Tommy Hilfiger History Case Study- The Success Story

Tommy Hilfiger History Case Study- The Success Story

Tommy Hilfiger is an American clothing brand that was extremely popular in the 1990s. This clothing brand released many collections that helped increase the brand’s popularity. Additionally, his apparel company offers unique collections for men, children, and women. The brand also offers its wide audience sportswear, fragrances, watches, furnishings, and jewelry. Since its launch, this company has been going places internationally. This article explores Tommy Hilfiger history to provide you with the company’s success story. Without further ado, let’s dive in. 

Tommy Hilfiger Early Life

Tommy Hilfiger is a fashion designer that built his fashion company using his signature red, blue, and white tag. This tag has become quite common amongst the upper class and casual buyers. However, few know about Tommy Hilfiger’s early life. He was born in 1951 in New York and was the second out of nine children in an Irish American family. Hilfiger’s mother worked as a nurse while his father made watches at a local jewelry store.

Tommy Hilfiger attended Elmira Free Academy in high school. However, he wasn’t a star athlete, nor was he a student for long because he had undiagnosed dyslexia. Despite his struggles in school, his entrepreneurial gifts were quite evident while he was young. He bought jeans in New York City, remade and sold it for a higher price in Elmira when he was a teenager. When he was 18, he opened a ‘The People’s Place’ store in Elmira. This store sold hippie supplies like records, bell-bottoms, and incense. 

This business was quite successful, and soon he had a chain of stores and a six-figure income coming in for his business. However, there was quickly a downturn in the economy, and it hit his business hard, leading him to file for bankruptcy in 1977. Hilfiger married one of the employees in his store in 1976, and they moved to Manhattan. An apparel company Jordache hired them as a husband and wife design team but fired them after a year. Soon, Hilfiger became famous as a hard-working designer. He was considered for positions at Calvin Klein and Perry Ellis. However, what Hilfiger wanted was to own a brand of his own. 

Tommy Hilfiger’s Big Break

In 1984, an Indian entrepreneur Mohan Murjani approached Hilfiger while looking for a designer to head his men’s sportswear line. The entrepreneur agreed to have Hilfiger design the label under his name, which sealed the deal. The duo announced Tommy Hilfiger’s arrival into the fashion scene through a vast marketing campaign. This campaign featured a bold billboard in Times Square that declared Hilfiger the next big thing in the fashion industry

This campaign irked the fashion industry, which looked down on its self-promotion. Calvin Klein reportedly got into a shouting match with the billboard creator at a New York restaurant. Although this fallout embarrassed Tommy Hilfiger, the tactics worked. Soon, his preppy clothes featuring the white, red and blue logo became popular. In the early 1990s, most hip-hop artists embraced the oversized version of Hilfiger apparel. The brand was famous for courting rap stars and celebrities. The brand recorded an all-time high sale in Tommy Hilfiger history when Snoop Dogg wore one of their oversized t-shirts on a Saturday Night Live performance.

Despite the brand’s success, the fashion elite snubbed him significantly. In 1994, Tommy Hilfiger was at the lead for the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America Menswear Designers of the Year Award. However, the council decided not to give the prize at all to spite Tommy Hilfiger. The council, however, relented later and gave it to him the following year. 

Hard times in Tommy Hilfiger History

In 2000, Hilfiger and his wife split after twenty years of marriage and four children. But that was not the only misfortune that hit Hilfiger; his professional fortunes also began to crumble. His apparels were no longer popular amongst the hip hop sets, and sales were at an all-time low after falling by 75%. Worse than the terrible sales was that the Tommy Hilfiger brand wasn’t so cool anymore. The logo became ubiquitous, and no one wanted to wear it anymore.

Hilfiger took note of the hard times and his company’s mistakes that led to it. He then got to work rebranding his company. In 2007, the fashion company signed an exclusive deal with Macy to sell their best-selling line at only Macy’s stores. 

Tommy Hilfiger Today

Tommy Hilfiger is known for its supreme quality styling and the value it brings to customers worldwide. The company has come far from Tommy Hilfiger history. Tommy Hilfiger expanded over the years, and its collections now include Tommy X Gigi, Hilfiger Collection, and many more. The company also took out-licensing deals to manufacture watches, fragrances, eyewear, and many more. The company now sells its products in several department stores and free-standing retail stores in over 100 countries. 

Although Hilfiger has several competitions, the brand is known for its quality and trendy products. Its modern collection is how the brand won a place in the heart of its customers while solidifying its position in the fashion company. Tommy Hilfiger is an industry pioneer today and is famous for sponsoring several artists’ tours. The company has over 1000 stores in five continents today. 

Niches Covered By Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger history shows how the company has evolved into a unique brand. Tommy Hilfiger doesn’t have a single niche. Instead, the company offers products in different categories. In this section of Tommy Hilfiger history, we’ll be exploring the type of sports brand the company is. 

Designer Clothes

If you’re looking for a fashion brand that offers quality designer clothes, you should explore Tommy Hilfiger’s collection. The brand offers collections in different classic color palettes, with their logo colors being their fans’ favorite. If you’re looking for designs that provide a modern vibe while featuring a touch of the 80s, you can’t go wrong with Tommy Hilfiger. Tommy Hilfiger history shows how the brand expanded its designs from the classic to several cuts and colors. There is a wide variety of designer clothes, so you should find it easy to find the ideal outfit to complement your taste.

Another exciting part about their designer collection is that they usually include a mix of the trendy west coast and the classic east coast style. This feature allows the brand to develop a timeless design you can wear to any party or meeting. Their designer clothes are available at different New York and Hollywood Boulevard stores. However, some people also get the knock-off option from other stores.

Fast Fashion

Tommy Hilfiger isn’t necessarily a fast-fashion brand because it releases a regular collection of clothes. Its collaboration with other brands also takes place every once in a while. The brand doesn’t subscribe to fast fashion in the typical sense of the word, where it provides new clothes every week, making its customers throw away their wardrobe regularly. Instead, Tommy Hilfiger delivers clothes at very affordable prices that cause its customers to purchase many items and then come back for me in a few weeks because of its affordability.

Tommy Hilfiger also announced itself that it was trying to cut down greenhouse gas emissions the most ways it could. However, the brand subscribes to sustainable fashion approaches. So, while it is not a fast-fashion brand, its affordability makes its customers practice the fast-fashion lifestyle.

Luxury Items

When it comes to luxury items, you can find options at Tommy Hilfiger. Despite its affordability feature, this brand releases luxury collections sometimes. However, it is not a mainstream luxury brand due to its accessibility. It isn’t accessible to the available customer as the target audience is the elite society. Nevertheless, Tommy Hilfiger’s luxury collections are usually of excellent quality. However, it is noteworthy that Tommy Hilfiger is not a luxury brand.


Tommy Hilfiger history features the production of watches under the brand. Tommy Hilfiger carries out the manufacturing of its watches through a Swiss company like most fashion brands. However, the brand’s watches are one of the best in the industry. This is to be expected as Hilfiger comes from a line of watchmakers. In 2001, Tommy Hilfiger signed a deal with Movado, an international watchmaker. This helped the brand start its line of timekeepers. Tommy Hilfiger also implements its affordability feature into its watch collection as most of its watchers are under $300. Due to this, Tommy Hilfiger’s watches are pretty popular. 


The brand also offers tailored suits to its customer base. Their suits hold up the company’s reputation of providing top-quality products at affordable prices. Their slim-fits are amongst the most preferred everyday suits you can find out there. Tommy Hilfiger usually tailors this using a wool blend you can wear throughout the year most times. Their suits are available in different price ranges, and it also determines the level of the suit’s quality. Therefore buyers can select from a wide variety and tailor their options to their budget. 

Other Niches

Apart from the niches above that Tommy Hilfiger history shows the brand dabbled into, the company is also famous for its collection of bags, wallets, and shoes. The shoes are pretty renowned for being sleek, comfortable, and versatile. Although you can’t compare its technology to top footwear giants like Puma, Adidas, and Nike, customers love it for its universal design. The shoes feature a classic look that allows you to wear them with varying outfits. The company also offers boat shoes, flip-flops, and several other shoes aimed at women. 

Customers are sure to also find a range of bags in the Tommy Hilfiger collection. The bags come in unique designs and impressive shapes. The brand also produces wallets with a very high reputation in Tommy Hilfiger history. These wallets are sleek, simple, and quite robust. Although they might cost the average customer a fortune, Tommy Hilfiger wallets are an investment.

Final Thoughts

Tommy Hilfiger history shows the brand’s immense success because of how well the brand understands customers’ preferences. The brand is aware that most people today are fashion conscious and are looking for variations. Therefore, it provides a variety of clothing collections that are pretty affordable compared to other competitors. Every product from this brand is quite stylish, and the different niche they cover makes Tommy Hilfiger a versatile and all-inclusive brand. 

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