The Full Biography of TOMMY HILFIGER Global - Fashion Worldwide

The American fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger created a brand of clothing that would become global because of its popularity with several different communities in the 1990s. He has built his brand, using his signature red, white and blue tag, which has become popular among the upper class and the casual buyer.

Hilfiger was born on March 24, 1951, in New York. As a teenager, he began buying jeans in New York City that he remade and sold for a markup in Elmira. When he was 18, he opened his first store, called The People’s Place in Elmira that sold hippie supplies: bell-bottoms, incense and records. He soon had a chain of stores and a six-figure income, but the economy gone bad and hit his business hard. He filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1977.

The “Tommy Hilfiger Corporation” has enjoyed a huge success for over 25 years, all over the world. He has launched men’s and women’s clothing lines, collection of fragrances, sportswear, home furnishings, accessories and denims.

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He managed to get to Hollywood catering to the needs of hip-hop artists and music industry celebrities. His loud advertising campaigns helped him establish a wealthy spot in the fashion industry.


Hilfiger fell in love with Susie Carona, an employee at one of his stores. They got married and moved to Manhattan shortly after the bankruptcy, in 1977. Soon after that, they were hired as a husband-and-wife design team by the apparel brand Jordache, but were fired after only a year. Hilfiger developed a reputation as a hard-working young designer, and was considered for jobs at Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein.


Tommy’s loud campaigns ranked him in the same league as established designers, Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein and that’s because he created a sort of controversy in the fashion world. That brought him a great publicity for his first collection.


Hilfiger was approached by Indian entrepreneur Mohan Murjani, who was looking for a designer to head a men’s sportswear line. Murjani allowed Hilfiger to design the label under his own name. The two designers soon announced Hilfiger’s arrival onto the scene with a blitz marketing campaign that included a bold billboard in New York City’s Times Square. This video spot announced Hilfiger as the next big thing in American fashion.

“I think I am the next great American designer”, Hilfiger told a reporter.


The designer’s line of preppy clothes with his trademark (red, white and blue logo) soon became very popular. By the early 1990s, the hip-hop world embraced oversized versions of Hilfiger’s clothes. Famous celebrities and rap stars embraced Tommy’s line.

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Snoop Dogg chose a giant Tommy Hilfiger t-shirt during a Saturday Night Live performance. His statement brought sales figures to an all-time high.

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Hilfiger launched “The Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation”, with an emphasis on health, educational and cultural programs. This organization supports charities that focus on American youth problems.


The fashion designer published his first book, intitled “All American: A Style Book”. After this one, he has written several: “Tommy Hilfiger” (2010), Hilfiger’s memoirs “American Dreamer” (co-written with Peter Knobler, published in November 2016).

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He gave the late singer Aaliyah endorsement deal to promote his brand.


He was named as one of the main sponsors of singer Britney Spears and her debut concert tour,”Baby One More Time Tour”.


Unfortunately, Hilfiger split with his wife of 20 years, with whom he had 4 children. His professional fortunes crumbled as well. He had bad sales andthe Tommy Hilfiger brand wasn’t considered to be cool anymore.

“The large logos and the big red, white and blue theme became ubiquitous. It got to the point where the urban and the preppy kids didn’t want to wear it.”

He started to reworked the brand.


He had a cameo in Zoolander.

2002 – 2006

Tommy Hilfiger INc. owned the naming rights to the Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beatch Theatre venue.

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A CBS Reality Show called “The Cut” tracked the progress of sixteen contestants as they competed for a design job with Tommy Hilfiger and their own fashion line under Hilfiger’s label. After a final competition that involved setting up the display window for Macy’s Herald Square location in New York, Hilfiger chose Chris Cortez as the “next great American designer”.


He sold his company for $1.6 billion to APAX Partners and it was sold again in 2010 to Philips Van-Heusen for $3 billion.


He signed an exclusive deal with Macy’s to sell the company’s best-selling lines only at their stores.


Hilfiger married second wife, Dee Ocleppo, and the couple had a son Sebastian the follwing year.

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The company launchedtheir website, with an easy acces to all his creations.


He sold his company for $3 billion to the clothing conglomerate Phillips-Van Heusen.


Hilfiger and a partner signed a contract to buy the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower. They planned to transform it to into Hilfiger’s first hotel, with luxury condos, for $170 million. Hilfiger annuled the project in September, the same year.


He received the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Geoffrey Beane Lifetime Achievement Award.

Photo Source: Denim Jeans Observer


He took his “classic American cool” looks in a new direction. He partnered with Runway of Dreams to create a line of affordable and wearable clothing for children with disabilities. During that same year, he collaborated with model Gigi Hadid on clothing design launching the TommyXGigi clothing collection.



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The brand presents a ready-to-wear show in Los Angeles.

Today, Tommy Hilfiger label continues to be the main designer of his brand, and there are more than 1.400 of his stores in more than 90 countries.


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