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G: Pockets | July 2014

Innerwear with Heart and Soul

Since the worldwide structural shift in the textile industry, only a handful of companies remain in the former textiles heartland of the Swabian Alb. One of these companies is the Albstadt-based underwear manufacturer Comazo GmbH + Co. KG, who have managed to combine tradition and innovation with 130 years of experience in textile production. Around 10 million items of underwear a year are sold by this fully integrated family business and the entire range is certified in accordance with the human-ecological requirements of OEKO-TEX® Standard 100.

Nowadays, underwear is synonymous with a cultured lifestyle and can contribute to a sense of individual well-being and personality with styles for every taste and occasion. The range of requirements for good underwear goes far beyond pure practicality: they should be comfortable, attractive, stylish and functional, durable and as low-maintenance as possible. They should also feel as soft and pleasant as possible on our skin. And in no way are these requirements restricted to the ladies men and children also increasingly value a stylish set of "undies". It was different before: underwear served to provide protection and warmth and remained more or less untouched by trends in fashion. It was in this era that the merchant and farmer Conrad Maier founded his little underwear enterprise in his living room in Albstadt. When the company was founded in 1884, there was no precise postal address system like nowadays the post would typically be addressed to the nearest inn with the name: "Conrad Maier zum Ochsen", or "Conrad Maier by the Oxen Inn". The abbreviation derived from it, "Comazo", gave the young enterprise its name. The distinguished factory building built thereafter is still the headquarters of Comazo.

The modern Ox sculpture at its entrance commemorates its origins. One of the last German underwear companies, Comazo continues to handle its own production: all of the manufacturing steps are carried out by around 470 staff in a number of operations in Germany, Romania, Croatia and Russia. Production is in-house and includes finishing, cutting, sewing, packing and shipping facilities. In its textile facilities in Albstadt, fabrics are bleached, dyed, finished and cut using the most modern of processes. The production volumes amount to roughly 55,000 pieces of underwear for women, men and children per day, and the focus is on lingerie and functional underwear of all kinds. Their buyers include nearly every major European retailer. The company also sells its products directly through its 31 shops in Baden Württemberg  and Bavaria, and through an Internet Shop. "We want to be as close as possible to our end consumers," explains Dr Christoph Maier, the company director, elaborating "and we want to find out exactly what our customers want at first hand."

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