Pitti June 2017: Tommy Hilfiger unveils his high-tech wholesale plans
This week in Pitti, Tommy Hilfiger essentially extended his leadership in See Now Shop Now by extending the concept in wholesaling. We caught up with the designer to learn more.
Here in Florence, Hilfiger’s stand was located deep within the walls of the 16th century Fortezza da Basso; but packed with his tech wizardry and state-of-the art customization.
On the walls, giant touch screens reading 'Shop the Look,' with ads and looks for men and women, where retailers can place orders directly – in different sizes and colors.
“The big message is the technology. And how to go B-to-B in very sophisticated way. So, we have created the showroom of the future. Now any buyer can come in and put the whole collection together; do the size runs and basically email it to themselves. And, not to have to sit in a showroom with someone showing them a garment at a time,” smiles Hilfiger.
The designer expects many retailers to stay in their own city and place wholesale orders directly form their own office. However, he cautions: “The experience of going into the showroom is quite exciting as you can see and touch the actual clothes.”
“We wanted the space to be clean and modern and we wanted to be able to focus on the looks,” says Tommy about the actual collection. It included smart multiple striped puffer vests; dandy red satin baseball jackets and light seersucker suits for men – a huge trend at Pitti.
His company will open up 16 international showrooms with full collections and the large Shop the Look screens in places like London, Amsterdam, Shanghai and New York.
“Pitti remains vital for our European business. All the buyers come to Pitti,” says Tommy, visibly proud of linking up with uber-hip Chainsmokers.
“We like to be connected to the music world. They are one of the number one groups in the world and they have a cool factor. They are our demographic, spot-on,” he explained.
Along side Hilfiger’s linkup with Gigi Hadid, the latest example of which will be presented in London during the UK runway season in September, the designer has clearly worked hard to keep his demographic young.
“Other obvious brands have not evolved and got stuck in a trap. To then to go back and attempt to reset the brand is quite a feat. So, I am being pro-active rather than reactive,” he smiles, too polite to make the obvious inference that someone like Ralph Lauren is in trouble precisely because he appears to have lost the millennial generation.
Hilfiger’s CEO Daniel Grieder explained that the house has just started producing the collections that Tommy will show in the iconic Roundhouse in London.
“It’s an enormous logistical headache, but by making all our departments - design, manufacturing, logistics and communications – work together we can make it happen,” he said.
He added that they will create anywhere from 300 to 1,500 examples of each piece, a substantial commitment, even before any orders have been made at the show.
“Right now no one can beat Zara in terms of speed. They see something they like in a designer’s runway show and they can bring it to market in six weeks. But as we will have our collection ready for the day of the actual show, we can be ahead of then by six weeks. Which is great, believe me,” concludes Grieder.
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