At 72 years old, Tommy Hilfiger has this physical status:
Thomas Jacob Hilfiger (born March 24, 1951) is an American fashion designer and founder of Tommy Hilfiger Corporation. In the 1970s, he began designing preppy clothing for his own eponymous menswear line in upstate New York.
The company later branched out into women's clothing and some luxury items, such as perfumes, and went public in 1992. The company was often influenced by music subcultures and products linked to the music industry, with celebrities such as American R&B artist Aaliyah in the 1990s.
In 2005, contestants on the CBS reality show The Cut competed for a design position with Hilfiger in a similar manner to The Apprentice.
Hilfiger sold his business to Apax Partners in 2006, and it was sold to Phillips-Van Heusen for $3 billion.
He is the company's senior designer, leading the design teams and overseeing the entire creative process.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America presented Hilfiger with the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
Hilfiger was born in Elmira, New York, on March 24, 1951, as the second of nine children. Both of his parents were Catholics. Richard was a watchmaker of German-Swiss descent, and his mother Virginia (née Gerrity) was a nurse of Irish descent. Hilfiger also claims descent from Gilbert Burns, the Scottish poet Robert Burns' brother. Hilfiger has characterized his upbringing as joyful. He attributes his parents to instilling a positive work ethic and compassion for others. He has dyslexia. Hilfiger began early in life, fashion, and music, a trend that mirrored in his family. Andy Hilfiger, one of his brothers', went on to work as a musician and designer, while Hilfiger's older brother Billy Hilfiger will join King Flux as a guitarist.
Hilfiger married Susan Cirona, an employee of the People's Place in Ithaca, in 1976; they married in 1980. They had four children as a couple: one son and three daughters. Ally Hilfiger's daughter appeared on the MTV reality show Rich Girls in 2003. Richard ("Ricky Hil"), his son, is a guitarist. In 2000, the Hilfigers split up.
He married Dee Ocleppo on December 12, 2008; the couple had a son in 2009.
Business and fashion career
Hilfiger graduated from the Elmira Free Academy high school in 1969. For a time, his parents wanted him to get a college education and pursue a traditional career, and he attended GST BOCES Bush Campus in Elmira.
Hilfiger spent the summer of 1969 as a designer on Cape Cod, but later decided to open a clothing store in 1971 as People's Place. The first store, located in downtown Elmira, was located on what is now the site of First Arena and featured a hair salon, a record store, and rock concerts in the basement. Hilfiger and a friend travelled to New York City to buy things such as bell-bottoms, peasant blouses, and leather jackets. Unsatisfied with this, he began sketching his own ideas, and later said that "designing made me happier than anything I'd ever achieved." I knew right from the start that designing would be my life.
In 1977, People's Place went bankrupt. Hilfiger has taken classes on commerce and company in the fashion industry. He founded Tommy Hill in 1979 after moving to New York City and working for many different brands. Jordache Jeans, one of his first clients, was a teen, and as Hilfiger's business grew beyond denim, he spent time in India, learning more about his trade: "I would sit in the factory with my pile of sketches and watch them being made, tweaking as I went." There is no better design school in the world. He founded Click Point, which produced women's clothing in 1981, in 1981.
Hilfiger was approached by businessman Mohan Murjani in 1984 to pursue his dream of designing and leading a men's sportswear line. Murjani backed Hilfiger's needed investment to create his own brand. Hilfiger oversaw the creation of the Coca-Cola clothing line for Murjani in later years.
He formed The Tommy Hilfiger Corporation in 1985 with the Murjani Group's help. For example, the new clothing line debuted with a high-profile advertising campaign, including the establishment of a massive billboard in Times Square, designed by George Lois. Hilfiger left Murjani International in 1989, with Silas Chou instead lending financial assistance to the Hilfiger brand, and Ralph Lauren's former employees were hired as executives of the newly formed firm Tommy Hilfiger, Inc. In 1992, the Tommy Hilfiger Company was first seen in public, debuting Hilfiger's signature menswear line. In 1995, Hilfiger was named Menswear Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Tommy Hilfiger Inc. first began selling women's clothing after being licensed Pepe Jeans USA in 1995. Hilfiger had opened his first Beverly Hills store by the end of the year, which was followed by a London store in 1998. Hilfiger had been serving as the company's co-chairman by 1997, and that year, he published his first book, titled All American: A Style Book.
Hilfiger's collections, which have often been influenced by music subcultures, are influenced by pop culture's popularity. The clothing are also associated with the music industry, and Hilfiger, a pioneer sponsor of Pete Townshend's Psychoderelict tour, began in 1993. In addition, Hilfiger has sponsored numerous musical performances, including Sheryl Crow's If It Makes You Happy tour in 1997, Britney Spears 1999 as the main sponsor, and Lenny Kravitz's 1999 Freedom tour. Hilfiger's style of clothing by the mid-1990s was both a hit in the American "preppy" scene and as hip hop fashion. In 1997, American R&B icon Aaliyah became Tommy Hilfiger Corporation's much-publicized spokesperson.
Hilfiger appeared in the fashion parody Zoolander in 2001, and Tommy Hilfiger Inc. owned the naming rights to the Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Theatre in Vancouver. Hilfiger reworked the brand in the early 2000s, with the intention to sell the best-selling Hilfiger lines at Macy's sole. Into the 2000s, Tommy Hilfiger Corporation began to collaborate closely with musicians, emphasizing fragrances as well as clothing. Sweetface Fashion, which owns the J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez line, was purchased by Tommy Hilfiger in 2003. Beyoncé was the poster girl in True Star, a Hilfiger-endorsed fragrance that was launched in 2004. By 2004, Tommy Hilfiger Corporation had revenues of about $1.8 billion and 5,400 workers.
In 2005, The Cut, a CBS reality show that followed sixteen contestants as they applied for a design job with Tommy Hilfiger and their own fashion line under Hilfiger's banner. The show progressed in a similar manner to Donald Trump's The Apprentice. Hilfiger selected Chris Cortez as the "next great American designer" after a final competition that involved laying out the display window for Macy's Herald Square location in New York.
Tommy Hilfiger, a private investment firm, sold the clothing chain for $1.6 billion, or $16.80 a share, in December 2005. In May 2006, the transaction was completed. Hilfiger, Rives, and Bar Refaeli co-hosted the Bravo special program Tommy Hilfiger Presents Ironic Iconic America in 2008. The program, based on Hilfiger and designer George Lois' book Ironic Iconic America, explored how pop culture has influenced American tastes and styles. Hilfiger appeared on Project Runway as a guest judge, and he presented the Best African Artist award to Akon at the 2010 World Music Awards.
Phillips-Van Heusen, the owner of Calvin Klein and Izod, bought the Tommy Hilfiger brand from Apax Partners in March 2010. "Meet The Hilfigers," Tommy Hilfiger's online and in-store ad campaign, began in August 2010 and continued into August 2011. Hilfiger and a partner signed a deal to buy the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower building in 2011, intending to turn it into a Hilfiger's first hotel with luxurious condos. Hilfiger funded the initiative in September 2011. On season 11 of American Idol, he served as a fashion consultant to contestants.
Hilfiger was instrumental in the establishment of the Marc Anthony Collection in 2012, as Marc Anthony had never been involved in the fashion industry until Hilfiger called him and told him that a line was worthwhile. The Council of Fashion Designers of America named Hilfiger with the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. In 2013, the brand's global sales in retail exceeded $6.4 billion and $6.7 billion respectively, ahead of 2014. Hilfiger is the company's chief designer, leading the design team and overseeing the entire creative process. He collaborated with model Gigi Hadid on clothing styles for the launch of the TommyXGigi clothing collection in 2016. In Los Angeles, the brand will host its ready-to-wear preview on February 8, 2017, the first time the brand will not be a participant in New York Fashion Week.
Hilfiger revealed in January 2015 that he was working on his memoirs. Hilfiger wrote the book chronologically over a year, but Hilfiger said, "I was reluctant to write it but decided I better do it now because someday I may forget." Peter Knobler, a co-writer, had full access to interview friends and family, with Hilfiger quoting Diane von Furstenberg's memoirs as a source of inspiration. Hilfiger described the writing process as "great therapy" and "interesting" and that he wanted to "give people a glimpse of what goes on behind the curtain [of] how the fashion industry operates." In June 2016, he read excerpts from the book at the Literacy Partners Evening of Readers and Gala Dinner Dance. American Dreamer: My Life in Fashion & Business, Hilfiger's memoir, co-written with Peter Knobler, was published on November 1, 2016. Hilfiger called it "a roadmap of the times that have defined both my [40-year fashion career] and my personal life," and the book discusses his childhood, his early business ventures, and his later life in fashion. Hilfiger made a "ethical, clear, mostly amusing autobiography" book when it was published, according to Kirkus Reviews. In December 2016, American Dreamer appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers List.