Avery Baker, president and CEO, Tommy Hilfiger, recently participated TW Forum, the yearly event organized by Textil Wirtschaft, in Frankfurt. She spoke about Tommy Hilfiger's Futuremakers collabs and a gaming project that's setting new standards.
The manager started working for Tommy Hilfiger in New York in 1997. When Fred Gehring brought the label to Amsterdam, she was one of the few U.S.-based employees who came across the Atlantic. After stepping down in mid-2019, she returned as president and chief brand officer in late 2020. With her about 25 years of experience working for the brand, she passionately summed up at the presence of the top managers of the German and Northern European fashion scene, how Tommy Hilfiger has been trendsetting and forward-thinking in shaping the future, especially considering that the brand is expected to rise from the current $4.7 billion sales to around $6.4 billion by 2025.
Baker started her speech telling a story: “7am, metro station, Washington DC, in the super busy rush hour, an anonymous violinist started to play. At the end of the day, he collected US$32. Three days earlier, the same musician played in one of the finest music halls of Boston in the presence of hundreds of people paying US$150 per ticket. What the difference between these two audiences? The difference was that the violinist was a relevant to that audience.”
And the same concept needs to apply to everyone participating in the conference she was participating. "The key question for brands and for each of you sitting here is: Are we relevant to our audience? Relevance is a ‘fragile’ commodity today, and we are dealing with customers who change their views quickly.”
“TH has been around for almost four decades and one of the reasons why we maintain to our overall relevance in the brand is our real authentic connection with college culture, and we have been very much connect to that culture but also much focused on what’s happening and what’s coming next,” she explained.
Among the key aspects of TH’s success, Baker pointed out that "Colliding the classic with the new to light up what's next” is what helped Tommy Hilfiger staying successful.
He did it by launching first the See-now-buy-now strategy, involving testimonials that are relevant to his audience like, for instance, Gigi Hadid, Louis Hamilton, Zendaya and most recently Shawn Mendes. That's why Baker doesn't talk about Gen Z or millennials, but "Futuremakers." “These are people who are committed to a better future,” she explained.
“Today, consumers, particularly the younger generations, do believe that brands have a responsibility to help shape this world we are living in. They expect a brand to have a point of view, and they expect they are aligned with their values and that is a connection,” she continued, pointing out how Tommy Hilfiger has also been committed to defend and support different cultures as it happened recently for Black Lives Matter movement.
In terms of product the company sees enormous potential to produce high-quality sustainable denim, too, for instance, through its “Wasting Nothing” philosophy, for instance, based upon the aim to besetting the future of fashion to be fully circular and operate with sensitivity to planetary boundaries.
Among its next projects TH started the Infinited Fiber Company Partnership, a multi-year partnership announced in May, with circular fashion technology group Infinited Fiber Company to elevate the sustainability of products offered in Europe.
The Tommy for Life Program is another program that took back pre-owned TH and Tommy Jeans pieces as well as damaged items from retail operations, to make them good as new or remixed them into completely new styles. Since 2020, Tommy for Life has saved 110.792lbs of textile material from ending up in landfills.
Such engagement shows how TH is committed to pursuing goals that are not simply marketing slogans, but truly responsible goals, part of a corporate commitment, to be pursued day by day.