The founder of Tommy Hilfiger Corporation and a fashion designer, Thomas Jacob Hilfiger was born in 24th March 1951 in New York. He was raised as a Catholic and his parents were a nurse and a jeweler. He studied at the Elmira Free Academy and also went to GST BOCES.
His fashion career started in 1969 while he was in high school and when he opened People’s Place, a petite chain of shops with only 150 dollars. He was self-taught in fashion and designed for his longtime admired boutiques. In 1979, he shifted to New York City and got a full-time job as a fashion designer. Hilfiger met Mohan Murjani and with his support in 1985 launched his initial signature clothing line.
In 1985, he hired George Lois to make a billboard ad for Times Square in New York which ignited Hilfiger’s career and launched a productive and dynamic relationship between Lois and Hilfiger. In 2007, they worked together on Iconic America: A Roller Coaster Ride through Eye Popping Panorama of American Culture. It presents a montage of more than four hundred iconoclastic and iconic images.
Designs by Tommy Hilfiger amalgamated with popular culture and he started to extend the message of his company’s brand across an array of platforms and media. In 2009, he launched an online store of his brand and it eventually globalized.
The designer has won several awards, such as he was honored as the Designer of the Year by New York’s Parsons School of Design in 1998. In addition to this, he was given Man of the Year award by GQ magazine. Prior to this, in 1995 the Council of Fashion Designers of America named him year’s menswear designer. The same year, he won the VH1 award at their Fashion and Music Awards. Moreover, Hilfiger has won many FiFi Awards. In 2002, he received the GQ award for International Designer of the Year in Germany. Around the same time, for his philanthropic endeavors for the youth of America, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education gave Hilfiger the Future of America Award. In 2006, once again GQ honored him with an award of the year’s best designer. The following year, he was given the Individual Accomplishment Award by the Hispanic Federation. In 2008, Bambi Award was given to Hilfiger. The Women’s Wear Daily ranked him as number one designer. Furthermore, a year later he received the UNESCO Support Award, and also the Marie Claire Lifetime Achievement Award. If this was not enough, Hilfiger was also given the Alpha Honor Award by United States Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. In 2010, he received the Legends Award from Pratt Institute and after a year he was given the Spirit of Design Award by Philadelphia University.
Apart from designing, Hilfiger does charity work as well. In 1995, he established the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation. Additionally, he is involved in causes and charities as well, including Anti-Defamation League and National Memorial Project Foundation. He was also one of the board of directors for New York’s Fresh Air Fund. For five years, he supported a notorious organization – Breast Health International. For this cause, he has worked with Helena Christensen, Carla Bruni, Renee Zellweger, Naomi Campbell, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Claudia Schiffer, and Milla Jovovich. Hilfiger has done much more than this.
On personal side, Tommy Hilfiger has four children with Alexandria, his ex-wife and one son from his second marriage to Deniz Carolina Erbuğ .