HA: Another key point is opportunity for all. What does that look like at Tommy Hilfiger?
TH: We want to become a more informed organization that creates a strong sense of belonging. From designer to factory worker, everyone in our business deserves to feel valued, supported, and have their voice heard. There are a few internal programs being developed to support this, which I hope we can share soon!
HA: Recently, Tommy Hilfiger launched the People’s Place Program to advance the representation of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities within the fashion and creative industries. Can you share a bit about that?
TH: At 18, I created the original People’s Place as a dedicated space for people from all walks of life to come together to enjoy art, music, fashion, and pop culture. Shaped by the cultural revolution of the 1960s, the original store fostered an exchange of ideas, encouraged authentic self-expression, and challenged social norms. It is in this spirit that the People’s Place Program has been founded, with the aim to advance the representation of BIPOC within the fashion and creative industries. To achieve this, we will be annually committing a minimum of US $5 million for the next three years and focusing on partnerships, career access, and industry leadership that advance this mission.
The Original People’s Place, launched by Tommy Hilfiger when he was 18
HA: You’ve been outspoken in your support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Can you share some of the changes you’ve made within the company with regards to that?
TH: So many steps have already been taken to create more opportunities and platforms for all associates to listen and be heard. We have also rolled out mandatory “unconscious bias” training to all associates, provided resources to develop a deeper understanding of systemic racism, and launched an educational event series on racial justice. But there is always more to be done, and we won’t stop until our organization, and our industry, is truly open, inclusive, and equal.
Aden at the Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya show at Paris Fashion Week, 2019
HA: One of the things I most admire about you is your commitment to helping the world’s most vulnerable children, as the mission resonates so personally with me. I was thrilled to attend and see you recognized and honored at the Save the Children event last year. Can you share what your hope is and how you continue to work to provide opportunities to our future leaders?
TH: Since I received such incredible advice early on in my career, I have stayed passionate about mentoring future fashion designers and industry leaders. We have a responsibility to use our platform to advance upcoming talent across all creative mediums. And by building partnerships, we are providing the next generation of leaders with resources, advice, connections, and support.
HA: One of the highlights of my career was wearing a custom Tommy Hilfiger burkini in the pages of Sports Illustrated Swim. What does it mean to you to be highlighting a piece that is geared towards not only Muslim women, but modest dressing women in general?
TH: It was such an honor to work with you and Sports Illustrated on this statement-making moment. When I began designing at 18, my philosophy was to start with the consumer: how they wanted to dress, what they thought was cool, what they needed. This approach is even more important today so we can keep expanding our understanding of what makes beautiful, classic, exciting fashion that is accessible to and inclusive of everyone.
HA: Any final thoughts or a message you would like to share with all of your fans in the Middle East?
TH: I have always admired the elegance of Middle Eastern fashion. I love to see the unique twist our fans across the region put on our collections. It really inspires me to experiment with new approaches.
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Originally published in the December 2020 Issue of Vogue Arabia