American Dreamer by Tommy Hilfiger
My Life in Fashion & Business

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Synopsis

In this tale of grit and glamour, setbacks and comebacks, business and pop culture icon Tommy Hilfiger shares his extraordinary life story for the first time.
 
Few designers have stayed on top of changing trends the way Tommy Hilfiger has. Fewer still have left such an indelible mark on global culture. Since designing his first collection of “classics with a twist” three decades ago, Tommy Hilfiger has been synonymous with all-American style—but his destiny wasn’t always so clear. Growing up one of nine children in a working-class family in Elmira, New York, Tommy suffered from dyslexia, flunked sophomore year of high school, and found himself constantly at odds with his father. Nevertheless, this self-described dreamer had a vision and the relentless will to make it a reality. At eighteen he opened his own clothing store, parlaying his uncanny instinct for style into a budding career as a fashion designer. Through decades of triumph and turmoil, Tommy remained doggedly optimistic. To this day, his approach to commerce is rooted in his positive view of the world.

American Dreamer brims with anecdotes that cover Tommy’s years as a club kid and scrappy entrepreneur in 1970s New York as well as unique insights into the exclusive A-list personalities with whom he’s collaborated and interacted, from Mick Jagger and David Bowie to Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. But this is more than just a fashion icon’s memoir—it’s a road map for building a brand, both professionally and personally. Tommy takes us behind the scenes of every decision—and every mistake—he’s ever made, offering advice on leadership, business, team-building, and creativity. 

This is the story of a true American original, told for the first time in his own words, with honesty, humor, and the insatiable appetite for life and style that proves that sometimes you have to dream big to make it big.
 
Advance praise for American Dreamer
 
“Tommy burst onto the fashion scene at the height of hip-hop and was instantly taken up by rappers and rockers alike. Since then, year after year he has been ahead of the curve with his elegant and stylish looks. His creative energy has always been an inspiration to me. He’s really himself in American Dreamer.”—Mick Jagger
 
“Whenever I think of Tommy Hilfiger, I think of a designer who has been able to wrap fashion in the American flag. In American Dreamer Tommy shows how he has taken the (rock) stars and the (preppy) stripes and come up with a look—and a label—that is recognized globally as being quintessentially American as well as being a brand that constantly keeps time with pop music.”—Anna Wintour
 
“Tommy is an inspiration to many people. American Dreamer shows how he has managed to be successful in business and to do so with integrity. I have come to know Tommy, and every time we talk I learn something new about creating a successful business.”—David Beckham 
 
“Tommy is one of the most genuine people I know! In American Dreamer you can feel his passion pour through everything he does: fashion, fatherhood, family, and friendship!”—Alicia Keys
 
“Tommy Hilfiger is an American icon who was able to transcend fashion and blend it with pop culture and take it to a worldwide audience. American Dreamer documents how, unlike any other designer, Tommy was able to tap into music, its subculture, and its influence on society, which propelled his fashion to be mainstream and global.”—Tommy Mottola
 

About Tommy Hilfiger

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TOMMY HILFIGER, 63, is known for classic, all-American style that melds pop culture and the preppy, East Coast lifestyle. Raised in Elmira, NY, the second of nine children, he opened a clothing store with $150 in 1969 while still in high school. Mr. Hilfiger launched his namesake fashion label in 1985, and the brand quickly expanded to include womenswear, Hilfiger Denim, kidswear, accessories, fragrance, and home, among other categories. In the 1990s, he was one of the first designers to blend fashion and celebrity, sponsoring tours for rock legends like The Rolling Stones and featuring musicians such as Lenny Kravitz, David Bowie and Beyoncé in his iconic advertising campaigns. In 2012, the Council of Fashion Designers of America honored him with the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Hilfiger is based in New York City and Greenwich, CT, and has five children and two step-children with his wife Dee.PETER KNOBLER has collaborated on several bestsellers, including Sumner Redstone’s A Passion to Win and James Carville and Mary Matalin’s All’s Fair. He has written with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NYC Mayor David Dinkins, and Gov. Ann Richards, among others. Knobler is the former editor-in-chief of Crawdaddy, “the first magazine to take rock & roll seriously.” He lives in New York City.
Author Residence: Hilfiger: Greenwich, CT; Knobler: New York, NY
Author Hometown: Hilfiger: Elmira, NY
 
Published November 1, 2016 by Ballantine Books. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
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