In 1884, Albert Handschin and Carl Ronus founded a knitwear factory in the Swiss town of Liestal, naming it HANRO – 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 very beginning, HANRO focused on high quality natural fibres, something which is still true to this day. Over the years, many valuable designs have been added to the archive; these priceless treasures continually serve as a valuable source of inspiration for our designers.
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 fibres to produce practical undergarments.
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 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.
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.
The 1930's 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 brassieres and underskirts, worn as an invisible item of underclothing, whilst her brother works to create the jacquard knitting machines.
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 are sold - immediately pleasing the US customers and met with great appreciation, becoming hugely popular. Due to high demand they start to recruit high quality knitters and seamstresses from Italy.
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.
‘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.
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.
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 Stanley Kubrick's 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.
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.
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 leisure 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.
Over the last years, the modern HANRO loungewear collections have increasingly reflected the casual trend of the new century. Casual outerwear shirts and dresses play fashionably with the idea of inner and outer, and blur the boundaries between underwear, nightwear, and outerwear.
In 2014, HANRO celebrates its 130th anniversary.
In 2016, HANRO is named 'Designer of the Year 2016' by the world’s largest and most prestigious lingerie fair, SALON INTERNATIONAL DE LA LINGERIE, from among 500 lingerie brands.
For HANRO, sustainability is more than just an emerging trend or marketing opportunity. It has always been part of the brand’s DNA, and an embodiment of tradition. That’s why HANRO will focus more on modern, cellulosic fibres like TENCEL.
In addition, HANRO shows with its fashionable trend collections and the INDIVIDUALS @ HANRO concept that underwear is much more. By mixing and matching across all categories, new styles are created again and again, blurring the boundaries between day and night and inner- and outerwear.