When I found out that I would be going on an exclusive tour of the Madison Avenue Tommy Hilfiger headquarters to chronicle on my blog, I was ecstatic--and rightfully so. You may know Tommy Hilfiger as the pioneer of classic American "cool" style, but to me, he is much more than that. The ways in which he gives back to the world through a myriad of charitable efforts is what separates him from other designers. Tommy Cares--which is the philanthropic arm of Tommy Hilfiger--works with non-profit organizations to make a difference in the world. Hilfiger has also established a clothing line called “Tommy Adaptive” that provides people with disabilities with functional and stylish clothing options. Here’s an inside look inside my day with Tommy Hilfiger himself, where I learned even more about the legendary stamp this creative genius is leaving on the world:
When I first walked into the office, I noticed a huge TV screen in the reception area playing a video of the most recent Tommy Hilfiger show in Milan. Models including Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, and Winnie Harlow walked around a giant race car track that embodied the sporty spirit of his brand. I later learned that day that the models needed to wear sneakers because of the long hike around the runway--totally understandable. I watched in awe for a good ten minutes until a woman came out and escorted me to the PR showroom--a virtual fashion dream house in my opinion!
The showroom featured an array of pieces from the Fall ‘18 Tommy Hilfiger Collection that has yet to walk the runway. Since the pieces are not yet available to the public, I am not allowed to disclose pictures, but I can tell you that the wide variety of clothing is nothing short of extraordinary. I was surprised to see the ways in which different fabrics that you wouldn’t typically pair together actually complemented each other perfectly in the collection.
After taking in the beautiful designs firsthand, I was escorted to the office of Tommy Hilfiger himself. I sat down on an amazing couch fashioned from pairs of the brand’s denim jeans as we had a long discussion about our busy lives. I told him that I not only admire how he is constantly reinventing new ways to present his clothing, but how he reinvents new ways to give back to the world. When I asked him what the motivation behind his passion for charities is, I was pleasantly surprised by the authenticity and candidness of his response. He explained how he did not come from a privileged family, so his mother always emphasized the importance of giving back to causes he cared about. By the end of our discussion, after hearing about Hilfiger's tremendous philanthropic efforts, I shared that I felt even more inspired to bring attention to my personal mission: eradicate bullying worldwide. He smiled--inspiring others and promoting inclusivity is what he's all about.
Afterwards, I went downstairs to a room that the brand named after his first shop, called “The People’s Place.” This area is where employees hang out and brand events are held. That day, associates from Tommy Hilfiger gathered there for the first edition of “Tommy Talks.” The event brings together some of the world’s most creative minds for a discussion that empowers employees and encourages them to start looking at the fashion industry from a fresh perspective. The talk that I attended was between Tommy Hilfiger and Trey Laird, the founder of Laird + Partners, one of the world’s leading advertising/branding agencies. Hilfiger and Laird have worked together for over seven years, and Laird has created some of the brand’s most iconic ad campaigns. He developed Meet the Hilfigers Campaign, which Hilfiger himself saw as a turning point for the brand. As he describes it, the ad “really showed the audience that we were inclusive, unique, and dared to be different. It was a page-turner moment in time that really allowed the company to excel.” After taking in all of Mr. Hilfiger’s wisdom, I felt like my day couldn’t be filled with more excitement...until the moderator of Tommy Talks announced a musical guest who would be coming on stage to perform a few songs: Billie Eilish. She took to the stage in a Tommy Hilfiger head-to-toe ensemble to perform some of her hits that she had just sung at the Governor’s Ball in New York City the day before: “COPYCAT,” “bellyache,” and “ocean eyes.” Afterwards, I got to meet Billie face-to-face and compliment her on how incredible her music is! She was so kind and humble, and we talked about how exciting it was for her to perform in front of thousands of people at the festival the day before, as well as our mutual love for Tommy Hilfiger.
Prior to leaving the office, the Tommy Team presented me with a bag filled with clothing from the brand that they hand picked for me. I got a red bomber jacket, navy blue raincoat, and a “Tommy” logo sweater. Mr. Hilfiger also signed a copy of his memoir to me with the words “Good Luck!” in it--I'll treasure it always. As I rode the elevator down from his multi-storied office building, I couldn’t help but remember something he had told me during our private meeting: “I hope you come back as an intern one day!” I smiled. I could definitely get used to this.
Meeting with Tommy inside his private office
The TOMMYXGigi Spring 2018 Collection
Bella Hadid walking the runway in the TOMMYXGigi Spring 2018 Collection