The Fristads Kansas Group has been created through a coming together of strong workwear brands – integrating differing but complementary skills – to provide an unrivalled selection of work wear for industries across Europe. Our heritage is a story of innovative entrepreneurs who established companies and created legendary brands within work wear targeting professions all over Europe.
We are proud to continue the legacy of putting the needs of working people first, which was the guiding principle shared by founders like John Magnusson (Fristads®), Poul Larsen (Kansas®), and Lars Wenaas (Wenaas®).
The Fristads Kansas Group has grown through a series of mergers and acquisitions of workwear companies who share our vision. Milestones from our history:
Mid 19th–late 20th century The companies that now make up Fristads Kansas Group were starting out producing work wear in countries all over Europe. They were laying down the very foundations, which has given us a leading position within the European work wear market today.
1995 The leading Danish and Swedish work wear companies Kansas Workwear and Fristads merge under the name Kansas Workwear. Besides traditional workwear, the new company offers clothing for the service industries, sold under the 'Hejco' brand.
1999 The merger of Kansas Workwear and Norwegian Wenaas is completed – and the new group is called Kansas Wenaas Group. Wenaas brings a leading position in the Norwegian work wear market, especially within the offshore industry. The Wenaas organisation also comprises activities in the United Kingdom and the United States. Axcel Industri investor A/S acquires the share capital of Kansas Wenaas A/S and delist the company from the Copenhagen and Oslo Stock Exchanges. Axcel intends to contribute to the continued expansion and evolution of the Kansas Wenaas Group.
2000 The Kansas Wenaas Group combines activities with the EHCO-KLM Group in the Netherlands. EHCO-KLM adds leading brands and market positions in Holland, France and Germany.
2003 The Group changes its name from Kansas Wenaas to KWINTET.
2005 IK Investment Partners acquires KWINTET from Axcel.
2007 Kwintet buys The Cotton Group, thereby securing the B&C brand and a strong position in the promotional garment market in Europe. Kwintet also acquires the Mercatura group; the acquisition brings together two highly complementary businesses. Kwintet is unrivalled in work wear for craftsmen and industry workers; whereas the Mercatura Group is particularly strong in the service wear sector – clothing for professionals in health care, retail and hotels, restaurants and other service professions. The brand portfolio is extended with the brand Clinic Dress.
2015 A consortium of investors led by Michael Hauge Sørensen and Christian Dyvig, two Danish long-term industrial investors, acquires Kwintet from IK Investment Partners. The group is renamed Fristads Kansas Group, after its biggest single work wear brand, as a symbol of increased focus on the individual brands in the portfolio as well as the Scandinavian origin of the Group.