C & A – which stands for not just for affordable fashion, but for 175 years of fashion history, actually fashion revolution and a mysterious family clan. We take a look behind the curtain of the textile group.
C & A is a synonym for cheap fashion in addition to H & M and Zara – but has a much longer and more exciting story than the competing labels. The ZDF documentary “The C & A-story” looked for the first time behind the scenes of the textile dynasty, which again is one of the third-largest fashion brands (behind Otto and H & M) in Germany after many ups and downs.
Our site reveals 8 fascinating facts:
What is C & A? No, not for “cheap & awful” (German cheap & ugly) courses as derogatory in the vernacular. The two initials are the initials of the two founders, the brothers Clemens (d. 84) and August († 73) Brenninkmeijer.
The two brothers out of trouble came to the textile trade. Actually, there are the Brenninkmeijers of a farming family from the Westphalian Mettingen. To supplement the empty coffers and not to starve out the two brothers as a cloth merchant in the Netherlands. Eventually they settled in the Netherlands Sneek. Today, family members all now have a Dutch passport.
In 1841 was founded the textile company C & A, in 1860, the first store opened in Sneek. Only in 1911, there was the first branch in Germany, on the King’s Road in Berlin (today’s Town Hall Road at the Alexanderplatz). There are now over 2000 C & A stores in 23 countries. Düsseldorf is headquartered, the family home is still Mettingen. With estimated assets of 25 billion euros, the Brenninkmeijers belong to the richest families Europe.
C & A is regarded as the founder of the clothing off the rack. At the beginning of the 20th century there were fashionable clothing in the Department stores and shops only on custom-made for well-heeled. C & A changed with ready-made, the introduction of a unified system of size (the today’s sizes) and the self-service principle. At the time a revolution. “We serve those who ride a street car”, was the motto of the C & A at that time. Explanation: simple people took the tram, who was holding something up, left in a carriage driving around up – later drive. In the 1920s, C & A introduced the right to Exchange. C & A is one of the first textile companies, which produce made in low-wage countries was also.
Did you know by the way that C & A even a real top model made cool again: 2012 designed Cindy Crawford (50) a collection for the Duesseldorf and of course personally recruited.
Within the clan, there is a strict code of all who work in the company, must follow. Already the founders laid down rules, for example, that should have all male descendants in the enterprise to work and women stay out of everything. In addition the family lives until now strictly Catholic, which presupposes a certain modesty per se. Until today, there is the family motto “Eendracht is power – unity means power”. The family lived until recently extremely Moers and isolated. In the 1990s, the number of C & A stores was not even communicated. For staff, there were certain rules in the company many years. For example, there was no romantic relationships between employees.
Now not all work about 500 family members in the company. Philippe Brenninkmeijer (51) is a successful actor (“Tatort”, “sex and the city”), Alexander Brenninkmeijer has his own fashion label Clemens en August, many are because of the Catholic faith in the service of the Church. Who however chooses a career in the family business, must go through a trainee program years. Until the mid-1980s years lived the male offspring (women could not work Yes still in the company) for WG-like apartments on the upper floors of the C & A department stores with a housekeeper under strict rules: no alcohol, no girlfriend, no car or other extravaganzas. There’s no more, just like many other old rules. Today everyone in the company has a chance, whether woman or man, a believer or not.
The special in the clan: shares in the company may not be inherited. The principle stated C & A owner Maurice Brenninkmeijer in “Time”: “if I resign, I will sell my shares after a certain time. If my kids in the business want to enter, they must apply for the training program, accepted, and to grow. Their successes and their development based on their pre – and not on the last name. And only if they are then transported on the basis of their individual merits and values to a leadership position, you are invited to the Group of owners and in turn can buy shares.” Also any Brennikmeijer, who works as a shareholder in the company, gets an external Manager to the page, which well, watching him on the finger.
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