TOMMY HILFIGER is the pinnacle of the American preppy, sports aesthetic. How have you managed to develop and push the brand forward but remain authentic and true to your DNA?
We want to keep mixing up our codes and evolving our brand to attract the next generation of consumers. At the same time, we want to continue designing for our loyal consumers who have followed the brand and loved our styles for many years. It’s about finding the right balance between innovation and staying true to our classic Americana heritage.
From Aaliyah to Snoop Dogg, you were one of the first brands to really tap into the world of music in the ‘90s. What made that connection for you? And why was it so important to you?
Looking back, I have such fond memories of working with some incredible talents from across the board – musicians, artists and designers. The individuals we partner with share our core value of determined optimism while identifying with our classic American cool DNA. They put their spin on our pieces which injects a new authentic spin into our collections, always keeping the brand relevant and interesting.
What do you see as the relationship between fashion and music? And why has this been so important to the TOMMY HILFIGER DNA?
I’ve always been inspired by this relationship between fashion and music – they blend so seamlessly and push each movement forward. For example, when Snoop Dogg wore the iconic TOMMY HILFIGER rugby shirt on Saturday Night Live in 1994, the design sold out the next day. It brought our brand to the attention of a whole new group of fans. It was the beginning of an exciting time for us collaborating with talented R&B artists like Aaliyah and Usher – we couldn’t have connected with our new consumers without the help of music.
The power of celebrity and pop culture has always been important to you. How do you go about finding the right talent? And what do you take from those relationships?
Authenticity is key and we make sure we build personal relationships before establishing any partnership. Each partnership has brought personal meaning and significance to our collaborations. These partnerships keep our brand relevant, inject a fresh twist to our collections and campaigns and help us translate our values around the world. Openness and inclusion is the direction we’re going and where we believe the industry needs to go as well.
There have been so many iconic TOMMY HILFIGER moments over the years. What stands out to you?
One standout moment was the first time I saw my name on a Times Square billboard in NYC. Back in the ‘80s, my backer, Mohan Murjani, introduced me to an advertising genius named George Louis who pushed me to stand out from the homogenous advertisements of my competitors. George shocked me by creating the bold “Hangman” advertisement, listing my name as one of the four major American designers. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. The Hangman ad put the brand on the map overnight and will always be one of the greatest moments in my career.