Tommy Hilfiger On Musical Inspirations

The designer talks music and fashion
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Ramble, rant or reminisce, this is an artist’s opportunity to pen their own Clash article.

Tommy Hilfiger looks back at the musical era that helped define his designs and gives Clash a personal account of this exciting time and his twenty-five years in fashion.
 
“When I was growing up I was strongly influenced by the musical revolutions of the ’60s and ’70s. Nothing sounded better than rock music - I wanted to dress like Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page and David Bowie - but in Elmira, New York, where I grew up, it was impossible to find the rock ‘n’ roll outfits they were wearing.
 
With the passion to change this, in 1969 I set up my first store People’s Place with two friends, where amongst the incense sticks, black walls and loud music, we sold bell-bottoms. I soon realized that I wanted to design clothes that were cooler than the ones we were selling, and I began sketching my own ideas inspired by music and a rock style. It wasn’t until 1985 that I introduced my first signature collection consisting of Classic American Cool designs that consumers around the world have embraced.

The influence of the music from the era is still very much evident within the brand. Over the years I have been very lucky to work with many inspiring well-known figures as well as my personal music and style icons.
 
In 1999 I was proud to sponsor The Rolling Stones’ ‘No Security’ tour. I never thought I’d see my name up there with the logo of the band I used to listen to as a kid. Not so long ago I collaborated with Marky Ramone, the fantastic drummer of the legendary Ramones. Together we created a special Hilfiger Denim collection, which paid homage to the New York rock ‘n’ roll scene in the ’70s and ’80s as well as Marky’s style.

Music is an intrinsic part of popular culture, which has a strong impact on the world.”

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