Where We Come From


True love, true values.

The Esprit story began in Northern California in the sixties – with a beautiful love story. In the summer of 1963, a pretty blonde girl in a burgundy Beetle picked up a smart East Coast preppie hitchhiking. His name was Doug Tompkins, hers Susie Buell. The two were on the same wavelength, sharing a great passion for fashion and nature. Only half a year later, they got married and five years later they started what was to become one of the greatest fashion labels in the world: Esprit.

Their aspiration was to create a lifestyle brand that not only offered fashionable clothing, but a world of ideas, meaning and values. Doug and Susie cared for their employees, social issues and the environment. Esprit’s first headquarters in San Francisco were designed to meet the social needs of the employees. Long before terms like sustainability, eco-awareness and social responsibility became talk-of-the-town/hot topics/buzzwords, they bought the first lots of bio cotton to produce their organic Ecollection. Even their advertising was never just about fashion, but about generating awareness for important social issues. Today, Esprit is continually looking to support projects that help to make people’s lives a little better.

At Esprit, our spirit of social and environmental responsibility has never changed. It has been our true belief all along that if you take from the world; you’ve got to give back. That’s why in 1990, we started a sustainability group focusing on Esprit’s environmental and social affairs. At that time, a company-wide “eco-audit” programme took place to incorporate ecological considerations into daily business decisions and in the same year, Esprit embraced a new mission statement: Be informed, be involved, make a difference.