Pratt Institute’s Board of Trustees conceived the Legends Awards in 1999 to honor icons within the worlds of art and design, whose accomplishments and values resonate with those of the school. The event is also a scholarship benefit for Pratt students, 80% of whom require financial aid to pursue their educations. Marc Jacobs, Julian Schnabel, Takashi Murakami and Bruce Weber are among past recipients.
In the 25th year of his brand, Tommy Hilfiger was one of the night’s honorees. He told us the best part of the night was reuniting with friends and supporters who believed in him since the very beginning, including his original backer Mohan Murjani, and George Lois, who created his first advertising campaign. “It’s kind of a fun, special night because I have a great group of people with me. It’s all about the people you surround yourself with.”
The night culminated in a performance by Johnny Cash’s daughter Rosanne Cash. Music has played a major part in Tommy’s branding lately. The Strokes performed at the designer’s fashion week bash and he recently launched a music-themed fragrance and and accompanying digital radio station called LOUD, on which he collaborated with the Ting Tings, who will headline a LOUD European tour.
When asked about what seemed like an increased focus on music, which some might see as a desperate attempt to appear hip, he explained, “I’ve been doing that for 40 years...My very first fashion show was a rock music fashion show and I started designing clothes for rock stars and sponsoring concerts and promoting concerts and using musicians in my advertising and marketing so it’s not a new thing for me; it’s just something I’ve continued to do.”
He also offered three pieces of advice for aspiring designers who might want to celebrate a 25th anniversary one day: “Listen to the customer, work in retail so you understand how clothes are sold, and never give up.”