It's true that Tommy Hilfiger first rose to popularity in the '90s, but unlike other labels that were everywhere and then nowhere within a decade or two, the 35-year-old brand has solid staying power. Each and every year, whether it's collaborating with sought-after celebrities like Gigi Hadid, Zendaya, and Lewis Hamilton, using the 'See Now, Buy Now' model, or embracing modest fashion by creating hijabs, the brand's flexibility and evolution is obvious.
However, 2020 in particular has been a trying year for the world of fashion. Due to the pandemic as well as sustainability concerns, Fashion Week has relied heavily on digital events. Consumers have begun thinking in terms of seasonless fashion, and also want to buy from brands that have their best interests at heart (especially socially and politically).
With so much change happening, InStyle reached out to Hilfiger himself to discuss the future of fashion. Along with one of his celebrity muses and fans, model Jasmine Sanders, he shared his thoughts on where Fashion Week is headed, "trend-chasing," and the relationship between designers and celebrities.
What did you love the most about Fashion Week pre-pandemic?
Tommy Hilfiger: "Showcasing our collections has always been – and will always be – about finding exciting new ways to immerse fans in the world of Tommy Hilfiger. Our runway shows brought fashion, art, music, and entertainment to our fans all in one place, democratizing fashion by hosting hundreds of thousands of ‘virtual attendees’ across a range of platforms. We found that emotion and engagement can be just as powerful in the digital space, which is what the shows are all about. We’re excited to continue innovating and pushing the boundaries as we debut new collections."
Jasmine Sanders: "I miss physically being at shows and celebrating the upcoming season’s creations with my friends and colleagues. I miss being able to congratulate my designer friends in person on something I know took so much passion, energy, and time to create! In the last Fashion Month before COVID, I walked in the TommyNow Spring 2020 runway show in London, where Tommy and Lewis Hamilton debuted their forth TommyXLewis collaborative collection — being able to celebrate with them backstage at the show was amazing! Nothing is better than the energy backstage!"
What are some of the parts you are ready to see change?
TH: "For the industry to take on a more sustainable and inclusive approach. The pandemic has shown that we were heading down an unsustainable path — socially and environmentally. This has sparked important conversations and change. At Tommy, we are so excited to have just launched our Make it Possible Program, a commitment to create fashion that wastes nothing and welcomes all. Brands are being challenged to reevaluate their priorities, and I’m excited to see how we will all evolve for the better.
JS: "I would love to see the talented emerging designers get more attention and the shine they deserve. Everyone has had a little more time on their hands since the start of the pandemic, and we’re experiencing something we’ve never been through before, so I feel the upcoming designs are going to be out of this world!"
How do you think the celebrity and designer relationship will change in the coming year?
TH: "Consumers are aligning with brands that authentically share their values. We will see more partnerships with activists working to make the world a better place. We have always partnered with ambassadors who use their voices and platforms to drive meaningful change. More than ever, we are looking for dreamers who use their voice for good to collaborate with."
JS: "I believe that designers will be creating more partnerships with celebrities who are socially conscious and with those who align with their own beliefs and values. That will only create even deeper and more beautiful designs in the future."
How has the pandemic changed your view on fashion? Has it made you think differently about your company and/or consumption?
TH: "Every obstacle is an opportunity to change direction. Now is the perfect time to question the direction we were headed. What really matters? Which parts of the past are worth returning to? What do we need to change? As a brand, we are continuously rethinking the ways we work and interact with our consumers to always become more sustainable. Our commitment to environmental and social sustainability is at the core of our mission, and the pandemic has only underscored the importance of this vision."
JS: High fashion will always be high fashion, it will always be timeless. I have enjoyed watching everyone continue to express themselves with comfort as their priority during this time. I love seeing everybody getting glammed up from the waist up!"
Do you see the shopping cycle changing? How often should we update our wardrobes?
TH: "We moved away from the traditional seasonal cycle years ago so that fans could shop our collections in-season. It’s all about putting the consumer first. As the industry realizes that the rigid timeline and framework aren’t consumer-centric, we’ll likely see a shift away from trend-chasing. As a brand, we have always believed in creating wardrobe staples with a sense of purpose that withstand the tests of time."
JS: "I believe everyone should be focusing on buying accessories right now. The best thing to go with a mask is a good pair of designer shades. I also think people are investing in things with a little more value and longevity instead of quick, frivolous purchases. They’re putting more thought into what they’re buying, so when they can finally go outside they’re excited to show off their new looks."