The Iconic All…
Tommy Hilfiger – The Man Behind The Iconic All…
Verve, May 2007
Tommy Hilfiger, the man behind the iconic all – American casual wear brand, recently returned to Mumbai to rekindle his Indian connection.
Tommy Hilfiger began his career in high school when he sold 20 pairs of bell-bottom jeans for $150. Today he is the owner of an international lifestyle brand that offers a wide range of women’s wear, men’s wear, accessories and linens to the rich and the famous. Verve gets up close and personal with the multi-millionaire designer and entrepreneur.
On launching in India before other international brands?
“I feel very lucky. Being the first American designer brand in India has established the fact that Tommy Hilfiger is passionate about its presence in the subcontinent. We came here because Indians all over the world were buying our clothes.”
On learning from Indian design?
“I love the vibrant colours worn by Indians. People here sport unusual yet great colour combinations. I also like the intricate beading, embroideries, sequins and the ethnic work.”
On his first visit to India?
“I came here to design my first collection in 1978. It was made by a local manufacturer in the basement of his house in Juhu and I stayed at the Sun & Sand Hotel. I took the collection back to the US, sold it and returned for more. In those days I sold under the brand name of Tommy Hill.”
On his daily routine?
“My daily routine comprises meetings and discussions. In the mornings, I meet the marketing team and discuss about our budgets and strategies. In the afternoons, I usually work on advertising concepts and meet different designers, models and celebrities.”
On three important tips to new designers?
“Know your customer. Design wearable clothes. Give the very best quality at a very best price.”
On his mistakes?
“There are lots of them. I make mistakes all the time.”
On his sense of style?
“My personal style is simple, classic, cool and comfortable. Nothing complicated.”
On his vote for the three best dressed men in the world?
“Giorgio Armani, Leonardo DiCaprio and Nelson Mandela are the three best dressed men in the world.”
On competition from French and Italian brands?
Armani, Versace, Dior they all have their own forte. But I have my own niche which is really more casual. That’s the way of today’s world. We all have our little places.
On American countries being different from French and the Italian designers?
“All of them are very different. American and Italian countries are more commercial. While the French are only interested in haute couture.”
On how he sets new fashion trends all the time?
It’s really not hard to do that. If young girls, for instance, are wearing straight legs, you think beyond it. You come up with Capri length. If men are wearing straight legs, maybe they would want to wear flare legs. So you always try to stay one step ahead without abandoning what you’re doing.
On modern Indian designers?
“I’ve been watching the creations in the publications and certainly, there is a lot of talent over here. I don’t think they’re truly global yet, though they could be if the Indian government supports them.”
On his future plans?
“Ten years down the line, I see my company continuing as global lifestyle brand. I see myself doing what I am doing now because the label needs to be taken care of. I am 55 years old. I don’t know if I’d work like this after a decade. In fact, I might just be working more.”
On his favourite designer?
“I think Giorgio Armani is a genius.”
On what completes his world?
I’d say it’s F.A.M.E. Fashion, art, music and entertainment.