Elizabeth Hilfiger is on a mission to take her brand Foo & Foo from an alternative indie label to something much greater. The designer began her first Paris market this week after a successful first New York Fashion Week show staged earlier this month — all part of her plan to double the company’s sales over the next year.
Foo & Foo’s well-priced, American-made versatile basics offer a kind of edge that speaks to the Olivia Rodrigo generation. The distressed thermal T-shirts, bungee cord skirts, slouchy jeans and sweatpants are largely priced under $200, and top out under $500. T-shirts and easy layering pieces can run around $80.
For Hilfiger, who attended the Rhode Island School of Design and launched her line with a range of screen-printed oversize T-shirts and hoodies in 2018, Foo & Foo is representative of her own personal evolution. The brand’s offering grew more sophisticated and wide-reaching over the pandemic, and she felt like it was the right time to show it off.
“Last spring I did a soft collection with a pop-up in New York. which was really good. I just feel like the world of Foo & Foo had reached a full brand vision and wasn’t being understood so I wanted to have a show in New York where I grew up and a lot of our community is based,” said Hilfiger.
She continued: “The brand just shows how my style has personally evolved and matured a bit. I don’t feel like I have to be in a hoodie to feel safe and I wanted this season to really focus on what I wanted in my closet. I wanted it a little more body conscious — not tight — but things that are adjustable and feel good to wear.”
While some items — like her signature drawstring sweatpants that pool at the ankle for a “just so” effect — seem simple at first glance, Hilfiger says everything is carefully considered. Those sweats, for instance, were in development, “for a good year and a half. We have multiple fittings for each sweatshirt and T-shirt.”
This season, Hilfiger also introduced more modular pieces by collaborating with Techniche — a company that develops technical fabrics to help those at risk of extreme heat exposure. Hilfiger was inspired by sweltering Los Angeles days over the summer, and felt like she could offer wardrobe solutions to make life more comfortable amid climate change.
To make things cohesive, and memorable, Hilfiger took a page from her father Tommy’s playbook. Most designs come affixed with a visible “Foo & Foo” branded ribbon — helping drive a visible notion of community. “I am kind of jaded about logo branding from growing up with my dad and all the clothes and stuff so I feel like it’s second nature to put a logo on something. We created that webbing a while ago, so I thought it would be cool to incorporate it again — we did it as a reflective logo this season which I thought was subtle and nice,” Hilfiger said.
This week, Hilfiger is exhibiting at a new Paris showroom concept called Together, which also features brands including Palomo Spain and Luchen. She is helped by two new hires to drive her brand forward. Matthew Newman, previously of Farfetch has been hired as president and Lauren Butterworth, formerly of Amiri, is the brand’s marketing director.
Newman said of his goals for the company: “We are hoping with doing a show and with Lauren helping accelerate our brand messaging through proper channels, that we can reach a community [that] has yet to realize who we are. With this increasing brand footprint we hope to double our business — we have been on an indie level thus far, so we are taking a really coordinated effort to increase visibility.”
Foo & Foo currently has a few wholesale accounts in Japan but is hoping its market week efforts will help grow its reach in Asia while establishing a foothold in Europe and North America.