Tommy Hilfiger was born the second of nine children in Elmira, a small town in upstate New York. In 1969, while still in high school, he began his retail career with $150 and 20 pairs of bell-bottom jeans. Soon after, he opened his own small chain of stores called People’s Place. Self taught, he began designing the clothes that his customers wanted but could not find.
In 1979, Hilfiger moved to New York City to pursue a career as a fashion designer. He introduced his first signature collection in 1985 and has since expanded the brand’s product offerings and distribution to include menswear, womenswear, jeanswear, childrenswear, related licensed products, fragrance, and home collections.
The Tommy Hilfiger brand combines fresh American style with unique details to give time-honored classics an updated look for customers who desire high quality, designer apparel at competitive prices.
The fashion industry has bestowed numerous honors on Hilfiger. In 1998, Parsons School of Design in New York City honored him with their Designer of the Year award, as did GQ magazine for their annual “Men of the Year” issue. In 1995, he was named Menswear Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). That same year, he received VH1’s “From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk” award at their annual Fashion and Music Awards. He has also won several FiFi Awards, the fragrance industry’s most illustrious honor. In November of 2002, he was selected as GQ magazine’s International Designer of the Year award recipient in Germany. That same month, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) organization presented Hilfiger with the Future of America Award, D.A.R.E.’s highest honor, for his philanthropic efforts for America’s youth.