Daniel Greider is no stranger to Tommy Hilfiger. He joined the company in 1997 as a brand manager in Switzerland and Austria, ten years later became the CEO of the brand in the European market, and in 2014 took over as CEO and has been responsible for brand development ever since. Our meeting takes place in a huge building near the main streets of Amsterdam. There is a denim center, fabric sample ateliers, laboratories where lasers sparkle, paint scuffs on jeans, and giant washing machines. The CEO's spacious office offers stunning views of the bay and ships.
What is behind the philosophy of the company "Product is king"
I have been in the fashion business for 30 years and have seen ups and downs - this is a natural process that has been and always will be. Denim fashion is quiet now, but I believe that a new peak of popularity is ahead. We actively contribute to this by introducing innovations into production, because our success consists of a balance between the history of the brand and advanced technologies. Bell bottom jeans were the first item released under the Tommy Hilfiger brand, and they remain relevant. Managing brand heritage properly is a big and important task.
A business in any field is doomed if it does not have a quality product at an appropriate price. You won't last long solely on a beautiful ad campaign and low prices. If the item does not match, the customer who values quality, having bought it once, will not come again. At Tommy Hilfiger, we invest in product and price alike. But while maintaining quality, it is important not to forget about creativity. Take the basics jeans, for example. Everyone says they always look the same. This is not so, every season they change slightly due to the constant search for the perfect result in design and production. Today we say: "Product is king, customer is queen."
Denim center © press service
In the past eight years, the capital of the Netherlands has played an important role in the fashion sector, surpassing Milan, London and Paris. Here people are as open as possible to new ideas and quickly create trends that the rest of the world picks up, including in the "jeans" sphere. The state is investing in the denim industry: they hold thematic fairs and open specialized centers in the city.
About the denim center
Our main points of support are concentrated here - ateliers, libraries, offices, laboratories. In the "fashion kitchen", designers embody any ideas, test them, monitor production, search for the right fabric among 1300 samples collected from all over the world, study models from previous seasons and communicate with clients. Customers come here to try on or fit a model - in our atelier it takes 48 hours, unlike the usual 4-6 weeks offered by other companies.
New Tommy Jeans collection
Previously, it was not possible to create fully recycled cotton yarns of the quality and scale that we needed. Finally, everything worked out and this spring will be the first collection of 100% recycled cotton denim material. This happened thanks to the collaboration with the denim center PVH, which sets new standards in the production of denim. The capsule includes models in the style of mom jeans popular in the 90s, as well as skinny jeans and a voluminous jacket.
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Taking care of the environment is a future that concerns all spheres of life, including fashion. Companies are actively involved in the processing of their products, and I am proud of the results of the work of our center: first, economical water consumption - we save from 15 to 60 liters from one pair, secondly, reducing the use of chemicals, thirdly, reducing waste and produced carbon dioxide. In addition, we have abandoned the use of natural pumice and stones for washing to achieve the effect of scuffing; they have been replaced by stainless steel barrels and non-toxic enzymes. We reuse denim and borrow buttons from old collections. We make threads from recycled plastic bottles and tags from recycled paper. We have developed a unique laser finishing technology,which takes 90 seconds as opposed to a manual 40-minute processing. A special water purification system is installed in the center of the denim: a special machine removes fibers, chemicals and indigo dye. Clean water is stored in the tank for reuse and used during the next wash. We use and purify water within 30–40 days, after which it is purified again and transferred to various companies, for example, those that make asphalt.
About the price
Today the price of our regular jeans ranges from $ 99 to $ 149, the capsule model costs $ 119. We want to convey to the client that sustainable production does not make the item more expensive. The challenge to reduce costs lies entirely with the industry, and recycling machines are now more efficient and cost effective. For example, before, when ordering a batch, I could be mistaken with the quantity, and the surplus remained in the warehouse, but today they are used, which means that the business is becoming more profitable.
Future shopping concept
Digital technologies pushed us to the idea of creating a new type of store. The shopper finds himself in a space where traditional things are combined with technological innovation and personalization. The first such store in Amsterdam turned out to be large (over 300 sq. M), everywhere there are interactive displays, on which you can look at the online catalog and order the delivery of things to your office or home. If you come to try on a suit, then you will be offered shoes and a shirt so that you can see the suit “at work”.
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I am inspired by a wide variety of industries, from tulip cultivation to Formula 1. It is a mistake to believe that the fashion business and the race track have no common ground - I have learned a lot from our partners from the Mercedes team. For example, collect and read information correctly. We use a similar approach to improve the supply chain and to better understand the needs of customers anywhere in the world.
How Tommy Hilfiger works
I was immediately struck by Tommy's approach to design. As a rule, in the beginning, a collection is created, which is divided into styles and trends, and the buyer follows them. Hilfiger first looks at clients, listens to their desires, then goes to the studio and creates what they dreamed of. He creates based on the ideas and wishes of his customers. This philosophy of fusion of creativity and business remains an integral part of our DNA and sets Tommy Hilfiger apart from other premium brands worldwide.
What is the strength of the company
Tommy Hilfiger created a multibillion dollar company that has not lost the drive that is inherent in startups. Today the brand has developed into one of the leading digital and innovative brands in the fashion industry. The biggest risk is not taking risks. It is imperative to experiment and think in new ways. This means that we are constantly looking for cutting-edge technologies and finding inspiration in other industries. The company presents a variety of lines: classic, denim, sports, kids and luxury, as well as various capsules and collaborations. In addition, we have excellent partners in the perfume business, jewelry, and interior design.
Drawing with a laser © press service
In 1997, we opened a European office of eight in a small room, and now we are in a huge building with a mass of offices, which employs two thousand people. It all worked out thanks to our shared passion, ambition, great product and exceptional inner culture. Our further path is clearly shaped, and we know where we want to move: from the development of the PVH denim center to the opening of a virtual 3D fitting room, from stores of the future to sales of collections immediately after the show in the See Now, Buy Now format.>