Akris was founded in St. Gallen, Switzerland in 1922 by Alice Kriemler-Schoch, a poised and entrepreneurial woman who began making polka dot aprons out of her modest sewing studio.
Using local fabrics from St. Gallen—a leading textile hub known for its exquisite cottons and embroidery—Alice was soon dressing the region’s most stylish women. In 1944, Alice’s son Max joined the family business. He named the house Akris, after the initials of her name and helped grow ready-to-wear as well as collaborating with Parisian couture houses like Ted Lapidus and Givenchy.
At age 19, Max’s son Albert was scheduled to move to Paris and work as an apprentice to Couturier Hubert de Givenchy, but family duty called when his father’s business partner unexpectedly passed away. Without a second thought, Albert Kriemler took over the design responsibilities of Akris, and gradually turned the house into the international symbol of understated luxury it is today.
For Creative Director Albert Kriemler, the purpose of fashion is to make a woman’s life less complicated, and to enhance, rather than hide, her natural beauty and grace. To Albert, the importance of fashion extends far beyond its aesthetic properties. He sees it as a protective sheath that enters into a sensual dialogue with the body of the woman who wears it.
For this reason, fabric is always Albert’s starting point. He explains, “When I touch a fabric, it tells me what I can do with it. Then I start to draw.” From there, Albert considers a woman’s lifestyle—where she is going, what she is doing, how she wants to feel—and he goes on to create the most refined pieces for every moment in her busy life. The discreetly luxurious designs complement her body and express her individuality. Albert shares, “When a woman walks into a room, I want people to notice her personality first and her clothing second.”
Albert has a passion for art and often collaborates with exceptional painters, sculptors, photographers and architects on his collections. He has previously worked with influential artists such as Carmen Herrera, Geta Brătescu, Rodney Graham and Thomas Ruff.
Akris is the only fashion house of its size based in St. Gallen, a charming prealpine town of 75,000 renowned for its longstanding tradition as the heart of the country's textile industry. Since the 19th century, St. Gallen has been known worldwide for its exquisite embroidery. The town is also home to innovative manufacturers Bischoff Textil, Forster Rohner and Jakob Schlaepfer, who regularly develop textiles for Akris.
St. Gallen is the birthplace of Akris founder Alice Kriemler-Schoch, and it is where her family has lived and worked for three generations. The quiet, secluded beauty and rich culture of the town continues to inform Akris designs and inspire Creative Director Albert Kriemler.
Double-face is an important element of the signature Akris look. It’s one layer of fabric with two identical sides, woven together on specially designed looms. To finish the edges, a tailor turns the two edges inward upon themselves. These turned-in edges are then hand-sewn to create invisible seams around the perimeter of the garment. The result is a lightweight, highly flexible unlined garment of a single layer of fabric.
Embroidery of Akris is very modern, with effects that are often based on geometrics or graphic design. St. Gallen’s specialty textile and embroidery houses obviously work with many fashion brands, but Akris has the advantage of being next door. This facilitates close collaboration with technical specialists at the fabric houses.
Natural, beautiful, refined, ultra-lightweight, resilient, animal friendly and traditional – horsehair is an astonishing material. Its color becomes richer and more interesting over time. The ability to create refined horsehair accessories and small leather goods requires masterful artistry.
Horsehair is a very tricky and stubborn material to work with. A weaving machine can produce only about one meter of horsehair cloth in a day, so the material is very rare. No animal is harmed to process horsehair.