The Interview: Alex Thomson X BOSS Sailing

British sailor Alex Thomson is one of the world’s most accomplished solo offshore sailors. Having competed in the high speed, extreme IMOCA 60 class, Thomson has gone on and broken multiple records and achieved countless accolades throughout his decorated career to date.

The youngest skipper ever to win a round-the-world yacht race, Thomson also holds the British solo, unassisted round-the-world monohull record, which he set in 2017 when he finished the gruelling Vendée Globe race, known as the ‘the Everest of sailing’ and he did it in just 74 days. Having finished the 2012 and 2016 editions of the Vendée Globe in third and second place respectively, Thomson is targeting victory in 2020 onboard his brand new HUGO BOSS race yacht. We sat down with him to talk about his principle sponsor Hugo Boss and their new collection BOSS Sailing Collection that aims to take the brand on a journey towards a more sustainable approach to fashion.

How did the new BOSS Responsible Sailing Capsule come about? 

After the success of the first Sailing Capsule, BOSS came to us to explain that they wanted to create a second collection, this time directly linked to the new HUGO BOSS boat, which I will race in the Vendée Globe 2020. This was exciting to hear, particularly when we learned about their vision to create a Capsule from responsible materials. We knew then that this had the potential to be a totally unique project.

How involved were you in the process? 

The design process actually began around about the same time that we were conceiving the brand identity of the boat itself. So when Industrial Designer Karim Rashid was working with our own team to finalise the colour palette, sail patterns and aesthetic of the HUGO BOSS boat, those decisions were also helping to shape the direction of the Sailing Capsule. The Design and Brand team at BOSS would regularly share concepts with us. We knew the Capsule would not only be made available to buy but that it would also be our team kit, and so BOSS really listened to our feedback when it came to what we needed as a sailing team.

What was your reaction when you saw the Capsule for the first time? 

I loved it! There is a simplicity to the collection and a functionality, which makes it perfect for our team to wear both on and off the water. But I think the Capsule also delivers the style and quality that people expect from BOSS. 

The Collection focuses on pink, black and white – just like the HUGO BOSS boat. Was it important to ATR and BOSS to align closely with the identity of the boat?

To see the Capsule now makes me feel very proud actually. The link to the boat is unmistakable. When we first unveiled the boat, the reaction from fans was so positive. They loved the bold design and the brave choices we had made. I’m expecting them to love the Sailing Capsule too. 

Does any of the Capsule feature in your official team kit? 

Yes! Every item within the Sailing Capsule features within our team kit, which means – for everyone who has asked us when they can buy our kit – now they can. I’m looking forward to seeing lots of our fans in black and pink!

This Capsule celebrates reduction and sustainability. Was that important to you, and how does that align with the sport you compete in?

For me, the thing that really drew me to this project was that BOSS was so committed to creating a Capsule from responsible materials. Every piece has been made from either recycled polyester or organic cotton. BOSS have collaborated with Plastic Bank®, an initiative which aims to stop waste plastic going into the ocean and improve the lives of the people who collect that plastic, and COTTONFORLIFE which supports the farming of organic cotton. I admire the fact that BOSS has focused so much energy on finding more responsible ways to produce and finish these pieces. I certainly think about that when I wear them. 

Do you have a favourite item and why? 

The pink hoodie is my favourite piece if I had to pick just one. It’s comfortable, it stands out and it’s something that I’ll wear a lot. But what’s most impressive to me is that the hoodie is made from 90% recycled Social Plastic® from Plastic Bank®. I believe it’s our responsibility to protect our oceans and so this collaboration is really special for me.

Any last thoughts?

For BOSS, this Capsule represents another stage in their journey towards a more sustainable approach to fashion. And I could not be prouder to be a part of that journey.

Follow the Vendée Globe and shop the BOSS Sailing Capsule


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