in Australia. I was near a small town called Queanbeyan in New South Wales and the reason I was lucky was because it was a big sporting community. My mom dad and sister were all big into sport so the four of us loved to play outdoor sports whether it was swimming, running, cricket, golf, tennis, all sorts of sports with all the other kids. My parents really instilled in me from a young age learning how to, well striving for, to compare yourself against the best, try to be a winner of course but also learn how to lose and have that competitive spirit within yourself. My dad had a motorbike shop, a very small motorbike shop. So, the petrol got into my veins through him but initially it was with two -wheel sport. When I was like 5 or 6 years old, I started on motorbikes but as I was getting older, I went to four-wheel racing, go-kart racing by the time I was about 13.
My heroes were the motorbike guys actually to start with. Two of your countrymen, Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz, were big heroes of mine. Kevin Schwantz is a Texan and Wayne Rainey is from California. I loved watching them race. I’d watch them race at 2 or 3 in the morning in Australia and wait for them to come on the TV. The time difference was brutal, but I loved watching these heroes and these gladiators’ race. I had their posters on my wall—amongst other posters obviously, I was a young teenage boy. Amazingly, I have met these guys now. I’ve spent time with them and its really incredible what the sport has given me to meet my heroes later on in my life.
Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to the Forbes viewers about what it takes to be an elite race car driver?
Mark Webber: Well it takes a tremendous amount of self-discipline and it takes consistency. Like in sport or in business and certainly in life, you need to be able to be consistent and be adaptable. In professional racing car driving, you cannot be a one-trick pony. If you only have one move or at one type of corner you’re fast and the rest of the corners you don’t like, or maybe if it’s raining and you can’t drive in the rain; you’re going to be very quickly —unemployed. That’s not very attractive for people who want to have the best drivers drive for their team. You really have to be adaptable, versatile, self-motivating, consistent, and good to work with. You need to be able to work with people. If you can’t work with people, you’re going to have a very little future so that’s very important. And of course, an element of bravery. We see this as normal behavior, most people, 99.9% of people don’t like doing what we do for a job because it’s quite nerve racking, but we enjoy the adrenaline and the risk side of the sport. This is part of our makeup. We like the consequences and the balancing on a knife’s edge is something we find exhilarating.
JD: What experiences in your life best prepared you for the sport?
Mark Webber: I think just surrounding yourself with good people. Trying to keep things simple and doing the simple things really well. I think it’s easy to overcomplicate things professionally.If you do the basics really well and consistently, then you’re going to be in good shape. Of course, you need passion and enthusiasm! Linked to the previous question, if you don’t have passion and enthusiasm, if it’s really a job for you, then that’s a problem. You want to have a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and gusto for it. I think that learning for me, at an early age, again my parents and the people around me when I was turning professional at a young age, they instilled into me that “It’s all got to come from within you.” If you got people pushing the motivation out of you then you’re going to find someone that’s going to kick-your-ass because you didn’t have the motivation within yourself.
JD:Wonderful. Tell me about your greatest achievement during the history of your career in the Formula 1.
Mark Webber: I think, Joseph, it was the length of my career. I mean I was not really the right size for Formula 1, I am quite tall. So, injury wise, packing me into the car year-after-year was difficult. My diet was pretty extreme in terms of keeping my weight down so I think that the length of career that I had from being professional from ‘99 all the way to 2016 was something which I’m immensely proud of. Yes, the trophies along the way are nice and the big results with my team. I have 800 people working within one team and I win the Monte Carlo Grand Prix or I win the British Grand Prix or the Brazilian Grand Prix, or Budapest, or any of the victories I had with over 40 top 3 podiums that I had which I’m blessed to have those. They are great memories; I will have those all my life, but I never trivialize how long my career was and that’s something and in terms of how sustainable I was, is something I’m proud of until this day.
JD: Tell us what goes in your mind during your races. What were you thinking about for instance?
Mark Webber: When you’re operating a grand prix car on the limit, obviously, you are very present. You are extremely narrow focused in the movement and operating the car on its absolute limits. Naturally you need to have a bit of mind management or mind composure. You need to have a compartment in your mind to be able to talk to the team at high speed because we have a radio in our ear (small ear pod) so if that if they want to talk about anything to do with the car or about strategy to try and win the race. Vice-versa I’m talking to them about certain things and how we can do better. So, on the fly you need to have some mind capacity to deal with the talk and naturally you must keep the baggage away from your mind. You know if your mind is drifting too far way, outside the current job at hand then you know what can happen. For example, Joseph, I had a very good record at the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, it was a track I did well at and people ask, “What did you focus on much?” because it was a very demanding track mentally for two hours. How do you keep concentration? I said the most important thing about Monte Carlo is the next corner. The next corner is the most important thing. So, when talking, every 2 or 3 seconds I’m resetting my head. This is very granule focus. In the background, I’m looking at a bigger picture. I have two channels playing, of course I got the main channel in front of me and I’ve got another channel soaking up other parts of information. You need to be careful you don’t get too many distractions on another channel.
Joseph DeAcetis: As you progressed in sport over the years, did anything change or evolve in your style of driving?
Mark Webber: Well Formula 1 is one category, but it’s just like any sports person or any business. Like I said before, you have to adapt. I mean Roger Federer doesn’t have the same shot, or the same serve, or the same backhand. Whether its clay court or grass court, how he plays the game against the same rivals, clearly, he finds new moves throughout his career which is similar to us. Technically though we are very different because our cars change a lot. Technically speaking, the engineer is always striving for new ways to make the car go faster and we are a part of that technical process. If you’re very good in one type of car, in terms of very fine details of course, you have to be able to learn and change. Whether its new tires, aerodynamic changes, any key changes within the technical or regulations from the govern body, as a driver you have to adapt to those changes. You can’t say, “Oh, I was brilliant last year, and I like how the cars were.” The cars move on and you have to be able to deal with that. You are always changing and learning because the regulations change just by sheer speed of the technical changes.
JD: Wonderful. Let’s get back to fashion. Talk to Forbes about your everyday look. What’s the go to pieces today?
Mark Webber: I reckon I have thirty pairs of Hugo Boss jeans, so I clearly like jeans. I like the stretchy jeans, the ones that are super comfy to put on. I’m not going to lie to you, my waist has moved around a little bit on size, so I ask my wife, “Is the washing machine playing up? Are you shrinking my clothes?” She says, “No you better keep up an eye on your waistline.” Anyway, I’m still in reasonable shape, I’m being sarcastic. At the end of the day, I’m very casual. I love jeans, I love t-shirts, I’ve got a Bomber Jacket which is sensational, Boss does a fantastic leather jacket or any sort of black stealthy look jackets. Specifically, I like that you can travel with those as well. When it’s a little bit cool out you can put it on, you can take it off when it gets a bit warmer, I like the versatility of the wardrobe. If you can travel well with it, you can go to dinner, you can dress it up or dress it down, you can still look sharp and pull those looks off really well.
Joseph DeAcetis: It’s crisp and it’s modified, the clothing is modified for the modern man and modern needs I would say, right?
Mark Webber: Yeah, even lwith all the little trimmings on the hem lines. All those things where you can see they put the detail into. That’s what they are about. If you want to link it back to what the German’s do best, right? They really focus on those absolute small details but still make it so its comfy and that’s what’s important. I mean no one wants to wear something that is uncomfortable and that’s something that they have never been. They’ve always been just put them on and reliable. I like stuff that’s going to last, and it does, it really does. It’s extremely durable because I do a lot of travel and I’m in-and-out of suitcases, so I need them to be strong and they are.
Joseph DeAcetis: Okay, so last question. What’s your next adventure now that you are off the track?
Mark Webber: Next adventure is I’m riding my motorbike through Scotland actually. I’m going to do that in the next few weeks. I’m going to do about 600-700 miles through the Scottish high lines with some friends. We have been trying to do for a long time but then life’s got in the way and now life is not getting in the way so we are going to do it within the next few weeks.
Joseph DeAcetis: Congratulations on being a Boss ambassador. I actually can’t think of anyone better right now than you to represent the brand. You got what it takes. You believe in the brand and are aware of the brand so congratulations on that. So good to reconnect with you Mark.
Mark Webber: Thank you very much Joseph . We have had some good fun over the years and when the dust settles we will get back together and hook up and let’s have a beer, or you like a red wine whatever we will get the boss guys together.
*Interview transcribed by Pasquale Suriano