On a return flight from Hong Kong to New York, I spotted a group of musicians dressed head to toe in Tommy Hilfiger and Polo. Recognizing one of them as Grand Puba, I reminded Tommy that Puba’s song mentions his clothing line. We introduced ourselves and invited them to the Tommy Hilfiger showroom the next day. When they visited, they left the showroom with duffle bags full of the new Tommy Hilfiger collection. After that, I started getting calls from all the stylists to dress artists for music videos, movies, and red carpet events. It was the beginning of my new life.
I saw Snoop Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound when Tommy, my best friend Michael H., and I were at the Atlantic Records Grammy party and immediately recognized him from Dr. Dre’s, "The Chronic" album. Michael, Tommy, and I introduced ourselves and invited them to the showroom where we showed them the new line and gave them bags of Tommy gear.
Two weeks later, Snoop called on a Friday night to say he and Tha Dogg Pound were in town again and wanted more gear for his Saturday Night Live performance the next night. My Celebrity Talent Manager, Anyitsi Reynolds, and I went to the showroom and put bags of clothes together, including red, white, and blue Tommy Hilfiger rugbys. As they were rehearsing and unable to come to the showroom, we went to their hotel at midnight to hand-deliver the clothing.
The next night, Tommy called me at 11:45 pm, during Snoop’s performance, saying, "Hey Andy, these guys are all wearing my clothes on Saturday Night Live!" I had completely forgotten to tell him I had gone to their hotel the night prior to dress them. That Monday morning, the Tommy store associates were excitedly calling to ask why that rugby had sold out nationwide. I explained it was because Snoop Dogg performed in it that weekend on Saturday Night Live. That was the turning point when Tommy Hilfiger transitioned from being an American classic to the coolest company in America.
Andre Harrell introduced me to stylist, Kidada Jones, Quincy Jones’ daughter. I then introduced her to Tommy, who immediately hired her. Tommy Hilfiger had become popular and was the “Go to” clothing brand for musicians, which prompted Tommy’s decision to launch a jeans line called Tommy Jeans. Our sister, Ginny Hilfiger, was the head designer and I was responsible for overseeing the PR, marketing, and styling.
TOMMY HILFIGER CLOTHING WAS EVERYWHERE...
Aaliyah was a new artist that Atlantic records introduced me to. I asked her to be in our Vibe Magazine / Tommy Hilfiger fashion show with other artists, including Usher, Wu-Tang Clan, and Quincy Jones. I later asked her to be in our Tommy Jeans photoshoot which ultimately became one of the most iconic photos of her.
My sister, Ginny Hilfiger, designed the first Tommy Jeans line called Sports Tech Denim, mixing denim and active. I brought in my team: Anyitsi Reynolds, Koshawn Henry, PJ Reynolds, Malcolm Crews, and, model, Peter Paul Scott. We cast a group of hot, young celebrities, including Aaliyah, Mark Ronson, Simon Rex, Kidada Jones, China Chow, Kate Hudson, and others to be in the photoshoot.
We created a bus tour with the cast from the ad campaign to complement the launch of the line in stores. We also hosted parties in clubs with Mark Ronson headlining as our DJ. Ally Bernstein and Jennifer Posner from PB&J Public Relations were our fearless PR team, and through them, we obtained extensive media coverage, including CNN, ET, Extra, MTV, and BET. We also cultivated a group of celebrity kids to participate in a photoshoot on a rooftop in Los Angeles. Ginny, Kidada, and I styled the shoots.
Tommy Jeans exploded onto the fashion scene, gaining instant popularity. It was during this time that I was introduced to Peter Paul Scott, who was connected within the hip-hop music scene. Shortly thereafter, he connected me with a new group that only had one song out...Destiny’s Child. I brought them in to perform at the Tommy Jeans fashion show at Macy's Herald Square, which was covered on Page Six and made the cover of the New York Post. The group subsequently became the most highly acclaimed girl group in the world.
...AND THEY MADE THE COVER OF THE NEW YORK POST
I was in Los Angeles working with Quincy Jones on Michael Fredo's album when I revived a call from music attorney, Larry Rudolh, in New York who said he had a new artist and asked if she could model for us. He said they had just completed her video, which I asked him to send over. The artist was Britney Spears.
After viewing the video, I invited her to visit the showroom, so I could introduce her to Tommy. Pictures from the photoshoot ended up on every media outlets, including USA Today, and on that same day, Britney went Number 1 in the country.
In 2002, I left Tommy Hilfiger USA and partnered with Jennifer Lopez to launch Sweetface Fashion, where we debuted "JLo by Jennifer Lopez" and "Glo by JLo."
I was in my office when I received a call from my good friend, Jeff Farley (he also connected us with the WWF), who said Michael Jackson wanted to meet me at the Palace Hotel to discuss starting a fashion line. I spoke with Tommy and he said he would accompany me. When we arrived, Jeff greeted us and introduced us to Michael, who had five “secret service” type bodyguards with him. Michael had taken over an entire floor of the hotel. We spoke with him for an hour, during which time he described his style, showed us his designs, and said he wanted to be the next Calvin Klein. Tommy told him that we'd be in Los Angeles that weekend for the Race to Erase MS function, and invited him to attend.
We were on a private plane, and as soon as we landed, Michael called Tommy telling him he'd heard we landed. We had no idea how. He couldn't make it to the event, but he invited us to his Neverland ranch. The morning after the event, Tommy, his daughter, Ally, and I took a helicopter and landed at Neverland's heliport and a choo-choo train with a real conductor picked us up.
Shortly after we arrived, a big white limo pulled up and Michael emerged and entered the house and we were told that Michael wanted to meet with Tommy alone. Following their discussion, we said we'd let him know if we could do anything. Years earlier, Kidada Jones had dressed Michael in Tommy Hilfiger for the cover of Vibe Magazine. She had also dressed her father, Quincy Jones, for the Oscar Awards rehearsal the year he directed it.
...KIDADA DRESSED MICHAEL JACKSON IN TOMMY HILFIGER CLOTHING FOR THE COVER OF VIBE MAGAZINE.