Karlowsky Fashion - A success story for 5 generations

For generations, the name “Karlowsky” has been associated with high-quality branded clothing in the catering and hotel industry – and for some years now also in the areas of medicine, care, cosmetics and wellness. With Thomas & Niels Karlowsky, generation four and five are now responsible for the fortunes of the family business.

The success story of our company began in 1892 with great-great-grandfather August Karlowsky, who laid the foundation for the family business. He traded in selected haberdashery and initially moved from market to market with wooden carts. From 1936 onwards, son Herrmann and his wife Frida took the decisive step forward. Our former retail shop developed into a wholesale business with several branches, whose goods were produced in the company’s own manufactories. After the war, private property is expropriated in the GDR. Frieda Karlowsky was able to arrange a commission contract with the state (half state, half private) so that the company could remain at least partly in family hands.

After Frida’s death, the family inheritance was initially passed on to the two daughters, before in 1974 Thomas, aged just 14, took over the inheritance in the fourth generation – initially in an administrative capacity until 1989, then from 1990 as managing director and with a new focus for the company. Growing product range, growing customer base, growing importance – the 1990s and 2000s were characterised by expansion, innovation and many groundbreaking decisions to become one of the most important producers of workwear for the catering and hotel industry in Germany.

The fifth generation of Karlowsky has been on board since 2014: Niels was initially in charge of business development, export, IT and marketing before moving to the management board in 2023. Since then, Thomas & Niels Karlowsky have formed a dual leadership in the company and use their passion, joint know-how and innovative ideas to ensure that the company can continue into even more generations and further successful chapters.

Thomas & Niels Karlowsky | The Management

Our eventful history at a glance


2021 | Certification with the Green Button, Global Recycled Standard (GRS) & Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

With its new products for 2021, Karlowsky® shows which topics will determine the coming years in the workwear sector: Sustainability, transparency and a great deal of attention to detail. The certifications with the Green Button, Global Recycled Standard (GRS) & Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) are just the beginning and lay the foundation for the workwear of the future.

2020 | Health & Beauty - New product area for medicine, care, wellness and cosmetics

With “HEALTH & BEAUTY”, Karlowsky® presents innovative and sustainable workwear for medical, care, wellness and cosmetic professions at the beginning of 2020, the advantages of which lie in the high functionality and the feel-good factor throughout.

2019 | With GREEN GENERATION® launches the first sustainable collection

Karlowsky Fashion GmbH presents the Green Generation collection in 2019. The new, highly fashionable work and leisurewear comes from sustainable production. The highlight: the polyester used is made from recycled plastic. An innovation that pays off: for customers and the environment alike.

2018 | Robin Pietsch becomes testimonial for the DIAMOND CUT® brand

Since 2018, Saxony-Anhalt’s only Michelin-starred chef Robin Pietsch has been a testimonial for our premium brand Diamond Cut ®. We regularly provide him and his team with new products from the Karlowsky Collection.

2017 | 125 years Karlowsky Fashion

2014 | Niels Karlowsky becomes the new Business Development Manager & Head of Export

Son Niels Karlowsky joins the company and becomes the new Business Development Manager and Head of Export.

2012 | 120th company anniversary

2012 | Olympia London

Karlowsky Fashion becomes official outfitter of the staff of the “German House”  at the Olympic Games in London.

2010 | ROCK CHEF® and star chef Stefan Marquard

Development and launch of the  trendy brand ROCK CHEF® along with TV chef Stefan Marquard.

2008 | Change of name, expansion and move

Change of name from Karlowsky GmbH & Co. KG to Karlowsky Fashion GmbH. Entry into the advertising industry as premium brand. Publication of the new main catalogue with 128 pages. Move of the Karlowsky Fashion GmbH to Hohendodeleben – extension of the storage capacity.

2002 | Change of name and expansion

The assortment comprises several 1000 articles after 10 years, which are summarised in a 72-sided catalogue.

1994 | First colour catalogue

Appearance of the first colourful catalogue and since then constant extension of the assortment of professional clothes for catering trade, food-processing industry as well as accessories.

1990 | New start with the 2 articles: icing bags and rubber apron. Taking over the production of icing bags and aprons, cancellation of the rent with the national enterprise of the GDR.

1974 | Thomas Karlowsky becomes owner of the company premises

After the death of Frieda Karlowsky the company has been assumed by the mother and aunt of today’s company owner. After the death of his mother in 1974 14-year-old Thomas Karlowsky accepts the inheritance of his mother. The inherited company premises did contain the head office until the move in 2008.

1973 | Production of icing bags and rubber aprons

After the 2nd World War, the production of icing bags and rubber aprons has been let to the food-processing industry, caused by a national resolutions of the GDR. Expropriation of private property, wife Frieda Karlowsky concluded a pact of commission with the state (half nationally, half privately).

1936 | Take-over by Hermann Karlowsky

The next generation, with Hermann and Frieda Karlowsky, takes over the management. Opening of some businesses and extension of the assortment (haberdashery), retail trade business becomes wholesale and building of manufacture houses, where textiles were made.

1930 | Expansion

Opening of a further living and firm house, which is still today in the firm possession.