This week the ever-expanding American King of Prep took his UK retail commitment to a whole new level. By opening up a new flagship store on Brompton Road in London’s prestigious Knightsbridge area, Tommy Hilfiger bucks the current commercial trends by opening up new stores rather than streamlining existing ones or even closing them down.
Hilfiger not only got his hands on a great new location but have also moved in his entire sartorial arsenal, offering preppy Brits a taste of the luxurious catwalk lines, as well as the more accessible denim collections and accessory offerings. Already operating three massive stores in and around the capital, Hilfiger’s strong men’s and womenswear shows in New York the past few seasons – all bearing the hallmarks of his passion for music and art – must have encouraged him to expand on these shores, something we’re sure all you Christmas shoppers must be thrilled about. We sat down with the man himself for a quick chat…
Dazed Digital: Why expanding in London?
Tommy Hilfiger: London is the home of preppy style, it’s where it all began and has always been a close source of inspiration to me. I feel that my store on Brompton Road is a real homecoming for Prep.
DD: These are difficult times for everyone, brands included. Is the answer to expand our way out of the crisis?
Tommy Hilfiger: I think we all have to be mindful of the economic climate and make considered business decisions. The time feels right for us to make a statement in London, people are investing in timeless items which will see them through the seasons and that is part of the brands appeal of offering modern yet classic American wardrobe pieces.
DD: You seem at ease in Britain - what is it about the country and culture over here that you like?
Tommy Hilfiger: The landscape of Britain is incredible – the cities and countryside alike, Britain is a melting pot of different cultures and styles – people are less afraid to experiment with their look and that really appeals to me.
DD: How does Brits fare in the 'Best Dressed City' competition?
Tommy Hilfiger: Pretty highly, I’m a real observer of style and I always find that over here people aren’t afraid to experiment with their look but at the same time the eccentricity is often based around the heritage of the classic British look. For instance, Russell Brand has a unique take on the traditional dandy look, and Alexa Chung has a very specific British 60s inspired style. It’s quite an art to get it right.
DD: The store will house all the Tommy Hilfiger lines, do you have any personal favourites this season?
Tommy Hilfiger: That’s always a tricky question to answer as so much work goes into all the collections, I’m excited about the men’s Tailoring line, it is very strong this season and it’s the first time that the complete collection will be housed in the UK.
DD: At the moment, the Tommy Hilfiger main lines are colourful and pop art inspired - will the shop interior mirror that?
Tommy Hilfiger: Each season we update the interior of the store to reflect the collections for Fall. Currently the store interior mirrors the At Home with the Hilfiger’s campaign and for Summer we will plan to do the same.
DD: It's a prestigious area to have a shop in but did you look at other options as well?
Tommy Hilfiger: I have always dreamed of having a store on Brompton Road, it’s a real retail destination and although I do have other locations in mind for the future we are very excited to have secured a store in prime retail space.
DD: What's next for you?
Tommy Hilfiger: There are many plans in the pipeline, I have been lucky enough to partner with the global charity Millennium Promise who aim to eradicate extreme poverty in our lifetime – it’s a big goal but I visited a cluster of villages in Uganda named Ruhiira where we are investing in the hope of making the communities self sustainable, the plan is that this creates a ripple effect, the community we engage with can then go onto work with the surrounding villages to build a way out of the extreme poverty that they face on a daily basis.
It’s a challenge but I’m confident the strategies millennium promise have implemented will make some big changes and I’m honoured to be involved. Next year we will be launching a capsule collection with the profits from the sale of pieces reinvested back into the charity, we are also collaborating with Disney on the children’s line which is very exciting.
Tommy Hilfiger Flagship Store, 63 – 65 Brompton Road, London SW6