||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (February 2012)|
|Number of locations||Over 500 points of sale worldwide including freestanding boutiques|
|Key people||Albert Kriemler, Head Designer and Creative Director; Peter Kriemler, CEO|
Akris was founded in 1922 by Alice Kriemler-Schoch; the word “Akris” was derived from the letters of Kriemler-Schoch's name. The company initially made simple, dotted aprons that were crafted by Kriemler-Schoch on a single sewing machine. Each piece is still designed in Switzerland and the Swiss dot (polka dot) is still used by the company on gift boxes and tissue paper as well as the logo of the Akris Punto line.7 In 1944, Kriemler-Schoch's son Max Kriemler took over the business. The company grew significantly and began producing ready-to-wear clothing. Following the lead of Max Kriemler, Akris also produced clothes for French designers Givenchy and Ted Lapidus.
However, in 1980, Max Kriemler’s right-hand man[who?] died. Though Max’s son Albert had planned to travel to Paris to study fashion and apprentice at Givenchy, Max asked Albert to postpone his education for two years to assist in the company’s transition. He agreed. Albert would never complete his fashion education; within those two years, he had already begun to take over the company. Peter Kriemler, Albert’s brother, joined Akris in 1987 after studies at St. Gallen University on law and economy to head its financial side. Peter is now Akris’s global president, handling management and manufacturing. Peter Kriemler is credited with bringing the Akris collection to Asia with subsidiaries in Japan and Korea, as well as developing the worldwide network of directly operated stores.
Since 2002, the Akris collection is shown during Paris fashion week-the only Swiss house in the Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode.
1922 Akris founded by Alice Kriemler-Schoch.
1980 Albert Kriemler joins the company and takes over creative responsibilities.
1985 Development of the current Akris company logo.
1987 Peter Kriemler joins the company. Official takeover of management by both brothers in the third generation. While Albert is wholly responsible for creation and the visual impact of the company, Peter controls management and production; while marketing responsibilities are shared.
1996 Launch of the Designer Sportswear Collection Akris punto.
1996 Opening of the first Akris boutique in Paris and Boston.
1999 Akris becomes a member of the Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode. It is one of the few non-French couturiers in this organization, such as Dries van Noten, Issey Miyake or Valentino.
1999 Opening of the first Akris Boutique in Seoul, Korea.
2000 Opening of Namiki Dori, Ginza, the first Akris Boutique in Tokyo, Japan.
2001 Opening of the second boutique in Paris on Avenue Montaigne.
2002 Founding of the subsidiary Akris Japan Ltd. with headquarters in Tokyo.
2003 Opening of a boutique on Kohlmarkt in Vienna, Austria and the opening of a boutique on Madison Avenue in New York City.
2006 Collaboration with the Vienna State Opera Ballet for their New Year Concert.
2008 Albert Kriemler is awarded ‘Grand Prix Design’ prize by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture in 2008 and honored with the “Swiss Design Award” for his achievements as the “most important international ambassador for fashion creation in design.”
2009 Akris acquires German handbag designer Comtesse.
In 1995, Akris introduced a new line called AKRIS Punto. The Akris Punto collection has an emphasis on "relaxed sportswear". In 2009, Akris expanded its Prêt-a-Porter offering with the introduction of handbags featuring horsehair textile, a woven fabric made from the tail-hair.
In 2000, Akris was admitted to the French Chambre Syndicale, the governing body of the French fashion industry. The company delayed participating in Paris Fashion Week until 2004, when it was able to secure a spot on one of the event’s most important days. In the 2000s, the company was one of the world's fastest-growing designer brands, selling at stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. Akris's success is largely due to trunk shows and word of mouth; the company does very little advertising. Unlike other fashion houses, the company does not produce fragrances and does not license its name.
Renowned photographer Steven Klein has shot the Akris collections for the past fifteen years and recently the Akris Fall 2011 Winter 2012 campaign.
Sales and stores
Akris is the largest Swiss clothing producer, though it does not disclose sales or profit figures. Its value has been reported as approximately USD $500 million; the company has not disputed this figure, but the number may be an overestimate “judging from [Albert] Kriemler’s response when that number is tossed out. Akris clothing is sold in more than 500 locations worldwide.
Approximately 40% of Akris sales are in North America. Akris was first sold in the United States in 1998; the brand can now be found in 70 U.S. stores, including over 20 Neiman Marcus locations and 30-some Saks Fifth Avenue locations. Freestanding Akris boutiques are located in Boston, New York City, and Dallas. Akris Punto is sold in approximately 100 stores in the United States.
Several female celebrities are known to have worn Akris designs. Nicole Kidman spotted a coat in a store window on a Sunday evening and ordered it the following morning. Other fans include Angelina Jolie, Diane Sawyer, HSH Charlene, Princess of Monaco, Susan Sarandon, Doris Yaffe, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice among many others.
The company’s headquarters are located in St. Gallen, Switzerland, where 200 employees work on the creative, administrative, and marketing activities of the company. The design process begins with the fabric; Kriemler then sketches his designs. Akris fabrics are often custom-produced; sometimes, development of a fabric may take years. Most of the fabrics used in Akris clothing are produced in specialized mills in northern Italy.
Akris clothing is generally produced in ateliers in St. Gallen, Zurich, and Ticino, Switzerland. Kriemler has aimed to continue St. Gallen’s textile-based history by hiring local artisans. About half of the company’s 280 manufacturing employees are highly skilled artisans; two years of training are required for a seamstress to master the hand-finishing of Akris’s double-faced cashmere jackets, each of which requires two and a half days to complete.
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