Risk, authenticity and understanding your consumer are the keys to innovation, says Avery Baker, chief brand officer of Tommy Hilfiger, on the latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast.
“When you’re trying to do something that really creates an impact and is somewhat revolutionary, then you’ve got to put all the chips on the table,” she explains to TheCurrent’s founder Liz Bacelar, at a live recording at Neuehouse in New York.
She was referring specifically to the brand’s Tommy Now runway experience, which first launched in February 2017 and most recently took place in Shanghai for Fall 2018. A tech-enabled interactive fashion event, she refers to it as “the right sweet spot in terms of being aspirational and accessible” for the Tommy brand.
Across the market, its set the benchmark in terms of what a digitally-enabled, see-now-buy-now runway experience could, and should, look like; arguably by putting both entertainment and commerce at its heart.
“From the beginning we didn’t think of it as a fashion show as we know fashion shows to be. We see this as a totally shoppable fashion ecosystem that at its heart is a media and content platform. It has a moment of theater, but it also has many layers in terms of engagement and shopability and experience and shareability. It is a multilayered platform,” Baker explains.
And importantly, that got big internal buy-in, catapulting the team behind the launch to make it happen: “What I found was that everyone was so excited about being part of something that was innovative, risk-taking, that was breaking the rules and writing our own story. There was a tremendous amount of excitement, rather than fear and pride to be a part of a program that was trying to be groundbreaking.”
That mentality of how to create experiential fashion show moments targeted to a Gen Z audience, is only a small manifestation of Tommy’s bigger ambitions towards innovation, however.
Beyond digitally-enabled retail experiences, the brand has also been investigating new ways to communicate with consumers through its evolving product – from smart clothing that rewards users per wear, through to speaking to a highly underserved audience through an adaptive line for people with disabilities.
During the live conversation, Baker also talks about how the brand has translated its American roots and values to a global audience, how it overcame the unexpected lull, and why magic and logic need to work together.