When it comes to fashion 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 inspires them with new ideas again and again.
GEIGER is such a brand. For four generations, GEIGER has practiced to constantly reinvent itself, thus reflecting the various times 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 the past century. 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, giving other women the opportunity to follow her lead. She purchased wool from local farmers and with the help of her fellow workers she created her first collection of “Hoeslstutzen” (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. At a time when Coco Chanel influenced the “Garconne Style” in Paris, the GEIGER collections had already reached popularity beyond Austrian borders through 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 was not yet randomly available as a source for inspiration in the fashion world. When the apparel centers started to show interest in sportswear, Geiger Of Austria had sensational success with its brand new “Parallelo Sweaters”. And their sweaters and cardigans with patterns inspired by traditional Norwegian knitwear became a must in any trend setters wardrobe.
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 insisted on 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 braid-pattern sweater GEIGER had designed for him. This “Sailer-Pullover” was a winner in the “Fashion Olympics” in the media. It became such a sales hit that the knitting machines in Schwaz were running day and night. GEIGER was recognized internationally.
In the late 50s Yves Saint Laurent created a “Classic” fashion trend with clear lines while GEIGER in Austria already featured its “Classic” – an elegant, charcoal gray sweater made from the finest Shetland yarn; such a sales success that the 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 always finding the perfect solution to implement new 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 thought 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 and 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.
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 Of Austria. These colorful jaquard 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 containing 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”.
Also in the following years Geiger Of Austria followed its path of constant innovation, exciting its fans with ever new ideas. When the concept of “Mix and Match outfits” became popular, Geiger Of Austria already offered skirts made from Loden in colors matching the GEIGER WALK jackets. The Loden fabric was even incorporated into the GEIGER jackets: Loden back panels were joined with WALK front panels and colorful knit or structure knit sleeves, creating a relaxed, sporty touch. And again the success surpassed all expectations.
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 matching WALK jackets with skirts made from feather light wool challis fabric in colorful exclusive prints, Geiger Of Austria set a trend in fashion liberation.
Time and time again GEIGER’s creativity found international recognition. In almost every collection, new cunning WALK varieties were introduced. Barbara Geiger-Singer, the oldest daughter of Hansjoerg Geiger, joined the company in the 90’s, and took control of the GEIGER design department. She continued the GEIGER tradition of innovation and explored the enormous potential of this material even further, developing the “GEIGER signature style”, winning Geiger Of Austria a design award in the US.
Elisabeth Geiger, the second member of the fourth GEIGER generation, came on board in 2003. She consults and coordinates the GEIGER Boutiques from Innsbruck to Hong-Kong and Paris to Manhattan.
Also in 2003 Peter Geiger, Hansjoerg Geiger’s youngest son, joined the family team. He has taken the lead of the newly GEIGER owned brand “Isabella G ”. Building this second brand allows GEIGER to diversify in 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. Different from the GEIGER style “Isabella G.” focuses on high class “ Ethno Style” with a handmade character. Because of the distinct look of each brand one can hardly find any overlaps but rather interesting synergy effects between them.
Also in 2003 came another milestone in the GEIGER history. Again Geiger Of Austria won a DIVA award in the USA recognizing the company’s unique design signature and confirming the international competence of the GEIGER style.
All these years this Tyrolian Company stayed true to one maxim: Fashion ideas made by Geiger Of Austria never confine or limit but rather stimulate the customer’s own creativity. No rules but rather suggestions! The focus is not to shock with extremes but rather to pay attention to detail in originality, comfort and function. With details that remind one of Parisian Couture: from exclusive prints, knit patterns and embroidery designs to unique buttons and belt buckles. This is the secret to GEIGER’s limitless versatility. A perfect match for the people who wear Geiger Of Austria for many years to come and naturally absorb GEIGER as part of their own style.