Tommy Hilfiger: How Music Inspired His Career + Working With Zendaya

As part of our FN Legends video series, Tommy Hilfiger sits down to discuss how music has influenced his namesake label.

“When I started my business in the late ’60s, it was a music fashion revolution taking place. It was the summer of Woodstock,” said Hilfiger. “It’s when the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Who, Jimmy Hendrix and all of the cool rock groups were touring America and changing the way that people looked at music and the way they listened to music. So I was inspired by that.”

That inspiration led Hilfiger to open his first store, People’s Place, in his hometown of Elmira, N.Y.

“I always wanted to connect the brand to music and musicians and pop culture. I really thought that if the musicians who were relevant were wearing my clothes, their fan base would come to us,” said Hilfiger. “In a sense, that was social media back then. When Britney Spears was on tour or Jennifer Lopez was playing at a stadium or doing a concert wearing my clothes, their fans would then come to my brand.”

The designer also discussed his “epic” collaboration with singer-actress Zendaya, with whom he worked on collections for spring ’19 and fall ’19.

“When she started collaborating with us, we thought, ‘OK, this is great. She’s a TV star, she’s a movie star, she’s a musician,'” he explained. “But what we didn’t know was that she was going to come out with a new show called ‘Euphoria’ that was going to skyrocket. I think that it was maybe luck that we engaged with her at that time.”

Hilfiger added that Zendaya, who is 23, is “beyond her years.”

“She said, ‘Yeah, I think like a 70-year-old,” Hilfiger explained. “And I really believe that’s because she’s so in tune with life. She’s very, very present, and she’s very aware of everything that’s going on around her.”

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