Tommy Hilfiger

The enigmatic fashion designer seeks to strengthen communities through his foundation, Tommy Cares.

Editing by {  Marie Look

Profile by {  Kate Jacobson

Photography by {  John Russo

Tommy Hilfiger doesn’t just make great clothes, he makes great communities, too. For more than 20 years, the iconic fashion designer has used his platform to support community initiatives across the United States through his foundation Tommy Cares (previously called the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation). He helps raise substantial funds for health, educational and cultural programs for at-risk communities and youth, and encourages his employees to use their time to support several different organizations. To name a few: The World Wildlife Fund, the Millennium Promise (a nonprofit aimed at ending poverty in Africa) and Breast Health International.

Three of Hilfiger’s seven children are on the autism spectrum; he and his wife Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger are huge supporters of Autism Speaks, and she sits on the board for the charity. “I have a tremendous personal commitment to supporting autism awareness and research, and I believe strongly in the missions of these organizations,” he said in 2012, after his company provided $1.2 million in grants to several different organizations, including Autism Speaks.

In recent years, Hilfiger’s company launched the Tommy Hilfiger Social Innovation Challenge, a global initiative aimed at helping entrepreneurs and startups develop positive social impact. Winners received a grant of up to $100,000 and were placed into the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Program. 

“Our brand has a strong history of mentoring and supporting talented individuals who have the drive to turn bold ideas into a reality,” says Hilfiger. “The future success of our industry depends on proactively discovering and nurturing innovative projects that can create real social change. The Tommy Hilfiger Social Innovation Challenge is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on incredible ideas that could change the lives of people through a more positive and inclusive fashion landscape.”

Hilfiger has also taken a special interest in making his own business more accessible and sustainable. He hopes by 2020 his entire operation will use 100 percent sustainable cotton and be stewards of responsible water use. In 2016, he partnered with Runway of Dreams to create a clothing line for children with disabilities. In 2018, he decided to launch an entire line for adults, called Tommy Adaptive. 

“Tommy Adaptive’s mission is to be inclusive and empower people of all abilities to express themselves through fashion,” a press release from the brand stated.