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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The History of the Geiger brand! Whom You Know is Thrilled to Kick Off Our Coverage of Geiger!

GEIGER is a fashion design label which manufactures primarily ladies garments in Walk and knit, but also fashion for combinations. The business center in  Schwaz/Tyrol is the headquarters for the design studio, production, distribution and administration.

Company name: Geiger GmbH

Chief Executive: KR. Ing. Hansjörg Geiger, Dipl.-Ing (FH) Peter Geiger
Signatories: Barbara Singer-Geiger, Christian Untermair

Headquarters: Fiecht Au 15, A-6134 Vomp/Schwaz, Österreich/Austria

(from Austria) Tel.: 05242 6911-0
(from abroad) Tel.: ++43 5242 6911-0
(from Austria) Fax: 05242 6911-13
(from abroad) Fax: ++43 5242 6911-13

UID-No.: ATU 33155402
DVR-No.: 2674
LG Innsbruck, FN 46547b
ARA Lizenz Nr.: 1477


In the world of fashion with all it’s short lived trends it is unusual when customers decide to stay with one brand for a long time -even more unusual if they decide to be loyal to a brand for a
lifetime. This only happens if the brand is “alive” - able to touch people on a deep, emotional level and able to inspire with new ideas again and again.

Geiger is such a brand. For four generations, Geiger has practiced reinventing itself through constantly renewing its own creativity, thus reflecting the various eras like a mirror.

From the beginning Geiger never saw it’s own roots as limiting but rather as a solid base to develop new ideas. This is the spirit Barbara Geiger, the company founder, introduced in 1906.
She took traditional patterns and color combinations from her
homeland Tyrol and created a new fashion concept. At a time when “Emancipation” was just starting to become a topic for Western Society, she was ahead of this development and started her own business. A modern entrepreneur, she was giving other women from her region work which allowed them to help provide for their families and inspired others to follow her lead. She purchased wool from local farmers and with the help of her fellow workers created her first collection of “Höslstutzen” (kind of leggings) and knit cardigans on manual knitting machines.

Twenty years later Mrs. Geiger was able to hand over a small but flourishing business to her son Peter with a product brand already known beyond Austrian borders for it’s high quality and
alpine inspired style. Through the following years the Geiger’s continued to prove that they had “fashion instinct”. In the 50s international travel and a global media network were not yet a common source for inspiration in the fashion world. Yet Geiger had sensational success with its brand new “Parallelo Sweaters” and their sweaters and cardigans with patterns inspired by the beauty of traditional Norwegian knitwear (at Geiger known as “Isländer” sweaters) which became a must in any trend-setters wardrobe and answered the demand from apparel centers who had started to show interest in sportswear.

All major fashion brands must have a breakthrough in the international fashion arena to be successful. For Geiger this opportunity presented itself when the Austrian National Ski Team was wearing the functional and trendy “Norwegian Sweaters” made by Geiger for their competitions.
Winning race after race in the sports world they also raced ahead in the fashion world.

A moment in time topped only by the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo when Tony Sailer won three gold medals wearing a red cable-patterned sweater that Geiger had designed
for him. This earned Toni the nickname (roter Blitz von Kitz “the red flash from “Kitz” Kitzbühel)”). The “Sailer Pullover” was also a winner in the “Fashion Olympics” with the media. It became such a sales hit that the knitting machines in Schwaz were running day and night. Geiger was now recognized internationally.

In the late 50s Yves Saint Laurent created a “Classic” fashion trend with clear lines while at the same time Geiger in Austria already featured its “Classic” – an elegant, charcoal gray sweater
made from the finest Shetland yarn. It was such a sales success that retailers had a hard time keeping their shelves stocked.

Geiger’s growing success in competing in a more and more international market is based on the family’s ability to utilize its creativity, not just for fashion designs but also for developing the appropriate techniques needed to optimize the production of these new fashion ideas.

The best example for this is the innovation of Geiger Walk. Parallel to Geiger’s knitwear the Walk jackets have become the best known and most sought out items made in Schwaz.
In the beginning the Walk jackets were knitted measuring two and one half times larger than the final product. The washing process that followed caused the material to shrink to its final dimensions. Exact sizing could not be guaranteed through this process. The Walk specialists in Schwaz were not satisfied with this result. In 1958 Geiger revolutionized the industry with the brand new idea of washing the knitted fabric rather than the knitted garment. The fruit of their labor was an extraordinary material: Walk fabric. For the first time ever this fabric made it possible to cut the parts for each garment more precisely, allowing a much more exact fit of the final product: A process many other manufacturers have tried to copy since.

The swinging 60s were a time of fame in the international press not only for the young English music band “The Beatles”, but also a for the “Iceland Sweater” made by Geiger. These colorful jacquard sweaters made from Shetland yarn caused such fashion hysteria that additional knitting machines had to be purchased to be able to satisfy all orders. Geiger, as the official supplier for the National Ski Team, created a set of sweater and cardigan in 1964 with a jacquard pattern combining the Austrian Eagle, the Crest of Innsbruck and the Olympic Rings: the “Olympic Look”. An outfit that received at least as much attention in the international press as the fashion model “Twiggy” in that year.

In more that one way did Geiger reach for new heights: becoming the outfitter for Himalayan Expeditions in the 60’s proved that Geiger Walk and Knits were not just eye-catching but also providing the best climate comfort in such extreme conditions allowing the mountain climbers to reach the highest levels of performance. A study the Lancaster University conducted in the Himalayans recently tested garments made from natural fibers, similar to the clothing the British Everest-Pioneers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine were wearing. The results dismissed the theory that the type of clothing caused the 1924 mission to fail but rather confirmed, that clothes made from wool fibers are lighter weight and more comfortable than garments made from manmade fibers.

Also in the following years Geiger stayed true to its path of constant innovation, exciting its fans with ever new ideas. When the concept of “Mix and Match outfits” became popular, Geiger already offered skirts made from Loden in colors matching the Geiger Walk jackets. These jackets featured colorful jacquard knit fronts or structure knit sleeves for a more sporty touch. Again the success surpassed all expectations.

Under the lead of Hansjörg Geiger, the grandson of the company founder, who in 1974 became president of the organization, Geiger took it a step further and broke the existing rule in fashion that two piece suits have to match in color and material. By combining Walk jackets with skirts made from feather light wool challis fabric in colorful exclusive prints, Geiger set a trend in fashion liberation.

1980 marks the year when Geiger, who had successfully entered the US market, founded its US daughter company “Geiger of Austria, Inc.” and one year later moved into a brand new distribution and production facility in Middlebury, VT. A steadily growing number of Geiger fans in the USA motivated the company management to open the first Geiger Boutique in New York in the mid 80’s. And again Geiger proved successful through utilizing its creativity to translate tradition into new trends, allowing the company to become a global player in the fashion world.

Creativity at Geiger does not stop at fashion: In the 90’s Hansjörg Geiger, frustrated with the lack of flexibility of the systems offered by other manufacturers, designed a Modular Transport System (“MTS”) for stock management and with the help of two computer specialists turned this vision into reality. The MTS system allows quick and easy access to individual items (no matter how many or what size) making this system an ideal solution for a wide range of operations.

Time and time again Geiger found international recognition due to its creativity in Geiger’s specialty Walk. In almost every collection, new cunning Walk varieties were introduced, which
over the years have added up to over 50 different types. With this innovative power Geiger has positioned itself as a leader in the industry, transporting a rough material worn by farmers
from the alpine regions to a highly refined, luxurious fabric that has found its place on international runways. Walk also inspired the 4th generation of the Geiger family. Barbara Geiger-Singer, the oldest daughter of Hansjörg Geiger, joined the company in the 90’s. She continued the Geiger tradition of innovation and explored the enormous potential of this material even further, developing the “Geiger signature style”, winning Geiger a design award in the US.

Elisabeth Geiger, the second member of the fourth Geiger generation, came on board in 2003. As head of marketing she consults and coordinates the Geiger Boutiques from Innsbruck to Hong-Kong and Paris to Manhattan. In 2003 Peter Geiger, Hansjörg Geiger’s youngest son, joined the family team. He has taken control of the newly owned Geiger brand “Isabella G ”. Building this second brand allows Geiger to diversify its markets. Walk and Knits are the key components of both, but each of these Geiger branches is very unique in its interpretation of the materials. While Geiger’s International Collection translates Walk and Knits into global fashion trends, “Isabella G.” focuses on high class “ Ethno-Style” with a handmade character.

Also in 2003 came another milestone in the Geiger history. Again Geiger won a DIVA award in the USA recognizing the company’s unique design signature and confirming theinternational competence of the Geiger style. Responding to the emerging trend of “Retro” looks and
answering sports retailers’ requests for garments made from natural fibers, in 2004 Peter Geiger decided to expand the Geiger Collections by introducing “Geiger Active”. A sporty line that reintroduced the looks of the pieces designed for the Himalayan Expedition Geiger had sponsored in the 60’s. In 2005 Peter Geiger became Vice President of Geiger, joining his father in the task of leading the Company into the future. Peter continued to expand the Geiger Collections by evolving
“Geiger Active” into a unique international valid “street style” look called “Geiger free:style” using the company’s specialty Walk and Knits.

Today, Geiger celebrates it’s 100th birthday as a fashion company with a Collection Palette whose breadth fulfills all fashion trends in our global marketplace. Geiger International translates current, international trends into luxurious Walk and Knit designs creating a cosmopolitan
style. Geiger Country transforms alpine tradition into a rich look fitting our day and age by using highest grade Walk, Knits and Loden adorned with exclusive embroidery detailing. Geiger free:style mixes Sportswear styles with Couture elements and glamour effects creating a new lifestyle version of “Streetwear”. Isabella G. and Isabella G. Kids interpret Walk and Knits to
create authentic Ethno looks with exuberant handcrafted details. The future of the family owned enterprise looks bright: in 2002 and 2004 Barbara Geiger-Singer became the proud mother of
two little girls …Over the years Geiger has been true to one maxim: Fashion from Geiger never dictates but rather stimulates ones own ideas. Originality, comfort and function are given highest priority. Rich prints, fabric designs, knit patterns and embroidery motives as well as specially designed buttons and belt buckles create exclusive details that remind one of Parisian Couture.
All this results in a Geiger style with unlimited variation to create unique looks. A perfect match for the wide range of individuals who wear Geiger and have embraced the brand as a natural
choice to express their own style.

The GEIGER daughter company in Vermont/USA caters for the needs of the North American market (mainly US and Canada). 
All around a success story that is only possible through teamwork between the Austrian and the US “Geiger people” which results in this special charm and “European touch” that customers value so much.   Whom You Know will soon be presenting the latest and greatest from this iconic brand that we are so excited to cover.

The company: Geiger of Austria Inc.

President: KR Ing. Hansjörg Geiger
Executive Vice President and General Manager: Wolfgang Miska
Director of Sales & Marketing: Constance St. George
Sales Manager: Dorothea Langevin

38 Pond Lane, P.O. Box 728,
Middlebury, Vermont 05753, USA

Telephone: 1-802-388-3156
Free Call No.: 1-800-2-GEIGER
Fax: 1-802-388-9745

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