the tommy factory: new age prep, nfts and roblox


art: amy dudek

After a three-year hiatus from New York Fashion Week, Tommy Hilfiger has returned to NYC to unveil his Fall 2022 Collection in an immersive runway experience unlike anything NYFW has seen before.

The collection fuses Hilfiger’s iconic prep styles with new silhouettes, breathing fresh air into the traditional American brand. In an interview with Haute Living, Hilfiger described the collection as a “collision of classic inspirations with modern twists to create new prep.” The radical collection places the brand on the radar of an entirely new demographic of consumers: streetwear enthusiasts. 

Hilfiger co-designed this collection with exuberant British designer Richard Quinn, known for his infatuation with latex and English flower prints. The campaign features a limited edition capsule collection uniting the two designers’ aesthetics to create subversive prep pieces adorned with vibrant floral prints. 

The brand also unveiled a new monogram designed by Fergus Purcell. Despite being unrecognizable to anyone outside of the “hypebeast” community, the designer and graphic artist has gained respect in the world of streetwear through his brand “Aries” and work on the Marc by Marc Jacobs collection. The monogram features a “T” closely placed on top of an “H” and, according to Hilfiger, was “inspired by our brand’s archives and given a streetwear twist.” 

With innovation at the forefront of the collection, Hilfiger created “The Tommy Factory”: a PHY-digital runway show inspired by Andy Warhol and his ability to unite different creative minds under one roof. Warhol’s NYC studio, which was coined “The Factory,” was a vivacious hangout spot for artists, musicians and celebrities in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. The versatility of The Factory’s attendees made it a hub for creative collaboration, uniting pop culture’s most prolific minds. Hilfiger frequented the studio during his brand’s early days, so he wanted to pay homage to his roots during his return to the runway. His highly collaborative, genre-binding collection perfectly embodies the spirit of Warhol’s studio and his love for bringing people together. 

The show took place on Sept. 11 at the Skyline Drive-In movie theater in Brooklyn, which as the name suggests has a picturesque view of the Manhattan skyline. The event was an interactive experience, providing guests with rooms to explore that embodied different elements of The Factory. The backstage area was covered in foil as a tribute to the most recognizable aspect of the famous space that featured silver foil-covered walls. Hilfiger even had his entire guest list ushered through the backstage area into the arena so they could be a part of the action, which is largely unheard of for a fashion show, as the backstage is notoriously secretive. 

The guest list was filled with A-listers, with the best seats in the house going to Kourtney Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Kate Moss, Shawn Mendes, Lady Bunny and Jane Forth. The model line-up was even more impressive with Ashley Graham, Julia Fox, Lila Moss, Winnie Harlow and even two original team members of Interview magazine, founded by Warhol. 

The show virtually took place on the online gaming forum Roblox. It was live-streamed to the platform’s 55 million users and featured Roblox models walking alongside real-life models. Unlike other elusive collections at NYFW, “The Tommy Factory” provides consumers with a “see now, buy now” viewing experience. Every look seen live at the show was ready to purchase on the Tommy Hilfiger official website. This form of multi-channel marketing is something that brands strive to achieve in today’s digital age. Seamless integration of digital platforms into physical experiences is a critical component in increasing consumer engagement. Hilfiger told Haute Living that this show achieves that by “blurring the lines between what is real in the physical world and what is fully constructed digitally.” 

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As the star-studded lineup took the stage, it poured rain, soaking the models and attendees. However, it didn’t take away from the magic of the show, rather it fit the theme of Warholic chaos perfectly. 

Delving into the “metaverse” even further, all 1,200 real-life attendees of “The Tommy Factory” were gifted with free NFTs, becoming the first NYFW event to do so. According to Globe News Wire, the image features “a moving image of Tommy Hilfiger taking a Polaroid in classic Warhol color-blocked style.” Guests were able to claim the NFT by tapping their phones on tagged stickers displayed on the walls of the show. The image was then added to their mobile wallets. 

To close the night of meticulously crafted chaos, Hilfiger appointed Travis Barker, former Blink-182 drummer and newest member of the Kar-Jenner clan, to perform. 

“The Tommy Factory” was a medley of everything that’s happened in fashion, culture and technology in the three years that Hilfiger has been off the runway. The show is a simultaneous expression of conformity but also rebellion. The brand wants to assimilate itself into the streetwear scene, which is like getting your belly button pierced before church camp for a prep style brand. So, hats off to Tommy Hilfiger for leaping out of his comfort zone and creating the most intriguing night of NYFW ‘22. 

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