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Tommy Hilfiger: ‘Sometimes I forget Tommy Hilfiger is my real name’


I’m glad I started work at 18. It was a lot more fun than going to school. When I opened my first shop it was a hangout for all my friends – a community before social media. I didn’t worry about the business side until I faced bankruptcy, five years later. That taught me a big lesson.

I really enjoy being a designer. It’s a big creative outlet and it’s exciting to grow a brand and be in the eye of the storm of pop culture.

People who wear uncomfortable clothes have always been uncomfortable to be around. The comfort word is more important than ever. We’re living in a different world from a year ago [before lockdown] and there’s no reason now not to choose clothes that you’re comfortable in.

I still love the rock I grew up listening to, but now I also love hip-hop and all sorts of other music as well. I’ve always enjoyed concerts and paying attention to the way musicians put themselves together.

Voyeurism can be fun as a pastime. I follow Instagram, because I’m a visual person. I get caught up on it for hours. People live very interesting lives and it’s great to see where they’re going and what they’re doing.

I am one of nine siblings, so I can deal with chaos. I’m a multitasker and I can have a conversation with more than one person at a time.

Back in 1988 we were criticised for logos that were too large, and for oversized clothes. But that came from living in the culture and embracing what my consumers wanted. The kids on the street were my inspiration – and they still are today.

It’s an ego goader that we don’t get credit for bringing streetwear to the catwalk. It’s fun to see brands from Gucci to Dior and Givenchy doing streetwear, but I think their founders would be appalled if they were alive today.

I was starstruck when I first met David Bowie – it was David Bowie! He was very intellectual and way ahead of his time in terms of the digital world and an incredibly talented musician.

I regret not being around so much when my children were young. I was so busy with the business. I really try to be a good dad, though, and I’d like to be remembered as a generous person who was great with his family.

I’m an eternal optimist. It helps in life – 100%. I find myself trying to change pessimists’ minds, but they’re pessimists: they enjoy thinking that way.

It’s important to treat others as you’d like to be treated. It’s a lesson I’ve taught my children, especially if you have a famous name. It’s not pleasant to see privileged people who aren’t humble.

I sometimes forget that Tommy Hilfiger is my name. I’m so used to seeing it on sweatshirts.

global.tommy.com



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