The world of fashion is filled with larger than life personalities who worked hard to get to where they are now. For the most part, I guess? Name-brand fashion lines often cost a lot of money than what you would normally pay for in a department store at the mall. But for a lot people, those name-brand items are a symbol for them. It’s mostly just to say that they earn enough money that this type of purchase is just a normal occurrence for them. But the times that I see runway photos from those brands’ respective fashion shows, I think to myself “People would wear these?”
I don’t think the same can be said about Tommy Hilfiger and his clothing brand. Looking at the pieces that’s available online, they seem to be sensible enough that you can wear them regularly. But you really have to choose which clothes you’d wear and not be embarrassed by. There are a lot of clothes in his collections that feature the brand’s logo. It’s very common for big name fashion brands to have their brand on the clothes and accessories they sell. Often times, that’s a big selling point why people buy those clothes in the first place.
But before we get into the weeds of it, we have to talk about the man himself. Tommy was born in Elmira, New York. Looking at the map of New York, it’s actually closer to the border to Pennsylvania than it is to New York City. He was the second of nine children. I guess it’s possible that his dad being a jeweler and a watchmaker sort of helped him get into fashion. Often times jewelry and watches are big part of fashion. But considering that they lived five hours to what is ostensibly a large fashion hub that is NYC, you wouldn’t really have expected him to be that interested in fashion.
He seemed like a fairly normal person growing up. He did played some sports and wanted to play some music but wasn’t really great at it. But he really wanted to emulate the style of the rock stars of that era. During his teenage years in the late 1960s, he saved up enough money from his job working at a gas station in order to buy a bunch of jeans in New York City. Though it seemed like he actually worked at clothing shop around that time. When he and his friend Larry came back to Elmira, they sold those jeans to his friends. That first experience as entrepreneurs lead him to start his very first shop called People’s Place.
The first ever People’s Place is sort what you would expect from two 18-year olds. It was a bit thrown together but somehow it worked. A bunch of Tommy and Larry’s friends decided to help in exchange for getting free clothes. Eventually, People’s Place expanded around New York mostly situated near college campuses. It made sense that they would target people around the same age as they were. It seemed that People’s Place became the people’s place as a bunch of different personalities went to those stores to buy clothes.
Eventually, People’s Place went bankrupt. Not that the service was bad, it was because they didn’t took notice of the managerial side of the business. I mean, if you were importing a bunch of clothes from both coasts of the United States to other countries, yeah, I could see them struggling a little bit financially. But that experienced help Tommy in a lot of ways. Eventually, he moved to the city in order to pursue a career as a fashion designer. He managed to find a client that wanted him to design clothes for him. He got to travel the world to see how those clothes got made.
After that, he was approached by Mohan Mujarni to pursue making an actual brand. He invested a bit of money to create what is now the Tommy Hilfiger brand. You kind of expect what happened next. The brand really did well for itself. In 2005, he sold his company to a private equity firm which was then sold to a clothing conglomerate. Tommy is still major part of the company’s design team. At this point, he probably has a net worth of about $2,000,000,000.
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