The combination of longstanding experience, consistent craftsmanship and modern technology has enabled the Leichtfried mill to look back on more than 130 years of the company’s history. It remains the backbone behind the company’s success today.
In 1884, the handweaver Johann Obberluggauer, originally from Lesachtal in Carinthia, bought a small plot of land for setting up a loden production.
Johann Oberluggauer died in 1886. His most proficient employee, Johann Maierhofer, married Oberluggauer’s widow and from then on led the company until 1919. During this time, the business premises were expanded and new properties were acquired.
In 1919, Josef Leichtfried did an internship in the dye house of the Maierhofer fullery. In the same year, he married the company owner’s daughter, Karoline Maierhofer. Josef Leichtfried originally came from Göstling an der Ybbs in Lower Austria, where his father operated a linen and loden mill.
In the pre-war years, the premises were continually expanded to be able to meet the increasing demands for Leichtfried Loden, which by then had already become popular beyond Styria. An Austrian newspaper from 1935 stated that the Prince of Wales had bought a jacket from “Leichtfried pearl loden“ in Kitzbühel.
From the end of World War II until 1969, the company was directed by Josef Leichtfried together with his two sons and daughters.
During this time, the priority was to make construction investments. Thus, large, bright production halls were built which enabled a modern production. In 1959, what had previously been a sole proprietorship was converted into a family limited partnership.
Leichtfried is one of the worldwide first companies to become a Woolmark partner. The Woolmark trademark is internationally known as a quality award for wool production and constitutes a full quality guarantee for traders and consumers.
In 1969, the director, who passed away in 1974, handed down the company management to his son Josef, who had completed the renowned training as textile engineer in Aachen.
As personally liable director, Josef Leichtfried from then on led the company in its third generation. The most important decision at that time was the focus on quality instead of quantity and the specialization on high-quality woollen fabrics.
Dr. Josef Leichtfried takes over the company in its 4th generation: In 1983, Dr Josef Leichtfried, whose key priority was the internationalization of the company, took over the company management in the fourth generation. A further asset was added to the high quality of the products: the particularly beautiful and seasonally advanced colors.
The company celebrates its 100th anniversary and makes its first attempt to establish itself in the world of French fashion and couture through a cooperation with the Austrian, France-based designer Helmut Lang.
The company renews the finishing department to be able to produce even finer and higher-quality fabrics and thus meet the high quality requirements of its clients.
In the years to follow, key company departments are equipped with the latest machines and the historic factory premises are fundamentally renovated.
With Josef Maximilian Leichtfried, the fifth generation of the family joins the company. Investments and the modernization of the machine parks are further advanced.
For the first time, the company participates in the world’s biggest apparel textiles trade fair, the Première Vision in Paris. This is due to the upward trend in the demand of internationally operating clothing companies and fashion labels for Leichtfried fabrics.