The Americana trend has given Tommy Hilfiger’s denim arm the opportunity to make inroads across the UK.
Grabbing half an hour at Bread & Butter Barcelona to discuss Hilfiger Denim with Tommy Hilfiger UK managing director David Pyne is no mean feat. Hilfiger Denim’s impressive two-stand structure is packed with visitors wanting to get a first look at the spring 09 offer from a label that back in April reported a year-on-year UK sales rise of 22%.
“The UK has taken a while to conquer, but since we opened our London Regent Street store back in 2006 things have gone from strength to strength,” explains Pyne. “It is natural to take longer to evolve into local markets when you are a global brand, and originally we struggled to compete with traditionally UK-focused brands. But we’ve put a lot of effort into creating product catered towards this market, and we are now starting to see the results.”
The Tommy Hilfiger brand was set up 23 years ago and encompasses a number of collections, including sportswear, and even lingerie, as well as Hilfiger Denim, the current focus for Pyne and his UK sales director for denim Helen Oliver.
“Hilfiger Denim stands out because we are a US heritage jeanswear brand and we have that cool Americana look that is so desirable at the moment and which European brands are struggling to emulate,” explains Oliver.
“What we see as a unique identity is so important in the current climate,” adds Pyne. “Being a household name really helps us, as both our customers and the end consumer are taking less risks at the moment and want to stick with brands they know and trust. And we are working so hard to improve our product for the UK now so it is the perfect time for us to capitalise on that.”
That product evolution shows in the spring 09 collection. The distinctions between the three arms of Hilfiger Denim – red for core denim, white for design-led denim and blue for vintage-inspired – are more clear cut, while the rest of the product taps strongly into the season’s trends, with gingham shirts, dip-dye dresses and plenty of hot pink and yellow shades leading the way.
Hilfiger Denim now has 130 UK accounts, including department store chain House of Fraser and some of the country’s most prominent independents such as Accent in Leeds and Clockwork Orange in Northern Ireland.
“There is no pressure on us to open accounts for accounts sake. We want organic growth and to open accounts that we feel will upgrade our distribution,” explains Pyne.
Another element of that upgrading is the new dedicated Hilfiger Denim stores. The first opened on London’s Carnaby Street in October, and Pyne has plans for another four or five across the UK within the next two to three years. “The Carnaby Street store is a real landmark for us,” says Pyne. “Being within a stone’s throw of the likes of Replay, G-Star and Miss Sixty shows how serious a contender we are in the UK denim market now.”
Hilfiger Denim 020 7494 9300 www.hilfigerdenim.com
23%: Tommy Hilfiger’s year-on-year European sales growth
22%: Hilfiger Denim’s year-on-year UK sales growth
43%: The Regent Street store’s year-on-year sales growth
130: Number of Hilfiger Denim’s UK accounts