Tommy Hilfiger and Lewis Hamilton on Plant-Based Diets and Sustainable Fashion

by Eddie Roche
Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger and Formula One superstar Lewis Hamilton have joined forces again. This season’s sleek, sporty looks are the duo’s most sustainably made to date. Hilfiger and Hamilton filled us in ahead of the collection’s debut on February 16 at London Fashion Week. Ready, set, go!

Tommy Hilfiger

You’re pairing up with Lewis Hamilton again. Why do you think this collaboration has really taken off?
Lewis’s incredible personality and great style really resonate with our customers. This collection marks our fourth season with him, and we have centered it around the idea of creating something for everyone, regardless of gender, age, body type, or ethnicity.

What first piqued your interest about working with him?
Lewis has great style. His confidence and passion, both on and off the track, make him stand out. I knew he’d bring that same energy and spirit to our collaboration.

What have you learned about fashion from Lewis?
Lewis is not afraid to take risks with fashion. We worked closely on the design process, and it was great to see how he translated his bold style in unique ways for each collection.

Jaeseung Kim. Tommy Hilfiger, Lewis Hamilton, Alton Mason, Riley Montana (Courtesy)

Sustainability is a big part of your next collection together. Why did you decide to focus on this?
Sustainability is important to Lewis and myself, and we wanted the collection to focus on that. The Spring collection will have more than 75 percent of styles in sustainable materials, including vegan leather and 100 percent sustainably sourced cotton. It’s our responsibility to do more for the world we live in.

How do you feel about the industry as a whole making serious efforts when it comes to sustainability?
Our brand has always been committed to making positive impacts on the environment and our communities. I think sustainability is the future of fashion, and it’s great to see that our industry is making strides and increasing their efforts.

Why did you decide to show across the pond again?
Lewis grew up in England, so it’s exciting to take TOMMYNOW to London and show at the iconic Tate Modern.

What are your favorite things to do in London?
King’s Road has always been a source of inspiration for me; I love going there to look at the fashion. I also try and visit the Serpentine Gallery. I love to spend a relaxing afternoon at Hyde Park, too.

Tell us about the Fashion Frontier project launching on February 13th.
We launched a global program to support start-up businesses that are working to promote inclusive and positive changes in fashion. The upcoming event is the second edition of the Fashion Frontier Challenge. It’s something I feel passionately about. I’m so glad we can support the next generation of entrepreneurs. We have finalists who come from so many fields—agriculture, refugee aid, retail, and women’s rights. Seeing their drive and hearing about their work is so inspiring, and I’m looking forward to our event in Amsterdam when we’ll announce the winners.

Lewis Hamilton

What really resonates with you about this collection?
Fashion is a form of self-expression, so it’s important to me that my collections inspire and empower others to be authentically themselves. Each of my collections have something special about them, but this one feels particularly personal because I’ve been able to put so much of my experience, knowledge, and skill from my past three collections into it, particularly through the designs, textiles, and colors, which all reflect my own personal style.

What can we expect from this collection?
The unisex pieces are a mixture of Tommy’s classic preppy style coupled with my own streetwear influences. We’ve used military colors and cuts, including cool blues, khakis, and neutral tones, with bright splashes of neon throughout. The capsule also celebrates the notion of “Style for All”—the belief that great style erases all boundaries in gender, age, ethnicity, and body type.

How did sustainability factor into the design process?
We used sustainable fabrics, including organic cotton, vegan leather alternatives, recycled denim, and plant-based materials, such as Sorona yarn, which uses less energy and emits less greenhouse gases. It was a no-brainer to include it in this collection. Also, each item has been made to withstand lower-impact washes, so they’re more sustainable to maintain. Some of my favorite pieces from the collection, including the sneakers, are made using vegan leather alternatives. Given my love of animals and choice to follow a plant-based diet, it was important to me to maintain the look, style, and comfort of my pieces, while also ensuring they were cruelty-free and sustainable. I’m so proud of this collection, and will continue to work toward my designs being 100 percent sustainable.

Lewis Hamilton (Courtesy)

What have you learned from Tommy and his design team?
Tommy has been a mentor of mine for years, and his design team is incredible to work with. They’ve taught me everything from how to express myself through my designs to creating mood boards, selecting and piecing together fabrics and colors, to the more technical side of things, including illustration and pattern drafting.

What’s it like when you see people wearing your looks?
It’s surreal! I still pinch myself when I see people wearing pieces from my collections. It’s humbling to see my designs brought to life and see how people choose to wear and individualize some of the designs to reflect their own personal style.

What’s new with your “other” job, aka being an accomplished Formula One driver?
Last year was an incredible year, and one I was really proud of. Winning my sixth championship was a dream come true. I have an incredible team around me at Mercedes, and I am so grateful for their support. I’ve had my head down in training, getting ready for the first race in Australia this March.

What do your Formula One peers think of your work with Tommy?
My teammates at Mercedes are so supportive of my collections with Tommy. They understand that chasing your passions off the track helps flourish your talents on the track.

Hilfiger and Hamilton pose with models in September 2018 (Courtesy)

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