Tommy Hilfiger Makes Fashion More Accessible

In 2016, the Tommy Hilfiger brand announced that they were going to create an inclusive brand for children. TH collaborated with the nonprofit Runway of Dreams, and its founder, Mindy, to increase the availability of fashionable clothing for kids with special needs. After the success of the children’s line, in October 2017, Tommy Hilfiger announced that the brand was changing to create more inclusive and adaptive fashion for adults as well.

The clothing line was officially produced and released this month. Hilfiger created 37 new styles for men and for women 34 garments like pants, jackets, dresses, shirts and more. What makes the line adaptive are the features that make the clothing work for people with different physical challenges and disabilities. Some of those new features include side-seam openings, adjustable waists/hems, magnetic zippers/buttons, Velcro closures and one-handed zippers.

Why it was a surprise

Tommy Hilfiger has consistently been represented as a higher-end exclusive brand. Several celebrities have been seen sporting the brand in the past few years including Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid and Winnie Harlow. Despite clothing items updating with each new decade, the brand has consistently used the same color palette to represent its classic, sporty nature.

It also came as a shock to Hilfiger haters. Many opposed the brand in 2011 when rumors resurfaced that Hilfiger himself made statements against minorities in 1996. The rumor was that Hilfiger allegedly said that he didn’t want minorities wearing his lines and had he known they were going to wear them he wouldn’t have made them. He went on Oprah in 2007 to shut down haters and deny the rumors. Since then, the older generation of fashion lovers have been at odds with the brand. The new branding allows the label to reappeal to older members of the fashion audience to win them over and the new audience who came for the adaptive nature.

Why more accessible lines need to be created

In a way, it’s sad that the idea of make clothing functional for people of all abilities has never been thought of before. People just expected clothes to be clothes and work for all people, but that isn’t the truth. Physical challenges keep people wearing things all the time and cause them to make their own alterations.

More fashion labels need to consider all types of people with varying physical differences when they create their clothing line. Fashion is a form of art and expression that should be available to everyone at every stage of life. Creating fashion lines that are socially conscious also benefit the marketing of the brand; the label and designer appear more aware of society and the social climate.

Being aware of fashion changes, as well as social changes, and depicting that in their line of clothing — is what I believe makes Tommy Hilfiger, and other brands that do the same, successful.