Blog: Leonie BarrieTommy Hilfiger’s identity crisis

Leonie Barrie | 24 January 2005

Fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger is facing up to its identity crisis by axing 200 jobs – one-fifth of its workforce – in an attempt to stem sliding sales and save around $40 million in costs. Not only has Tommy Hilfiger been struggling to reinvent itself, it is also the subject of an ongoing government investigation into the commissions it pays overseas buying offices and is battling at least 10 shareholder lawsuits related to the tax probe. 

Back in the 1990s, Tommy Hilfiger was the label of choice for rappers – business that the company embraced with open arms, churning out baggy colourful clothes with huge logos that perfectly embraced the hip-hop look. But as fans tired of the name and moved on to newer, edgier labels, sales slumped and have failed to reignite, despite attempts to move into more sophisticated, pricier markets.

Tommy now says it will redistribute resources so that each component of the wholesale division, including men’s, women’s and children’s, will have its own design, merchandising and production teams, each reporting to individual division presidents. A move that's likely to mean honorary chairman Tommy Hilfiger will no longer be directly responsible for design personnel.


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