toMMy hil­figer


DA MAN - Style - - Contents -

When it comes to the preppy Amer­i­cana look, no one does it bet­ter than Mr. Hil­figer

Ev­ery de­signer has his or her own dis­tinct sig­na­ture. Tommy Hil­figer, who first es­tab­lished his epony­mous brand around 31 years ago, is a pioneer in bring­ing preppy styling to menswear. His youth­ful de­signs, rem­i­nis­cent of what’s typ­i­cally worn by Ivy League stu­dents—par­tic­u­larly those who are stu­dious yet re­laxed—are wear­able, cool and ef­fort­less. There’s al­ways a nod to pop cul­ture as well, which makes the brand ever-rel­e­vant to the younger gen­er­a­tions of each decade.

On a global scale, Tommy Hil­figer has ba­si­cally planted the seeds of what can only be de­scribed as a new Amer­i­can style. While the term “Amer­i­cana” is of­ten as­so­ci­ated with the ar­che­typ­i­cal an­cient Western cow­boy look, the brand’s East Coast Amer­i­cana is a re­fined, modern look that finds res­o­nance in fash­ion- con­scious youth around the world. In fact, it’s now al­most im­pos­si­ble to con­sider the word “preppy” with­out con­jur­ing up Tommy Hil­figer’s de­signs in one’s mind.

What also pushes this fash­ion house for­ward is a con­stant drive for evo­lu­tion and revo­lu­tion. From just a menswear line in its early begin­nings, it has, to date, grown to in­clude wom­enswear and kidswear, not to men­tion fra­grances. This year in par­tic­u­lar, the brand braces up for yet another big shift as it has de­cided to em­brace the “see now, buy now” ap­proach. Just like a real, young Amer­i­can boy, Tommy Hil­figer al­ways keeps up with cur­rent trends and is un­afraid to dream big and at­tain it.

DA MAN: The Hil­figer Edi­tion col­lec­tion is bring­ing “the clas­sics” back but with a twist for fall/win­ter ’16/’17. What’s the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind this di­rec­tion?

Tommy Hil­figer: Hil­figer Edi­tion is in­spired by ev­ery­day es­sen­tials re­done in a very el­e­vated way. My vi­sion is to in­fuse the clas­sics with pop cul­ture in­spi­ra­tions and a fresh point of view to cre­ate the build­ing blocks for the es­sen­tial menswear wardrobe.

DA: There’s an ob­vi­ously re­laxed, ca­sual ap­proach to the col­lec­tion, even in the more for­mal pieces. Is dress­ing down the new dress­ing up?

TH: The sig­na­ture Hil­figer Edi­tion look isn’t too but­toned-up or stiff—it’s re­laxed, play­ful and fresh. We love this aes­thetic that’s ap­proach­able, ver­sa­tile and doesn’t take it­self too se­ri­ously.

DA: One might look at the pre­sen­ta­tion and say it’s less sporty than what we’ve seen in pre­vi­ous sea­sons. Do you think we are past ath­leisure now?

TH: Our in­spi­ra­tion came from Amer­i­can clas­sics with a sporty, luxe hand, worn slightly over­sized with a sense of ease. We looked at each gar­ment from ev­ery an­gle, giv­ing a sense of new­ness with­out ever los­ing sight of what made them spe­cial in the first place.

DA: There is a sense of “pajama-in­spired” styling, be it in the ver­ti­cal stripes or the lin­ing (pip­ing) on the edges, in the col­lec­tion.

TH: Suit­ing is a key theme for the sea­son, from a clas­sic two-but­ton to pajama dress­ing. We worked with pajama in­spi­ra­tions like striped prints, light­weight fab­rics and pip­ing de­tails, which give a fun, modern twist to the col­lec­tion.

DA: Is there a par­tic­u­lar phi­los­o­phy be­hind the cho­sen col­ors of this sea­son?

TH: When de­sign­ing any col­lec­tion, iconic Amer­i­cana is al­ways my start­ing point: The red, white and blue color com­bi­na­tion is time­less. For fall/win­ter ’16/’17, we added in bur­gundy with pops of white and yel­low to keep it fresh.

DA: What’s the most chal­leng­ing part in cre­at­ing this sea­son’s col­lec­tion?

TH: There is a fine line be­tween be­ing in­no­va­tive and stay­ing true to your brand’s vi­sion. I al­ways find it ex­cit­ing and in­spir­ing to ex­plore fresh ideas and work them into a new col­lec­tion.

DA: How do you think are men dress­ing to­day?

TH: Menswear is re­ally hav­ing a mo­ment right now, and styles have evolved. To­day we ex­per­i­ment more with un­ex­pected col­ors, sil­hou­ettes and cuts. We’re


see­ing that men are putting more time and care into defin­ing their own per­sonal style, and they’re not afraid to have fun with fash­ion.

DA: Where do you be­gin when de­sign­ing a look?

TH: My start­ing point and big­gest in­spi­ra­tions come from pop cul­ture: fash­ion, art, mu­sic, and en­ter­tain­ment, which I sum­ma­rize with the acro­nym F.A.M.E. These pro­vide me with a wealth of in­spi­ra­tion to work from when I’m de­sign­ing new

col­lec­tions. I find in­spi­ra­tion ev­ery­where: It could be from a visit to the Met or MoMA, a stroll in Cen­tral Park with my youngest son, or head­ing to a con­cert with my wife or chil­dren.

DA: Tommy Hil­figer, as a brand, is known all over the world for its preppy look. How do you per­son­ally de­fine “preppy”?

TH: Preppy is rooted in the Amer­i­can East Coast, and the look is all about con­fi­dence and eclec­tic de­tails. Prep will al­ways have a clas­sic el­e­ment to it, but it can be in­ter­preted in so many dif­fer­ent ways: ath­letic, laid­back, even rock and roll. I am al­ways in­spired to see how our con­sumers around the world in­ter­pret our sig­na­ture “clas­sic Amer­i­can cool” style in their own unique ways. We call it the glob­al­iza­tion of prep, and it’s a very in­spir­ing part of the de­sign process.

DA: We’ve also learned about your col­lab­o­ra­tion with Rafael Nadal for the THFLEX Rafael Nadal Edi­tion col­lec­tion. How did this be­gin?

TH: Rafael has been a per­sonal friend and sup­porter of our brand for nearly 10 years. He em­bod­ies an ef­fort­less sense of style that re­flects our brand spirit; he’s con­fi­dent, cool and doesn’t take style too se­ri­ously. This ex­clu­sive part­ner­ship has brought one of the great­est ath­letes of this gen­er­a­tion into our Tommy fam­ily, and his on­go­ing am­bas­sador­ship con­tin­ues to res­onate with our con­sumers world­wide.

DA: Will you have any other col­lab­o­ra­tions with Nadal for this fall?

TH: Nadal’s am­bas­sador­ship is driv­ing a strong com­mer­cial im­pact glob­ally across our men’s cat­e­gories, and his cam­paigns speak to and en­gage our next gen­er­a­tion of Tommy fans. Nadal will ap­pear in our Fall 2016 Tommy Hil­figer Tai­lored, un­der­wear and fra­grance cam­paigns, and we’re ex­cited to in­tro­duce the new THFLEX Rafael Nadal Edi­tion suit­ing col­lec­tion. In­spired by Nadal’s quest for the per­fect suit, the col­lec­tion cel­e­brates our sig­na­ture

tai­lored aes­thet­ics fused with per­for­mance fab­rics de­signed for modern move­ment and func­tion­al­ity.

DA: Some ma­jor brands have dras­ti­cally changed their busi­ness strate­gies by stream­lin­ing their shows to in-sea­son pre­sen­ta­tion. Will Tommy Hil­figer fol­low the same path? And if so, why?

TH: This Septem­ber we launch a new for­mat for our New York Fash­ion Week (NYFW) show, open­ing it to con­sumers and in­tro­duc­ing “see now, have now” im­me­di­acy. This is a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion of our ap­proach to fus­ing fash­ion and en­ter­tain­ment, and mak­ing the full en­ergy and ex­cite­ment of NYFW di­rectly ac­ces­si­ble to our con­sumers glob­ally. We are able to reach new au­di­ences in a new way, with styles avail­able through re­tail, ecom­merce and whole­sale chan­nels im­me­di­ately af­ter they pre­miere on the run­way. It’s the next step in our long his­tory of de­moc­ra­tiz­ing the run­way, and we look for­ward to see­ing how our con­sumers re­spond.

DA: The brand is turn­ing 31 this year. What has been the big­gest change in terms of brand iden­tity so far? What’s still miss­ing, if any?

TH: We’ve come a long way over the last 30 years, and it’s been an in­cred­i­ble jour­ney. We con­tinue to adapt and evolve, but our suc­cess has come from defin­ing a clear brand DNA and stay­ing true to this her­itage over the years. Our busi­ness has grown from a sin­gle menswear col­lec­tion into a global life­style brand of­fer­ing tai­lored, wom­enswear, kidswear, denim, un­der­wear, footwear, ac­ces­sories and more. To­day our sig­na­ture look con­tin­ues to cel­e­brate the East Coast Amer­i­cana life­style blended with the cool, con­fi­dent, laid­back vibe of the West Coast.

DA: What’s the big­gest les­son you have learned over the years?

TH: To al­ways stay true to your­self and never give up on your dreams.


clock­wise An im­age from Tommy Hil­figer's dig­i­tal col­lab­o­ra­tion with Austyn Weiner and Love.Watts; the sea­son's ca­sual preppy styling; one of Tommy Hil­figer's sketches

Top The color spec­trum of the sea­son sticks to the brand’s ba­sics: blue, red and white

Top Tommy Hil­figer with the mod­els dur­ing pre­sen­ta­tion op­po­site page rafael nadal in the THFLEX col­lec­tion

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