The Sander fashion house began when Jil Sander opened her first boutique at age 24 in Hamburg, Germany. She was born in 1943 and is known as a minimalist fashion designer who was far ahead of her time. She graduated with a textile design degree in 1963 and went on to work for a women's magazine for short period of time thereafter. When she opened her first store, she sold other people's fashions, including Sonia Rykiel and Thierry Mugler, but eventually managed to introduce her own fashion items. Her first clothing line debuted in 1973, and she founded the Jil Sander GmbH fashion house in 1978.
The brand produced early fragrances, including Pure Woman and Pure Man in 1979. Other fragrances are produced in partnership with Coty. Her brand developed a loyal following, with its efficient cuts and high-quality fabrics that could blend well with any ensemble. It was a far departure from the fashions of the 1980s, and the brand reached its height of popularity during the 1990s.
Her company made its Wall Street debut in 1989, which gained her access to international markets, while venturing into men's fashion. Although Sander retired in 2000, when the brand took a nosedive due to bad management decisions, she returned at the helm in 2003. Sander, again, departed from the company in 2004, and later, fostered a deal with Japanese brand Uniqlo that lasted from 2009 to 2011.