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Tommy Hilfiger: Problematic or Progressive?

Tommy Hilfiger is trailblazing inclusive fashion by creating clothing catered to people with disabilities. This collection, called Tommy Adaptive, includes magnetic buttons, easy-to-open hems, one-handed zippers and sizes up to 16. Tommy Adaptive has opened up a very interesting conversation on the role of the fashion industry to reflect all of its potential customers instead of just a specific type. While this line is a great beginning to creating fashion that is inclusive for all, Tommy Hilfiger has allegedly had some trouble in the past making clothing for everyone.

In 1996, an email boycott campaign leaked information that Hilfiger allegedly said that if he knew minorities would be wearing his clothing, he wouldn’t have made them so nicely and that he wished they wouldn’t wear them. He then allegedly went on The Oprah Winfrey Show and stood by those statements. Since then, Hilfiger has denied the rumor that he even appeared on Oprah. Oprah herself confirmed that he didn’t appear on the show and that he didn’t openly make those statements.

So, is this brand worth supporting? It seems that the rumors have been debunked and Hilfiger continues to do something special in the fashion community with his inclusive collection. The new campaign features figures who are famous in the disability community such as dancer Chelsie Hill and Paralympic gold medalist Jeremy Campbell. According to the press release, Tommy Hilfiger’s central mission is to be “inclusive and [to] empower people of all abilities to express themselves through fashion.” 

It’s beautiful to see more people being represented in fashion, however, it’s also important to mention how financially inaccessible this fashion is. Tommy Hilfiger’s inclusive line has apparel ranging from women’s t-shirts priced at $39.50 to dresses at $119.50. These prices can be a deterrent for people who may be disabled but still want to express themselves through fashion. Hopefully, the day will arrive when inclusive fashion is present, affordable and accessible for all.

All images courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger.


Second year student at Florida State University, Creative Writing major, poetry and people is my passion.
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