I think I am at the point where I need to stop apologising for my absence and simply just get down to blogging. For those who do blog, you will know that it’s a full time task and I wish I could dedicate all my time to this but there are so many great things happening right now that I can’t even begin to explain. Soon it will be all over this blog for you all to see!
Today we take a look at an American with a style that I have always been a a fan of. His ad campaigns are part of his trademark and his customer are loyal to the look.
We take a brief look at…
Thomas Jacob “Tommy” Hilfiger was born in Elmira, New York on the 24th of March 1951. Hilfiger graduated from the Elmira Free Academy High School in 1970. His parents wanted him to get a college education and pursue a traditional career, and so for a time he attended GST BOCES Bush Campus in Elmira.
Having spent the summer of 1969 working in a clothing store on Cape Cod, Hilfiger decided to use his life savings which was a total of $150 to open a clothing store with two friends. The store opened in 1971 under the name “People’s Place”, the first store was located in downtown Elmira. The store sold items that Hilfiger and his friends would purchase during trips to New York City, the items included clothing such as bell-bottoms, peasant blouses, and leather jackets.
Hilfiger however was not satisfied with the products that he was receiving and so he began sketching his own designs. Unfortunately, despite its initial success, after seven years of selling what could be described as “hippie supplies like bell-bottoms, incense and records” out of a total of ten stores, the “People’s Place” went bankrupt in 1977.
It was at this point that Hilfiger enrolled in classes on commerce and the business side of the fashion industry. He moved New York after that and began working for several different labels. He set up a company called Tommy Hill in 1979, forming his own design team at the age of 28.
One of his first clients was a company called “Jordache Jeans” and as Hilfiger’s company expanded beyond denim he spent time in India, learning more about his trade. In 1981 he founded the company 20th Century Survival, and the following year he founded Click Point, which designed women’s clothing. In 1985, he founded the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation, and with the support from The Murjani Group, they went public in 1992, introducing his signature menswear collection.
Since the 1980s Hilfiger’s designs have always typically drawn from classic American New England styles. His initial lines for the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation were first and foremost designed to appeal to young men looking for designer clothing. Tommy Hilfiger became one of the most prominent brands in 1990s in terms of sportswear, creating distinctive wardrobes based upon stylish but comfortable and interchangeable multi-purpose clothes, all with a focus on luxury.
Interestingly enough, the Hip Hop fashion scene at large began including the Hilfiger brand into their look during the 1990s, and when Snoop Dogg wore a Hilfiger sweatshirt during an appearance on Saturday Night Live, it sold out of New York City stores the next day.
Specific items like Tommy Hilfiger Carpenter Jeans became particularly popular, which featured the trademark logo displayed on the hammer loop. Hilfiger continues to maintain multiple fashion lines, some focused on wearable “casual” clothes while others take on various haute couture commissions.
Aside from the preppy styles of his youth, Hilfiger has also always been influenced by the style of a wide variety of American icons, including James Dean, Debbie Harry, Farrah Fawcett, Steve McQueen and so on. Many of his designs draw prominently from the styles of hard rock and the pop music industry.
American R&B icon Aaliyah became the much-publicized spokesperson for Tommy Hilfiger Corporation in 1997.
Hilfiger was named Menswear Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1995. And then in 1999, Hilfiger was listed as main sponsor for Britney Spears 1999 …Baby One More Time Tour.
By 2004, the company had 5,400 employees and revenues in excess of $1.8 billion.
To change things up, in 2005, a CBS reality show called The Cut tracked the progress of sixteen contestants as they competed for a design job with Tommy Hilfiger and their own fashion line under Hilfiger’s label.
It was in 2006 that Hilfiger made the decision to sell his company to Apax Partners, a private investment company.
This did not slow Hilfiger down and thus in 2008 Hilfiger, alongside Rives and Israeli-model Bar Refaeli co-hosted the Bravo special program “Tommy Hilfiger Presents Ironic Iconic America.” It was based on the book Ironic Iconic America written by Hilfiger and designer George Lois, the program examined how pop culture has influenced American tastes and styles.
In March 2010, Phillips-Van Heusen, owner of Calvin Klein, bought the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation for $3 billion. From there, Fred Gehring who had launched Hilfiger’s European division in 1996, assumed the role of Hilfiger’s CEO. Daniel Grieder was appointed CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Group in July 2014, where Gehring was made executive chairman of Tommy Hilfiger Group and was appointed vice chairman of PVH.
In January 2015 the Tommy Hilfiger Group debuted a digital sales showroom at its Amsterdam headquarters, with plans to open showrooms in other cities. Gehring stepped down as Tommy Hilfiger Group’s chairman in August 2015, though he retained his role at PVH.
It is to be definitely noted that Tommy Hilfiger remains the company’s principal designer, leading the design teams and overseeing the entire creative process.
“Designing made me happier than anything I’d ever done. I knew from that early work that designing would be my life.”
~ Tommy Hilfiger
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Thanks VB xx