Tommy Hilfiger is introducing Tommy’s Drop Shop, the brand’s latest platform for creators from all areas of the pop-culture community. They will collaborate with Hilfiger on limited-edition style releases.
The strategy behind the concept is to demonstrate the importance of creative diversity by shining a light on diverse people, voices and cultures. Each capsule will focus on stories from a specific pocket of cultural creativity — from graphic design to stencil art to photography, skate culture, music, tattoos, video design, and poetry, among other things.
The first Tommy’s Drop Shop release will become available in Europe in limited quantities, exclusively on tommy.com, on Dec. 8.
“Creative collaboration has always been at the heart of our brand, and over the last five years we’ve fused this with a ‘see-now-buy-now’ mentality that really puts the consumer at the center of our creative process,” said Tommy Hilfiger.
“Tommy’s Drop Shop combines the best of these approaches with a new level of speed and energy. From local to international, emerging to well-known, photographers to skaters — you name it. We want to celebrate creatives in every discipline, from every community. It’s all about giving artists a platform to tell their stories, and sharing this spirit of constant newness and creative expression with fans,” the designer said.
The drop sales tactic has been a popular marketing vehicle for several years. Brands such as Supreme, Nike, Adidas, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Alexander Wang have experimented with the tactic, creating hype and social media buzz.
Hilfiger’s limited-edition, collaborative micro capsules will drop once a month, with all T-shirt and hoodie styles designed to be gender-neutral and available in a maximum quantity of 500 units a style. Each release will be grouped into thematic stories featuring styles designed by one to three diverse creators, who have each been selected for their creative vision, perspective and passion for a particular aspect of pop culture.
All Tommy’s Drop Shop pieces will be created using 100 percent organic cotton, which adheres to the company’s “Wastes Nothing and Welcomes All” sustainability mission.
In an interview Tuesday, Hilfiger and Michael Scheiner, the company’s chief marketing officer, said although the initiative will begin in Europe, it will eventually expand to the U.S.
“For now, based on where we have the product easily available to manufacture here, it makes the most sense,” said Scheiner, speaking virtually from Amsterdam. “Eventually it will be a global initiative.”
Scheiner said the company found these designers through people they’ve met, by seeking out talent, and through its People’s Place program, a new company platform that creates more opportunities for Black, Indigenous and people of color in the fashion industry. Each designer will design one drop. “We’ll have constant flows, updates and newness,” said Scheiner.
Asked what type of aesthetic he’s seeking from the collaborators, Hilfiger pointed out that the collaborations he’s done in the past have been very successful. “We thought that doing it on a monthly basis would be very exciting, and the momentum would continue. This isn’t doing it just with designers, but lots of creatives from the world of pop culture. We would like to see how they would interpret our flag, our red, white and blue, our ethos. To give freshness and newness to product that’s fairly basic, that everyone wears, from a graphics and design point of view, we’re allowing them to be creative and do their own thing,” said Hilfiger.
Hilfiger said they’re free to do whatever they want. “I personally would like to challenge them to do whatever they want within our language.” He said they have found a creative pool of young talent “and we’re allowing them to do what they’d like to do.”
Scheiner said they go through the designers’ Instagrams so they can see their aesthetic. “And of course we want it to be in line with what our brand is, but really inviting them, to Tommy’s point, to interpret it in their own way.”
For now, the products are just a hoodie and a T-shirt, and they will be fully sustainable, said Scheiner.
Asked to provide an example, Hilfiger said, “Great graphics are always fun and exciting and they have to be unique but say something through the art or making statements. When you think about what young people wear, young people are really wearing sweats, jeans, hoodies, T-shirts, sneakers. We’re living in that culture. What’s important is we have unique creativity on these basics.”
While they have selected the initial four candidates, they haven’t finalized their contracts yet so they couldn’t reveal who they are. They are from all over the world.
As for who makes the final decision of the design, Hilfiger said, “If we select them, we’re going to allow them to do what they want to do. Due to the fact that they were selected, it’s good enough for us. We’ve done research on them, they are also creatives in other areas. Some design album covers for musicians and bands, some do graphics for sports teams, some do all sorts of creative work for some other brands, and even do art on their own. We’ve selected some cool people with great creativity.”
They will get paid for their work. “I think that’s important. We’re selecting people who obviously do need help and support with their careers,” said Scheiner. “Obviously a brand like ours can really do that. We’ll have stories we want to tell around these artists. It’s not just design a shirt and we’ll sell it. We really want our consumer to have a deeper connection.”
The plan is to do social media around each one. “We’ll really tell the story of who the artist is,” said Scheiner. Eventually, if they’re very good, they may land a job at Hilfiger. “If they’re good enough, we’ll find an opening,” said Hilfiger.
T-shirts will retail for 49.90 euros, and hoodies are 129 euros. Sizes range from XXS to XXL. They will be sold on Hilfiger’s web site until they run out. The company is also looking into a charitable component from the sales of the products.
“It’s the first time we’ve done something like this. As we see success, we’ll certainly evolve. I can definitely see us working with talent on a more frequent basis. It’s really going to come down to what do our consumers think, if they’re excited about a particular design or more engaged with a particular artist,” said Scheiner.
The hangtag will have Hilfiger’s name with the artist’s name. On the web site, they will call out who the designer is and share more about them. Each designer works remotely. The goal is to turn the items quickly.
“We want to do it very quickly, lightning speed,” said Hilfiger. “The Millennials and Gen Z want immediate gratification. If they see something on Insta or TikTok, they want it immediately,” he said. There are limited quantities “which makes it a little more desirable,” said Hilfiger. He said the 500 pieces are not as limited as other brands have done. Sometimes skater brands drop 50 items. “Because we’re more global, 500 will scratch the surface,” said Hilfiger.
While on the topic of collaborations, Hilfiger was asked whether he’s considering signing up another collaborator for his women’s collection, as he’s done with Gigi Hadid and Zendaya. “Most likely. Things need to settle down a little bit so we get that momentum back up and running,” he said.
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