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Italian-owned fashion brand Jil Sander: 4 things you should know about the company

By Caitlyn Terra

Mar 5, 2021


Fashion brand Jil Sander has passed into Italian hands as the OTB Group of Diesel founder Renzo Rosso becomes the new owner. The news was confirmed today after media reports came out in December that OTB was interested in the originally German fashion house. Time to dive into the history of the brand and list the absolute must-knows.

Designer Jil Sander

The Jil Sander label was founded in 1968 by the German designer of the same name. The fashion house still bears the founder’s name, but Jil Sander is no longer involved with the brand. She left the fashion house a total of three times. In the early 2000s, she reportedly resigned due to disagreements between her and the Prada Group CEO, the group that owned the fashion house at the time. She returned to the fashion house in 2003 but left later that year. A reason for her departure at the time was never given. She returned in 2012 to take over the creative direction again but left in 2013 for personal reasons.

In 2004 she withdrew from the fashion world for five years only to return in 2009 and start working for the Japanese chain Uniqlo. There she started her own line +J. After three years, the parties parted ways (temporarily). In 2020 it was announced that Jil Sander was going to pick up the +J line again. It is a slightly more expensive line with more business-like garments for both women and men.

Image: Designer Jil Sander, photographed by Peter Lindberg, received via Uniqlo

Minimalist style

Jil Sander and its founder are known for high-end designs with the characteristics: modern, elegant, and minimalist. The fashion house prefers ‘clean lines’ and is renowned for modernizing the concept of luxury and elegance. This style has been used by all creative directors who followed.

Other creative directors

Although the founder returned to the fashion house twice, the company has had many other creative directors. After her departure in 2000, Sander was succeeded by Milan Vukmirovic. In 2005, Belgian designer Raf Simons was appointed to the fashion house who stayed there until 2013, after which he made the move to Dior. Rodolfo Paglialunga became the fourth creative director in the fashion house’s history in 2014. After three years, Paglialunga left, and Lucie and Luke Meier took over the creative direction. The Meiers hold the artistic direction of the label to this day.

Previous owners

The OTB Group acquisition puts Jil Sander in Italian hands, but this is not for the first time. The German fashion house first changed hands in 1999 when it was sold to the Italian Prada Group. How much the German brand was acquired for at the time is still unknown.

In 2006, the Prada Group sold the fashion house to Change Capital Partners for 50 million euros; it later emerged. Change Capital Partners was founded by Luc Vandevelde, the former top executive of Marks & Spencer. However, it didn’t take long before Change Capital partners sold the label. This time Jil Sander passed into Japanese hands for 167 million euros. Onwards Holding has remained the brand owner until now and is now transferring the label to OTB.

All in all, the OTB Group will thus become the fifth owner of the fashion house. OTB founder Renzo Rosso hints that the group has long-term plans for Jil Sander, so we don’t expect the brand to change hands again any time soon.

This article was previously published on FashionUnited.NL, then translated and edited into English by Tess Stenzel.

Main Image: Jil Sander