Hilfiger in 2009
|Born||Thomas Jacob Hilfiger
March 24, 1951
Elmira, New York, U.S.
Susie Hilfiger (m. 1980; div. 2000)
But I think, if you're in the spotlight, people are going to say bad things, and that's just the way it is.
I thought, if I went into business I'd be able to control my own destiny.
I've never tried to do couture, because it's a whole different beast.
I looked at my competitors and I thought that, If they could do it, I could do it. And if, they are popular and doing well, I could compete with them.
You want to look fashionable and put-together, not like you hit every sale rack this season.
I had no confidence at school. I was not a good student and I really thought I was pretty stupid. Just dumb.
I currently live in the Plaza in New York and I love it – all that history, all those interesting stories.
I disapprove of lots of decisions made by George Bush: the war, the meddling in the affairs of other countries, the conversations with dictators; it was a dark time.
The preppy lifestyle has gone global. We feel that our business has grown so well because preppy travels so well. It's all-American classic.
We are going back to our roots by cultivating new unsigned talent who otherwise might go unnoticed.
I was looking at people like Jim Morrison and David Bowie and Mick Jagger and I thought, Ah! I want to look like them.
The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passion, it's possible to achieve the American dream.
We are really living the American dream, to be a successful brand in the States and in Europe and to steep ourselves in our heritage. But we do it with a sense of humor. We don't take ourselves too seriously in fashion.
I think it is really important to have a sense of business. As a designer you can get so wrapped up in the design and fashion side that you forget the business side.
I think it's dangerous to think that you're successful, because then you become complacent.
'The Cut' is going to give someone the opportunity of a lifetime and help that person achieve his or her dreams.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to build some kind of lifestyle brand that was preppy and cool.
It was difficult for me because I was searching for the answer for so long, and the answer was right in front of me. Do what I do best.
If I see someone wearing Hilfiger it makes me proud, but then I wonder what I could do to make the style more relevant for them next year?
Our look and image never change dramatically from one season to the next, so we need an edge.
My mother inspired me to treat others as I would want to be treated regardless of age, race or financial status.
Over the last 15 years we've developed our brand into a global brand and we wanted our giving to follow suit.
In designing a lifestyle brand, you have to know more than just designing clothes.
I'm a designer of more than clothes. I am a designer of a very creative concept.
Algebra looked like Chinese characters to me, and I could never get into reading Shakespeare. I just did not get it.
We had incense and rock'n'roll posters, and we sold records and rolling papers. People could just, like, hang out. We had a cool vibe going.
I looked at the rap community like street kids wanting their own brand. But now I look at that period with the rappers in the 90s as a trend of the moment. What it taught me was never to follow a trend, because trends move on.
I had eight brothers and sisters. Every Christmas my younger brother Bobby would wake up extra early and open everybody's presents – everybody's – so by the time the rest of us got up, all the gifts were shredded, ribbons off, torn open and thrown aside.
My mother was kind and forgiving and would take in all the waifs and strays in our neighbourhood; we always compared her to Mother Teresa. She taught me a lot.
One of the most important things to me is to make things real, not have models who are perfectly groomed or clothes that are too perfect. It all has to have a twist because that's how people live.