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America, 1968. Susie and Doug Tompkins are travelling through California in a station wagon filled with homemade clothes. Theirs is an unconventional method of selling - from the back seat of a vehicle - but even their very first customers are delighted, and one of the world's most successful young fashion brands is born: Esprit.
1971 was the official year of the launch of the brand under the name "Esprit de corp.". 7 lines were designed and things were moving forward. 1971 was the same year where Susie and Doug Tompkins went to Hong Kong and met Michael Ying, the brands former chairman and shareholder, which lead to the foundation of "Esprit Far East".
Another 7 year past by and in 1978 Esprit reached an impressive $100 million in sale. Meanwhile partnerships in Hong Kong and Germany were founded and things had really moved forward.
In 1979 John Casado designed the famous Esprit stencil-effect logo. Despite worries that the triple-bar "E" would not be legible to customers, the new logo became one of the most recognized and memorable in international fashion.
In 1986 Cologne was the location of the first opening of an Esprit store in Germany. The store was designed by Ettore Sottsass with typical elements of the Memphis style.
The year later Susie and Doug Tompkins urged the public to confront the growing AIDS epidemic and showed the world a huge engagement. In the same year the company expanded into Taiwan, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark.
In 1989 the Japanese art publisher Robundo published "Esprit, the Comprehensive Design Principle". Meanwhile Esprit was now launched in France, Norway and the UK and nothing really seemed to be able to stop this massive development of a company.
In 1992 Esprit launched the campaign "What will you do to change the world?". The campaign became well known worldwide and today will be remembered as one of the most famous human campaigns a fashion brand has participated in.
The year later Esprit was introduced to the Asian stock market. It was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange as "Esprit Asia Holdings Limited".
1995 became the year when new product lines was introduced to the company. Products like eyewear, watches, bath & bed, socks & tights were now produced by Esprit which secured them as a company that was able to follow the time and continuously able to be innovative at all levels.
In 1996 Esprit was now represented in 44 countries worldwide and was named the number 28 on the top 100 list of most well known brands in USA.
Moving into the new millennium Esprit Holdings Ltd. became a constituent stock of Morgan Stanley's MSCI Hong Kong Index. The new millennium opened with Esprit asking: "How much faster can we grow?" In the new millennium, new product lines such as sportswear, clothes for newborns and toys were introduced. Only one year later the company broke new records, especially in Germany where it came to an impressive growth of 84% in one year!
In 2002 Esprit Holdings Ltd. unified the global Esprit brand by purchasing the US trademarks and the remaining interests in Esprit International, bringing the brand back under the control of one single entity for the first time since the 70s.
In 2006 Esprit has grown even further. The Esprit brand is sold in five continents and more than 40 countries, 640 freestanding stores and over 12,000 wholesale customers. More than 20,000 products are designed each year for 12 product lines for women, men and kids - and in addition a wide variety of license products for every part of life!
In 2007 Esprit became trendier and more progressive than its "big sister" Esprit women casual, the new Esprit division addresses 18-25-year-old customers who are in search of a clean, urban and young style. The first set of garments presented by de.corp ESPRIT URBAN CASUAL features a cool 80s inspired look.
In 2008 Esprit celebrates its 40 years in fashion and who knows what the future will bring for this brand?
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