1884 – Innovation – knitted silk camisole with hand-crocheted lace
In 1884, Albert Handschin and Carl Ronus founded a knitwear factory in the Swiss town of Liestal, naming it HANRO – and the foundation for an international success story was laid. As pioneers in the field of circular knitting, they manufactured top quality undergarments on machines specially developed for the purpose.
Right from the early days, the company focused on high quality natural fibers, a rule to which HANRO has always remained true. Over the years, many valuable designs have been added to the archive, these priceless treasures still serve as an unfailing source of inspiration for our designers.
1890 – launch of the arts and craft movement
At this time in upper class Europe there were two requirements that dictated women’s fashion at the time: the need to please husbands and the wish to imitate the curves of interior design. The launch of the arts and crafts movement lead the way to loose and more healthy underwear using delicate fabrics.
Armed with the oldest mechanical knitting mill and the knowledge to deal with business and banking, Albert Handschin and his partner Carl Ronus set up HANRO, based on delicate pure natural fibers to produce practical undergarments.
1900 – Womens’ appreciation of comfort
Trousers find their way into the female wardrobe along with practical separates. The first modern fashion designer invents a prototype of the ‘cradle for the breasts’ brassiere. Liked by names such as Isadora Duncan, American author Gertrude Stein and a number of English ladies who all appreciated the comfort of the exquisite Swiss export.
This prompted the HANRO circular knit bodysuit made from the finest wool and silk.
1910 – Circular knit bodysuits made of finest wool and silk
With war approaching, HANRO develops the camisoles in a loose flat fabric, and supplies the military underpants worn by soldiers in all camps.
Outside Europe, the HANRO brand is the first available in Australia and India. Coco Chanel emerges from a male dominated tailoring profession. The designer was inspired by men’s casual wear. HANRO’s viscose camisoles were recommended as the sporty elegant creations to wear underneath.
1920 – Typical long, slender camisole with lace embellishment
With the sequins of the knee length chiffon dress combined with the fast rhythm of the Charleston, emerged the new 20th century woman. With boyish looks and independence she shakes the foundation and existing role of the sexes.
The corset is abandoned and lightweight, flattening brasseries are worn with loose fitting panties. Young women throughout the world opt for HANRO’s flattering seamless underwear.
1930 – Figure-hugging bustier top celebrates modern femininity
The 1930 regained femininity used HANRO garments to underline it. Divided brassieres emphasise the key attributes and bias cut dresses follow the lines of slim waists and slim hips.
Madeleine Handschin, the granddaughter of company founder Albert, creates a world of innovation with ultralight brassiers and underskirts, worn as an invisible item of underclothing, whilst her brother works to create the jacquard knitting machines.
1940 – A real challenge in difficult times: underwear made of fine wool
With Europe plunged into darkness women hold their own, meticulous hairstyles and high cork heels alone shown the yearning of all women to look feminine.
With the Swiss neutrality HANRO is able to continue its production and export to the US, where their soft viscose lingerie with tulle inserts is sold and immediately pleases the US customers and is met with great appreciation, becoming hugely popular. Due to high demand they start to recruit high quality knitters and seamstresses from Italy.
1950 – Even Hollywood divas are delighted with seductive creations with St. Gallen lace
The ‘New Look’ marks the start of the decade and the discovery that movie stars could be ideal message bearers, with the iconic picture of Marilyn Monroe (yes that one) in HANRO pants.
The range is increased in a booming range of goods in soft bulging shapes and tender pastel shades as teenagers already flirt with brand awareness of their mothers.
1960 – Raschel fabric designs are in demand
‘Make love not war’ is spread as the rebellion is sparked by the Mary Quant mini skirt in swinging London. Young women oppose the ladylike style by wearing tight fitting sexy wear.
The flower power age heightens the awareness of the benefits of natural fibers. The raschel machines are working day and night to keep up with the demand for imaginative flower designs.
1970 – Elegant, warming homewear delights discerning customers
In this decade the closeness to nature and physical fitness is the recipe for the prolonged youth everybody craves.
The new product group for the first time has the transition from the likeness of night and outerwear and where the bras, pants and bodies resemble swimwear.
1980 – A bestseller is born – the Cotton Seamless 1501 spaghetti top
The launch of the HANRO Cotton Seamless shirt 1601 in 1985 reaches fame later when it appears as a prominently placed prop on Nicole Kidman in a Stanley Kubricks movie ‘Eyes Wide Shut’.
The top becomes the star of the collection and demand reaches record heights of popularity what was frequently copied but never achieved the definition of the HANRO feminine undershirt.
1990 – Wellness trends and technical innovations
With the increased use of the internet allowing people to do business at the click of a button, HANRO launches its ‘Back to the Roots’ campaign.
This builds on the brands long tradition and valuable experience, being known as underwear that can be relied on having survived through generations.
2000 – Cotton Sensation: feather light cotton with the finest gauge stitching
The introduction of the Cotton Sensation, Ultralight and Sea Island Cotton ranges bring the brand up date. New lifestyle trends as well as the rise of segments such as loungewear and athleisure link outerwear, nightwear and underwear in a fashionable manner. HANRO has been continually innovating fabrics and designs, along with keeping the ranges on trend with seasonal collections and colours.