Before Russell Simmons, Diddy and other rappers became fashion conscious and began making their own clothes, hip-hop style in the 90’s was distinctly designer label friendly.

Iconic fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger saw the potential buying power of hip-hop culture early and recruited the era’s top acts to wear his signature line Hilfiger, including Usher, Snoop Dogg and the late Aaliyah.

Tommy Hilfiger ad featuring Aaliyah

Recently, the 61-year-old reflected on hip-hop’s long term impact on his lifestyle brand.

In his Bloomberg News interview, Hilfiger said rap’s influence was necessary for his business to expand, but ultimately he was following  a trend.

“Look, it fueled a lot of growth, but it took us away from our roots,” said Hilfiger. “When people ask me advice, I say stick to who you are. Stick to your guns. There is an image and attitude to most brands, and that’s really important. I like to stick to my heritage and not chase trends, and at that point we were chasing trends. Chasing trends was easy, but it was dangerous. It’s more important to me now to be consistent.”

Tommy Hilfiger ad featuring Usher

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