Tommy Hilfiger: Redefining Urban Cool
The red, blue and white colours of the Tommy Hilfiger logo have come to define modern day urban clothing. We explore what sets the designer, and the brand, apart
Think American classic cool, and the one brand that immediately comes to mind is Tommy Hilfiger. It is arguably one of the most recognized fashion brand amongst the urban youth, and has literally come to define modern day adages like ‘cool’, ‘chic’
It is widely responsible for providing a refreshing twist to the preppy fashion genre, even before it was cool. Since its promising debut in 1985, when it wowed fashion critics and shoppers alike, the brand has now grown to be a powerful apparel and retail empire.
Today, Tommy Hilfiger is well known for its beautifully designed, high quality products, including men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, sportswear, denim, and a range of licensed products such as accessories, fragrances and home furnishings. The brand today, boasts of an envious global recognition, with stores throughout North America, Europe, Central and South America and Asia Pacific. And the man behind the brand, Thomas Jacob Hilfiger, is no less than a fashion icon himself.
DOWN MEMORY LANE
Born in 1951, in Elmira, New York, Tommy Hilfiger was the second of nine children, in a German-Swiss, Irish-American family. While his parents wanted him to be an engineer, life had other plans in store for Tommy.
His designing streak came to light during his high-school years, when he opened a small store called People’s Place with just $150.
His intent? To bring upscale fashion from New York and London to upstate New York. It was quite a success, and building on the success of his first shop, Hilfiger slowly established a chain of 10 specialty stores in upstate New York by the age of 26. During the '70s, he began designing for the boutiques he had always admired, before moving to New York City in 1979 to pursue a career as a full-time fashion designer.
It was here that he came across Mohan Murjani, an Indian businessman looking to launch a line of men’s clothing, who believed that combining Hilfiger’s astute entrepreneurial background and his own business know-how, would give them a unique ability to approach men’s fashion in a new way.
It was during this time that Hilfiger introduced his first signature collection in 1985 by modernising button-down shirts, chinos, and other time-honoured classics with updated fits and details. The relaxed, youthful attitudes of his first designs have remained a distinctive hallmark throughout all his subsequent collections. Hilfiger knew that efficient marketing and strategic advertising would be the need of the hour, and made sure that his arrival onto the fashion scene was equally enthralling.
His arrival was announced with a blitzy marketing campaign that included a bold billboard in New York City's Times Square announcing Hilfiger as the next big thing in American fashion. The now famous 'hangman ad' ignited the designer’s career. "I think I am the next great American designer," Hilfiger told a reporter in 1986. "The next Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein."
WORK HARD, WORK SMART
Hilfiger's line of preppy clothes with his trademark red, white and blue logo soon became wildly popular. By the early 1990s, the hip-hop world — a sensation in those days — openly embraced oversized versions of Hilfiger's clothes, sparking frenzy among fans. The brand also nonchalantly courted rap stars and celebrities, who gradually started noticing the name. Snoop Dogg's choice of a giant Tommy Hilfiger T-shirt during a Saturday Night Live performance in March 1994 brought sales figures to an all-time high.
In the late 90s, Hilfiger became a pioneer in the industry by featuring emerging musical talents such as Britney Spears and Lenny Kravitz in his advertising campaigns. Since then, the brand has brought classic, cool, American apparel to consumers around the world, with designs that appeal to every discerning taste, while providing the foundation for the growth of a global brand.
Followers of brand ‘Tommy Hilfiger’ are a distinct lot. The Tommy Hilfiger woman is a modern age charismatic woman. Adventurous enough to experiment with new styles, but sophisticated enough to maintain her class; she’s the one to watch out for. Unpredictable and edgy, but always dressed well, you can count on her to light up any occasion.
The Tommy Hilfiger man is a cusp of the American youth and the charismatic, urban man. He is fashion-forward, but does not emphasise much on his looks. He is cool, composed and relaxed, giving out rich vibes that spell class and confidence. You can trust him to churn out neat looks all year round.
THE LEGACY CONTINUES IN EYEWEAR
The iconic design heritage of Tommy Hilfiger is carried onward, and efficiently translated, in the brand's eyewear range. Wearing Tommy Hilfiger glasses is a great experience for every consumer, especially when one wants the best of both worlds – quality and style.
Capturing the all-American spirit in a range of classic shapes, Hilfiger’s eyewear is manufactured by Safilo Group and continues to bring preppy classics to customers all over the world. The FW22 Tommy Hilfiger eyewear collection is introduced in a diverse range of sunglasses and optical frames that reflect the youthful spirit mixed with great quality
and timeless style.