Happy birthday Tommy Hilfiger: Meet the designer extraordinaire
Born on March 24, 1951, fashion designer Thomas Jacob Hilfiger started his career by co-founding a chain of fashion stores called People’s Place in New York in the 1970s. He went on to launch the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation in 1985.Updated: Mar 24, 2020 14:43 IST
Born on March 24, 1951, fashion designer Thomas Jacob Hilfiger started his career by co-founding a chain of fashion stores called People’s Place in New York in the 1970s. He went on to launch the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation in 1985.
After spending a short time in college, Hilfiger started his first shop in downtown Elmira.
At first, Hilfiger and a friend would drive to New York to buy clothes for the store, but he soon began sketching his own designs.
People’s Place went bankrupt in 1977 and Hilfiger joined commerce classes to understand the business aspect of the fashion industry.
He soon moved to New York City and set up a company called Tommy Hill in 1979.
During this period, Hilfiger spent time in India to learn more about the trade and soon founded the company 20th Century Survival in 1981 and then Click Point in 1982.
In 1984, Hilfiger was approached by businessman Mohan Murjani with the intent of launching a men’s sportswear line. Murjani helped him with the necessary investment to launch his own line, while later Hilfiger oversaw the designs of the Coca-Cola clothing line for the businessman.
Hilfiger finally founded the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation in 1985 and launched big with a billboard campaign that was designed by George Lois.
The company became public in 1992 and in 1995 he licensed Pepe Jeans in the USA. It was around this time that he published his first book All American: A Style Book.
Many of Hilfiger’s works are influenced by music genres and the brand itself has sponsored several music events since inception.
In 2005, Tommy Hilfiger sold the company to Apax Partners and in March 2010, it was bought by Phillips-Van Heusen, the owner of the Calvin Klein brand.
On November 1, 2016, Hilfiger’s memoir, American Dreamer: My Life in Fashion & Business was published. The book was co-written with Peter Knobler.
The recipient of recognitions by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Harvard Foundation and UNESCO, Hilfiger is also known for his charity work through the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation.