Esprit Holdings Limited is a publicly owned manufacturer of apparel, footwear, accessories, jewellery and housewares under the ESPRIT label. The company is headquartered and managed from Kowloon, Hong Kong, and Ratingen, Germany. The Group operates more than 770 directly managed retail stores worldwide and distributes its products via more than 15,150 wholesale locations around the globe. The company has more than 1.1 million square meters of retail space in more than 40 countries.
The ESPRIT brand name is also licensed to other manufacturers. In addition, the group owns the Red Earth cosmetics brand. Red Earth was popular in the 1980s, especially with suburban teenagers. It remains well-known with people of the middle-class income, especially in its largest market—Germany.
The Esprit flagship stores feature both current Esprit fashion lines and license products under one roof. Esprit has its own architecture department that is responsible for the worldwide design of its stores.
While hitchhiking in California in the mid-60s, Susie Russel was here on the road with her convertible. She picked up a hitchhiker from the roadside: Douglas Tompkins. Russel and Tompkins later became a couple and got married.
The first joint fashion line of Susie and Doug Tompkins was sold from a VW bus. Esprit’s headquarters was the Tompkins’ apartment in San Francisco. Susie assumed the creative role and Doug Tompkins took care of the financial side of things.
In 1978, the Esprit logo was developed by John Casado.
In the 1980s, the “Real people campaign”, which was shot by photographer Olivero Toscani, caused quite a stir. Esprit was always able to recruit interesting architects and designers for its projects: starting with the Italian, Ettore Sottsass, who developed the first Esprit Europe Headquarters in Düsseldorf and the overall concept of the stores in the style of the Memphis design movement and the language of the Esprit brand.
Ex-president Michael Ying stepped down as executive director in 2002 and subsequently resigned as the Chairman in 2006.
An Esprit outlet which consists of four floors was opened at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur in Kuala Lumpur.
From the pure product to the complete service strategy, since 1990 licence partnerships have been emphasising the expansion of the Esprit brand into a global lifestyle group. In cooperation with companies with a strong market presence, a large and partly worldwide pool of Esprit licences was created in the meantime. The more than 30 licence partners include, for example, Coty/Lancaster, which carries out the global management of Esprit’s scent range and Falke, the licence partner for socks and stockings. Under the name “Esprit timewear + jewel”, Egana Holdings Ltd. has been producing watches and jewellery for more than ten years. Esprit has focussed on and expanded two sectors: the sector of Esprit home with a comprehensive selection of furniture, carpets, wallpaper, lighting, living accessories, home textiles and exclusive bathrooms, as well as the kids’ world that ranges from maternity wear to toys and bug-gies to complete nursery furniture. There are plans to further expand the licence business worldwide.