Thomas Jacob Hilfiger was born in Elmira, a small town near New York, in 1951. He started his career in fashion in 1969, when he still was studying at high school. He decided to sell some pairs of bell-bottom jeans that he had bought in New York and before leaving school he had already opened his own store. This soon became a chain of ten shops. Hilfiger then started customizing jeans and other garments, which was his first step into fashion design. He turned down jobs in important clothing firms to found the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation in 1985.
Nowadays Tommy Hilfiger is one of the world’s leading designer lifestyle brands. The firm has a strong identity that distinguishes itself from its competitors. It represents the essence of the classic American cool style, and its designs are described as 'preppy with a twist'. The wide array of lines under Hilfiger’s names deliver to consumers worldwide men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, denim, accessories, footwear, fragrances, home furnishings, watches and eyewear.
Over the years, Hilfiger has earned numerous awards: he was recognized as the Menswear Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in 1995 and won the Parsons School of Design Designer of the Year Award, among many others in 1998.
Tommy Hilfiger is still the company’s Principal Designer and Creative Director, even though the firm was taken over by PVH Corp. in 2010.