Fashion Designer Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger was born March 24, 1951 in the rural town of Elmira, New York and his first business venture began in 1969 in New York City. He drove to New York in a ten-year-old Volkswagen with only $150 in order to buy trendy jeans to resell to teens in his hometown. With the savings he earned from this “job,” Hilfiger was able to open his own store, People’s Place, which catered to the college crowd. By the time Hilfiger had turned 25, however, People’s Place had gone bankrupt. He then decided to design his own clothing, and did so for the ten specialty shops he owned throughout upstate New York.

After moving to New York with his wife, Susie, Hilfiger was offered design assistant positions with big-name designers like Calvin Klein and Perry Ellis, but, even though he was broke, he turned them down to pursue plans of his own. Hilfiger was eventually able to buy his company back with the help pf two partners and it went public a year later. With his success, Hilfiger took men’s jeans and sportswear to a half-billion-dollar empire which includes menswear, women’s wear, children’s wear, footwear, eyeglasses, fragrances, and home furnishings.



Hilfiger, who claims to make clothing “for the people,” was awarded the “From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk Award” at the first VH1 fashion and music awards (1995) and was named the 1995 Menswear Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. His simple, clean-cut, casual designs, which Hilfiger describes as “traditional with a twist,” have helped him establish an empire that is not only one of the highest ranking publicly traded clothing companies, but is also one of the most coveted brands of the day.