Hilfiger clothes became a hip-hop staple after Snoop Dogg's first big TV performance
The Hilfiger brothers have Snoop Dogg to thank for design boost.
Rapper Snoop Dogg gave the Hilfiger brothers a big, unlikely design boost when he grabbed a wardrobe full of their clothes as his career was taking off.
Tommy Hilfiger's brother Andy saw great potential in Dr. Dre's sidekick and invited him to visit the Hilfiger warehouse to try on some gear, but he had no idea how valuable the rapper's interest would become.
"I was at a Grammy party and I met Snoop Dogg, and he was just on Dr. Dre's album, he wasn't on his own (solo) yet," Andy Hilfiger said in a recent Talkhouse Music podcast with former The Ramones star Marky Ramone. "I invited him to the showroom, and he looked very cool. So the next day I go to work and there's a message from him 'cause I gave him my card.
"He called and said, 'I want some gear'. I said 'Yeah, yeah come up!' He came, I gave him some stuff, he went back to L.A. About a week later he called and said, 'I'm in New York again, I need some more clothes'. I said, 'Well, come on up!' And he said, 'I can't really, I'm doing Saturday Night Live rehearsals, can you come to my hotel tonight?' So I brought him some rugbys (shirts) with Tommy's name and everything.
"The next night, Saturday Night Live, Tommy called and said, 'Andy, turn on Saturday Night Live, and look at the guys. Snoop and these guys have my clothes on!' The next week the stores sold out and reordered."
Ever since, the Hilfigers have had an unlikely relationship with the top hip-hop acts.
"I dressed the Fugees, and I dressed Puffy (Sean 'Diddy' Combs), and all these guys," Andy adds. "I dressed the Wu-Tang (Clan). Then they started rapping about us in their songs, so it was this new kind of advertising, where it was grassroots. All of a sudden you'd hear this track and they'd be rapping about your brand - or you. And things just exploded from there.
"Then I started signing artists and creating a clothing line based on their aesthetic. I signed Jennifer Lopez in 2001, and today that's a $300 million-a-year brand."
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