ROMEO HUNTE IS LIGHTING UP SOHO FOR THE HOLIDAYS

ROMEO HUNTE IS LIGHTING UP SOHO FOR THE HOLIDAYS

In partnership with artist Shavanté Royster and Bombay Sapphire, Hunte's trio of window displays in NYC capture the post-pandemic holiday spirit.

TEXT: TRISHNA RIKHY

As New York City eases into a recovery from quarantine and isolation, SoHo is coming back to life—and Romeo Hunte is lighting it back up.

 

The esteemed NYC-based luxury streetwear designer (with a cult following and supporters including Zendaya, Michelle Obama and Beyoncé) is collaborating with visual artist Shavanté Royster this holiday season, celebrating the intersections of fashion, festivities and the creative pulse of the city with a series of window displays in lower Manhattan, where almost one third of small businesses have closed due to the pandemic.

“This was all about reimagining and bringing back Soho, really,” Hunte told V Magazine. On the first day of the Holiday Window Series, Hunte sips an original-recipe cocktail—made with Bombay Sapphire gin, ginger beer and cranberry juice, finished with a lime wedge—at AMA West Village and reflects on the holidays and his trio of Soho displays.

 

“Soho really went through a shutdown, and I was thinking, how could we make it bright? How can we celebrate and bring in the holiday? I thought this was something that was needed, and it’s also a way of getting people to look at the windows, to get outside and really kickstart the holidays.”

 

The Holiday Window Series is everything Romeo Hunte stands for: bold, dynamic, unique. Inspired by the city’s iconic 5th Avenue displays, The Holiday Window Series captures the magic of uptown and brings it downtown for the holidays, infusing the displays with the edgy and versatile energy of Hunte and Royster.

 

Working with Bombay Sapphire, the three window displays are scattered through Soho, repurposing empty storefronts with original artwork and designs, while models in the window—wearing two new exclusive holiday designs by Romeo Hunte, set to be donated to charity after the display ends, as well as looks from Hunte’s FW21 collection—look out through the glass at pedestrians and perform contemporary choreography in the midst of Royster’s eclectic, bright, winter-wonderland backdrop.

Live through December 19, the trio of window displays is a burst of much-needed energy in the city, a spirited, lively celebration of the holidays and the reawakening of Manhattan’s winter spirit, linking together independent creatives and shoppers downtown. 

 

“Family comes first [to me] for the holidays, and health, taking care of each other and checking in on your family and friends,” said Hunte. “But I think everyone really wants to see people and they want to get out of the house. They want to shop again, they want to be in the store and feel the experience of the holiday. I think this is a great collaboration for us to encourage people to feel life again, to give them a breath of fresh air, and of course, shine a light on Soho.”

 

Check out the Romeo Hunte x Shavanté Royster Holiday Window Series in collaboration with Bombay Sapphire at the locations below:

  • “NYC Dancer Window” at 25 Howard Street
  • “Romeo’s Fashion Window” featuring two exclusive Romeo Hunte holiday looks at 423 Broadway
  • “Shavanté’s Art Window” at 65 Spring Street
CREDITS: IMAGES BY HAGOP KALAIDJIAN
V MAGAZINE
 
十二月 20, 2021 — Romeo Hunte Staff
Romeo Hunte On His Greatest Inspiration: The Urban Dictionary

Romeo Hunte On His Greatest Inspiration: The Urban Dictionary

Romeo Hunte is a rising star in the fashion world. The Brooklyn-born designer has created his own wave in fashion, even before he became the protégé of Tommy Hilfiger.

Hunte has been changing the game with a mix of high fashion and streetwear, having stars like Zendaya, Beyoncé and former First Lady Michelle Obama wear his designs.

“Strong women inspire me so much,” said Hunte. “My mom is a single mother. I’ve been working with amazing women like Michelle Obama and Beyoncé, it’s about tailoring something polished and yet it is street, it has some sort of culture. I’m so adamant to push the culture forward.”

Just this past summer, he launched the Tommy x Romeo capsule collection as part of Hilfiger’s People’s Place Program, an initiative launched in 2020 to advance underrepresented BIPOC communities through fashion. “Tommy is not just a friend, but family,” said Hunte.

“He has given me so much feedback about work ethic and business. As they say, I’m his protégé. There’s so much more work we need to do. We’ve done something that has created history. It’s a real collaboration. We’ve started a new wave.”

As Hilfiger said in a recent interview: “I’ve been supportive of and worked with Romeo for over five years, and I see a lot of my younger self in him. I want to nurture his incredible talent in a way that gives back to an industry that has given me so much.”

More recently, Hunte and visual artist Shavanté Royster unveiled the first ever Bombay Sapphire holiday window displays in New York City, where models (a collaboration with New York City dancer Nicole Von Arx) wore Hunte’s winter apparel, while Royster’s designs provided the backdrop. The windows are up until December 19.

Despite the ecommerce boom for luxury retail we saw during lockdown, this is one example of how there’s a revival of in-person shopping. “It encourages people to feel life again,” said Hunte. “It’s about being optimistic, thinking outside the box. People want the real-life experience again in stores.”

Ever since he launched his brand in 2014, Hunte has been carving out his brand, which fuses together high art and accessibility. He’s currently working on his fall/winter 2022 collection. “The game has changed a lot,” he says. “We’re in a new era.”

Hunte, who was born and raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn, started out designing womenswear, but quickly noticed men were attracted to the pieces, as he used men’s fabrics in several cases. So, it was easy to organically shift and build a men’s collection.

“I think everyone is looking to me for a message, I think they want more,” he says. “Graffiti, tagging, street slang. I believe in the urban dictionary; street culture is really about self-expression.”

He recently wore a sheer, black veil at the British Fashion Awards celebrating Tommy Hilfiger for his Outstanding Achievement Awards, which garnered buzz.

“I wanted to represent Brooklyn so I wore a Yankee baseball cap, and attached to the bill of the cap was a floor-length veil,” explains Hunte.

The veil was embroidered with several phrases. “It had ‘Pop out,’ which, to me, means be yourself, express yourself, and ‘What’s good,’ which is always a terminology I believe in, its like ‘how are you doing,’” he said.

The veil paid homage to Brooklyn, which the designer says “went through so many eras.”

He’s talking about the 1990s. “One era I appreciate is the hood era, with Biggie Smalls, Lil Kim and Foxy Brown; they spoke to me at a young age about how they styled themselves,” said Hunte. “It’s about creating a narrative, my own way, with my own language of clothing, breaking barriers and starting a new wave—what is formal? What is black tie?”

He recalls a memorable moment from attending this year’s Met Gala, as well. “The first person who came up to me at the Met Gala and said they loved my look was Anna Wintour,” he recalls. “Once I got that compliment, I thought ‘I’m set. What’s good?’”

Recently, Kevin Hart wore one of Hunte’s pieces in his Netflix show True Story.

“So many people can relate to it,” notes Hunte. “I’m not trying to follow anyone’s path, I’m not one of those designers who is copying and pasting everything that’s going on, I really want to create my own wave.”

FORBES

 

十二月 19, 2021 — Romeo Hunte Staff
Tags: Bombay Forbes
Tommy Hilfiger Teams Up With Romeo Hunte On An Outrageously Cool Capsule

Tommy Hilfiger Teams Up With Romeo Hunte On An Outrageously Cool Capsule

“I saw a lot in Romeo that reminded me of myself when I began my career,” says the legendary designer Tommy Hilfiger of his longtime mentee, the Brooklyn-born designer Romeo Hunte. “His dedication and work ethic are nothing short of impressive.” It comes as no surprise, then, that the pair has released a capsule collection together, marrying both their signature aesthetics. The edit comprises a seasonless array of non-gender specific separates inspired by the Tommy Hilfiger archives, but remixed with modern streetwear and Hunte’s trademark deconstructed design techniques. Hero styles include hybrid, mixed-media outerwear in contrasting fabrics. The classic Tommy stripe, meanwhile, is reworked in bold primary colours referencing the NYC Subway map. “It’s Manhattan prep meets Brooklyn street,” says Hunte. “I’m really proud of what we’ve done – it’s truly a meeting point of our two worlds,” adds Hilfiger.
Ahead of the collection launch on 12 August, British Vogue caught up with the designers to talk about their unique bond, what their collaborative process looked like and why it’s crucial to support the diverse talents of today.

Tommy Hilfiger: “A mutual friend introduced us five years ago. I love that Romeo started with
nothing, but had ambition and a goal, as well as immense talent.”

Romeo Hunte: “One thing I truly admire about Tommy is that he never gave up, no matter what obstacles came his way.”
What core values do you share?

TH: “Hard work is a big part of it. Perseverance and drive are two important aspects of how I
became successful as a brand, as well as how Romeo is becoming successful himself.”
RH: “I had to make my own way into the fashion industry, but I always believed in myself. That’s something me and Tommy have in common.”
Tell us about the capsule collection and its inspirations.

RH: “It was about taking iconic Tommy pieces from the archive and turning them into something new, but still classic and functional.”

TH: “It’s a combination of both the heritage of my brand and Romeo’s Brooklyn style put together. A lot of the pieces are versatile and can be worn in different ways.”
What did the collaborative process between you look like for this collection?
RH: “We came together and started with an archive walkthrough, which made me reflect back
to when I was in high school and what Tommy Hilfiger meant to me then. We also looked at
silhouettes in the prints.”

What are some of the standout pieces that we’d want to buy?

RH: “The trench coat was about taking the original Tommy trench and making it more extreme. Then, the biker jacket was a hybrid of Tommy’s biker and trench; it’s a classic fit but totally modern. The double shorts are a reference to growing up in Brooklyn where it was all about baggy jeans and showing your Tommy underwear. Lastly, the vibrant orange stood out to me from the archive, so we made a unisex vest with detachable compartments that turn into separate bags. You really get the most for your money.”
Why do you feel it’s important to support diverse talents?

TH: “I’ve always looked at diversity and inclusion as part of the fabric of how I live my life and how I ran my businesses over the years. For a lot of companies now, it’s a new thing, but for us it’s just part of who we are and who we’ve always been.”

RH: “Fashion should be for everyone. With this collection, we wanted to give opportunities for a wide range of young creatives to have a seat at the table.”
What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?

RH: “Incorporate who you are and where you come from in everything you do, but also stand for something individual. It’s about pushing forward, so don’t stop and never give up.”
十月 25, 2021 — Donald Charles
Romeo Hunte Digs Into Tommy Hilfiger Archives for New Capsule Collection

Romeo Hunte Digs Into Tommy Hilfiger Archives for New Capsule Collection

While the clothing creates a sartorial foundation for their work together, Hunte and
Hilfiger are steadfast in practicing what they preach. For Hilfiger, a shining example of
that is his People’s Place Program, an initiative launched in 2020 with the mission of
advancing underrepresented BIPOC communities throughout the fashion and creative
industries, both in front of and behind the camera. “That is what the People’s Place
Program is all about. In 1969, when I was 18 years old, I opened my first store called
People’s Place. It was literally fashion for the people,” says Hilfiger. “And ever since, I’ve
always lived by the mantra of being diverse and inclusive for over 50 years.”
Together, the pair chose a diverse cast and crew for the collection’s campaign — from
the models who wore the clothes, to the hair and makeup artists who worked on set.
“I wanted to be able to loan those assets to talented people who don’t always have
equal opportunities. Growing up, people helped me along the way because I really did
start with $150,” says Hilfiger. The result is a hard hitting series of images that capture
the essence of the new age fashion zeitgeist. Shot in London by Ronan Mckenzie, the
campaign visuals feature models Ikram Abdi Omar, Aaliyah Hydes, Hidetatsu Takeuchi
and Babacar N’Doye, styled by Nathan Klein. Rounding out the launch, six one-off
upcycled TommyXRomeo polos will be auctioned off via the online auction site Catawiki,
with all proceeds donated to the Fashion Minority Alliance.

Unrelenting in their pursuits, Hilfiger and Hunte, with the help of the People’s Place
Program, took this creative approach to the streets — literally. The duo commissioned
two local artists in New York City and London to reinterpret the visuals behind the
TommyXRomeo campaign and the community it serves, via vibrant wall art in key city
spots in the week prior to the collection launch. Painter and pattern maker, Uzo Njoku,
created a mural in her unique artistic style right on Nassau Avenue and Banker Street
in Brooklyn, while the London streets have been graced by fine artist Annan Affotey,
who showcased his artistic talent with a mural at 112 Tabernacle Street. The murals will
remain on location through the end of the month, and have QR codes that appear with
bonus video content, including BTS footage of the making of each mural and intimate
interviews with the artists.


Romeo Hunte has never been one to doubt his instincts. At a young age, the Brooklyn-
raised designer turned down two full athletic scholarships in track and field to attend
the Fashion Institute of Technology. This decision led him on a path to creating his
namesake brand, executing on a singular approach to fashion that caught the eye of
the inimitable Tommy Hilfiger. Taking on the role of Hunte’s mentor, Hilfiger helped
the young designer hone in not just his artistic vision, but also his proclivity to break
conventions and celebrate individuality. “I’ve been supportive of and worked with
Romeo for over five years, and I see a lot of my younger self in him,” says Hilfiger. “I want
to nurture his incredible talent in a way that gives back to an industry that has given me
so much.” Hilfiger found the perfect opportunity for this relationship to come full circle
with the unveiling of the TommyXRomeo Fall 21 capsule collection, for which Hunte lived
out every fashion enthusiast’s dream: He dove into Tommy Hilfiger’s archives, pulling
references that cross multiple decades and reimagined the iconic designs through his
own, modern lens.
The coming together of these two American designers goes far beyond clothing. It
represents their shared desire to forge their own paths, not in a self-serving way, but as a
means of creating opportunity for others. Reminiscing on the earlier days of his brand, it
becomes clear that Hilfiger has a knack for identifying new talent. “At that time, Run DMC,
The Sugarhill Gang, Grand Puba, pioneers of hip-hop were wearing the brand,” says
Hilfiger. “And then this new guy comes from Harlem to my downtown showroom and
my brother, Andy, introduces me and says, ‘Hey Tommy, this is Puff Daddy [P. Diddy]. He
wants to start his own brand called Sean John.’” He brought Diddy into the design studio
to mentor him and show him the nitty gritty and not-so-glamorous details of building a
clothing brand. “And now that I’m mentoring Romeo, it’s very similar in a way.” It’s also
indicative of the potentially meteoric rise in Hunte’s future.

In the spirit of creating something nostalgic yet of-the-moment, every detail is intentional,
from the way each piece is reimagined clashing Tommy Hilfiger’s house codes with
Hunte’s signature techniques, to the cast and crew who brought the corresponding
campaign to life. Each element of the collection is an expression of Hilfiger and Hunte’s
belief that fashion isn’t just vanity, and we have the ability to inject meaning into what we
wear. This starts with Hunte’s six-box logo which blends with Hilfiger’s timeless silhouettes
throughout the series. “The six boxes symbolize the six core pillars of my brand, namely
genderless, sustainability, mixer (mixing media + silhouettes), transformative, stamp
(print + details) and heritage,” says Hunte. “Going through Tommy’s archive brought back
so many memories of the ’90s and I wanted to take elements of that and what it meant to
me. Everything from picture day at school — the day you gotta get fly, you gotta get fresh,
you gotta pull up — and how can I take something from the past, recreate it and have an
impact.”
While the clothing creates a sartorial foundation for their work together, Hunte and
Hilfiger are steadfast in practicing what they preach. For Hilfiger, a shining example of
that is his People’s Place Program, an initiative launched in 2020 with the mission of
advancing underrepresented BIPOC communities throughout the fashion and creative
industries, both in front of and behind the camera. “That is what the People’s Place
Program is all about. In 1969, when I was 18 years old, I opened my first store called
People’s Place. It was literally fashion for the people,” says Hilfiger. “And ever since, I’ve
always lived by the mantra of being diverse and inclusive for over 50 years.”
Together, the pair chose a diverse cast and crew for the collection’s campaign — from
the models who wore the clothes, to the hair and makeup artists who worked on set.
“I wanted to be able to loan those assets to talented people who don’t always have
equal opportunities. Growing up, people helped me along the way because I really did
start with $150,” says Hilfiger. The result is a hard hitting series of images that capture
the essence of the new age fashion zeitgeist. Shot in London by Ronan Mckenzie, the
campaign visuals feature models Ikram Abdi Omar, Aaliyah Hydes, Hidetatsu Takeuchi
and Babacar N’Doye, styled by Nathan Klein. Rounding out the launch, six one-off
upcycled TommyXRomeo polos will be auctioned off via the online auction site Catawiki,
with all proceeds donated to the Fashion Minority Alliance.

Unrelenting in their pursuits, Hilfiger and Hunte, with the help of the People’s Place
Program, took this creative approach to the streets — literally. The duo commissioned
two local artists in New York City and London to reinterpret the visuals behind the
TommyXRomeo campaign and the community it serves, via vibrant wall art in key city
spots in the week prior to the collection launch. Painter and pattern maker, Uzo Njoku,
created a mural in her unique artistic style right on Nassau Avenue and Banker Street
in Brooklyn, while the London streets have been graced by fine artist Annan Affotey,
who showcased his artistic talent with a mural at 112 Tabernacle Street. The murals will
remain on location through the end of the month, and have QR codes that appear with
bonus video content, including BTS footage of the making of each mural and intimate
interviews with the artists.

The TommyXRomeo collection is proof that Hunte’s instincts are as sharp — if not sharper
— as the day he chose his path in fashion. More impressively, by staying the course he
and Tommy have created a ripple effect in the industry, uplifting the work of some of
fashion’s most deserving creatives. “Fashion reaches into everyone’s lives; from the
clothes they wear everyday to the people they follow and admire,” says Hunte. “Inclusivity
isn’t just about representation, it’s about amplifying voices and actively embracing
everyone at all levels of the industry. It’s about inspiring designers to know that if you
come from Brooklyn, you could create something that’s very Brooklyn and still sit in a
luxury market. That’s what our movement is, and that’s what we believe in.”
十月 25, 2021 — Donald Charles
Romeo Hunte and Tommy Hilfiger on Brooklyn, Inspiration, and Teamwork

Romeo Hunte and Tommy Hilfiger on Brooklyn, Inspiration, and Teamwork

Barely a year after founding his namesake label in 2013, Romeo Hunte saw some of Hollywood’s mononymous queens of fashion wearing his clothes in quick succession: first Zendaya, then Beyoncé. The New York-based designer’s aesthetic is instantly recognizable: collaged outerwear that mixes the ease of sportswear with luxe tailoring. Not surprisingly, when Tommy Hilfiger met the young designer in the early stages of his career, he immediately felt a kinship and soon became his mentor. This fall, they officially joining forces with the release of the TommyXRomeo capsule, the result of Hilfiger opening up his archives and giving Hunte carte blanche to remix some of the American label’s most iconic pieces: the trench coat, the biker jacket, and the oxford shirt. The result is a bold, gender-fluid collection that reimagines these staples and imbues them with Hunte’s unique in-your-face sensibility.

                         

INTERVIEW: Tommy, what is it about Romeo that sets him apart? What first attracted you to hiswork?

TOMMY HILFIGER: I see a lot of myself in Romeo. He has a lot of drive and he’s very creative, but he also has a business mind that’s always thinking about what he could do next from a marketing standpoint, what he could do next in terms of production, or how to get the most out of his budgets for his fashion shows. Romeo, what year did we meet?

ROMEO HUNTE: Carly-Ann Fergus introduced us eight or nine years ago. I remember that
moment being the first time I interacted with you. You were like, “Who made this?” And I was like, “This is our buffalo-check poncho. Tommy, you have to see my stuff.” That’s how it started.
HILFIGER: Carly was just graduating from Parsons, and she was doing a lot of different work with different designers, and she said, “You have to meet Romeo Hunte.”

                       

HILFIGER: There were times when you were thinking about giving up, because when you’re
starting out, you run into all sorts of obstacles. I think your drive and passion for the business has kept you on track. It’s not always easy, and I think I’ve been helpful in being a positive mentor on the side, keeping your eyes on that north star.

HUNTE: You told me to dream big and that’s what I always do. Sometimes it’s like, “Is it the
right time? Is it the right decision for the brand?” But it always turns out great. There are times I think back on where it was down to, like, two weeks before the show, and you would say, “Pull it together.” I was like, “I don’t know if I can do it,” and your advice was to keep pushing through.
HILFIGER: When I advise you on something, you take it to heart and really implement it in
your work. Basically, just a few words of direction or advice and you pick up on it immediately, and make it even better than what I had envisioned it to be. That’s what our collaboration was all about. You take something that I think is going to be good, and you make it great. Our collaboration, where you took my existing product and redesigned it your way by taking fabrics and materials from your inspiration and fusing them with a lot of my basics, was very cool.
HUNTE: Thinking back to the very first time we collaborated, I was working on my Fall 2020
collection, and I remember calling you and saying, “Hey, I got this idea.” I was inspired by the
notion of giving existing pieces new life. I wanted to integrate archival looks and fabrics that you used over the years into my own brand. You gave me the freedom to go into the Tommy Hilfiger archives and have fun. We looked to incorporate 12 vintage pieces into the Fall 2020 collection, reinventing and upcycling them into something entirely new, merging the narratives of both brands. You definitely taught me how the industry connects and how everyone works together, and that it’s all about building relationships and connecting with people. That’s always stuck with me, especially as a designer who started out with no resources.

HILFIGER: I’m happy to help. Our People’s Place Program opens the door for underrepresented communities, it embraces talent that hasn’t always had equal opportunities. And the opportunities have a lot to do with introducing them to other people in the industry.
INTERVIEW: The slogan for the forthcoming capsule collection is “Manhattan Prep Meets
Brooklyn Street.” Why these two locations and aesthetics?

HUNTE: I was raised in Brooklyn, so a lot of the street style, especially from the ’90s, is compatible with the ethos of Romeo Hunte and the DNA of the brand. It was really important to me to take those elements and mash them together with a lot of the components that I discovered going through the Tommy Hilfiger archives. I wanted to focus on a lot of the design elements and detail, and mix them with that cool Brooklyn street swag. When it comes to Manhattan, it’s preppy; something that’s tailored and changing the narrative of what streetwear is. When I first started my collection, I shied away from being called an “urban designer,” and Tommy always told me to embrace it and own it.

HILFIGER: My hometown [Elmira, New York] has always inspired me. I worked in a sporting goods shop when I was 13 or 14 years old, just folding football shirts, basketball jerseys, and warm-ups, so I kept thinking, “Someday I’m going to work with these clothes.” I’ve always been inspired by Americana, whether it’s American clothes for the outdoors— hunting, fishing, hiking—or whether it’s preppy Americana. I want to put it all into a blender.

              

INTERVIEW: You both have eponymous brands. Why did you decide to name your labels after
yourselves?

HUNTE: I feel like my name could be romantic, but it’s still humble. My grandfather was from
Barbados, and he was a bodybuilder but also played many different instruments and even played at Carnegie Hall, so it was all about carrying the torch.

HILFIGER: My first financial backer said, “We should call the brand Tommy Hilfiger,” and I said, “I’m not so sure people can pronounce it.” He said, “Do you really think people know how to pronounce Yves Saint Laurent?” But how many times have I told you, Romeo, that Romeo Hunte is a great name. It’s a name that will go down in history.

十月 25, 2021 — Donald Charles
The Debut of Tommy X Romeo

The Debut of Tommy X Romeo

For fall’s most exciting sartorial fusion of fashion legacy and future, Tommy Hilfiger
merges his Manhattanite sophistication with rising designer, Romeo Hunte’s
Brooklyn edge for Tommy X Romeo—the latest pioneering project of Hilfiger’s
People’s Place Program. In its mission of bringing diversity to fashion, the American heritage brand and style arbiter reimagines the most iconic pieces of Tommy’s 36-year history. “Together, we’ve really focused on passing the mic to the next generation of BIPOC creatives and thought leaders to increase representation and amplify their talent globally,” says Hilfiger.

Drawing on the esteemed Tommy Hilfiger archives, the capsule brings the Big Apple alive through innovative design. Hunte, a longtime mentee of Hilfiger, plays with proportions of preppy button-downs and classic trench coats, remixing the iconic Hilfiger Ithaca stripe in the colors of the New York City metro. The result is a brand-new vision for American style.

十月 25, 2021 — Donald Charles
Tommy Hilfiger Strikes Key Partnerships to Advance Underrepresented Communities in Fashion

Tommy Hilfiger Strikes Key Partnerships to Advance Underrepresented Communities in Fashion

Tommy Hilfiger has established several partnerships with its People’s Place Program to champion Black, Indigenous and people of color in fashion.
“The People’s Place Program is a cornerstone in our efforts to open the door to everyone who has been left out by fashion,” said Tommy Hilfiger, principal designer at Tommy Hilfiger Global. “This welcoming spirit has always been at the heart of our brand, and we are here to do more and to do better.”
The People’s Place Program was launched last July to amplify the company’s efforts and dedication of resources to increasing opportunities and visibility for underrepresented communities within the fashion and apparel industries around the world. The platform has three pillars: Partnership & Representation, Career Support & Industry Access and Industry Leadership.
 The first round of partnerships includes The Fashion and Race Database, which is an online platform that expands the narrative of fashion history and challenges misrepresentation within the fashion system. It was created by Kim Jenkins, assistant professor fashion studies at Ryerson University. The database is an educational resource that focuses on people who previously had been hidden in the margins of fashion history.
The People’s Place Program will partner with FRD to fund and support a research study called “The Unsung History of American Sportswear” to uncover overlooked influences from Black American culture on signature Tommy Hilfiger styles. Throughout this year, the research will be developed into content series and educational resources that will be available internally, and to industry peers and consumers.
 
“The Fashion and Race Database is thrilled to partner with an American company like Tommy Hilfiger and its namesake brand, a vibrant piece of fashion history,” said Jenkins. “As a professor and founder of the database, it has been my mission to urge brand owners to embrace what fashion education has to offer the industry. Tommy Hilfiger understands and respects the power of this learning, and is leading the charge, showing its peers what is possible in building a more intelligent and compassionate fashion system.”
The research will include an examination of American sportswear through a study of denim, the cotton trade, origins of preppy style at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the sartorial expression of social activist moments, streetwear culture, and additional categories that will emerge through FRD’s research.
A second partnership will be with Harlem’s Fashion Row, the New York-based agency founded by Brandice Daniel in 2007 to champion the advancement of people of color in the fashion industry.
Tommy Hilfiger will be a supporting sponsor for Harlem’s Fashion Row’s 3rd Annual Digital Fashion Summit that takes place Feb. 18. Hilfiger will join Daniel and Randy Cousin, senior vice president, product concepts and People’s Place Program, to discuss how Hilfiger is working toward creating more access and opportunities for Black, Indigenous and people of color in the fashion industry.
Hilfiger will also partner with Harlem’s Fashion Row to identify ways for emerging talent to receive mentorship and network with internal teams as well as industry insiders.
“We are delighted to partner with Tommy Hilfiger on the Annual Digital Fashion Summit to highlight solutions and practices for diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry,” said Harlem’s Fashion Row chief executive officer Daniel. “With our collaborative effort, we aim to address and implement change. Addressing the concerns takes a long-term commitment and we acknowledge the steps that Tommy Hilfiger is taking, and we are elated about their upcoming plans to provide opportunities for designers of color.”
The company’s Tommy Hilfiger and Tommy Jeans spring campaigns feature a diverse cast of social, cultural and creative influencers, including activists, musicians, poets, dancers and filmmakers. This month, Black talent, including musician and producer Saba, and the horse riding and mentorship collective Compton Cowboys will take over the brand’s social media channels to highlight significant moments in Black American history and recognize people and culture that inspire them every day.
Over the summer, Hilfiger will launch collaborative capsule collections with actor, model and activist Indya Moore, and fashion designer Romeo Hunte, whom Hilfiger has mentored for a long time.
“We are determined to continue putting real action behind our words,” said Avery Baker, president and chief brand officer of Tommy Hilfiger. “Equity and inclusion cannot be achieved through short-term recognition; we have to bring them to the forefront every day."
二月 11, 2021 — Nikita Singh
How Romeo Hunte Is Quietly Redefining What It Means to Be an American Brand

How Romeo Hunte Is Quietly Redefining What It Means to Be an American Brand

二月 11, 2021 — Nikita Singh
THREE MINUTES, THREE QUESTIONS: ROMEO HUNTE

THREE MINUTES, THREE QUESTIONS: ROMEO HUNTE

 Romeo Hunte’s fashion designs exude his strong point of view and showcase his ambition to build a luxury house.

 

What was your inspiration for becoming a fashion designer?

It all started in my childhood…. I was an athlete who excelled in basketball and track and field. I was great at it, but I knew around the age of 13 that I had to do something bigger to take care of my family.  My mother was an inspiration, and although she was a single mother…how she carried herself and engineered her personal style, personified strength…it was pure motivation. I wasn’t familiar with garment construction or illustration, but I did attend classes to refine my knowledge. I forged everything in my radius to cultivate my designs; from school, to the streets, to music [hip-hop was a great imprint], and I knew I wanted to do this! I collected and studied fashion magazines and took advantage of my internships. Working as a personal shopper in a luxury environment, afforded me the opportunity to experience both sides of fashion; business and consumer. I became an invigilator to what clients would have their eyes on and pick at, and it was very apparent that timeless, classic, wearable pieces are what they loved. I had a clear-cut vision for myself as a designer and how I wanted my designs interpreted. From there, I created a collection.

 

What were/are your greatest challenges to date as an emerging designer?

My challenges have been good, but the industry is not as pretty as it seems from the outside. I thought once I delivered a great collection that was me, unique and of good quality… it would just take off. I did trunk shows very early in my career, which allowed me to acquire some of the best celebrity clientele from Beyoncé to Michelle Obama. I didn’t think I would start a men’s collection so early, but the demand was there. I used menswear fabrics in my women’s collections – and the men took notice and would support my pop-ups and shows. Soon after came the great athlete’s. They would request a women’s jacket for themselves, so I originated bespoke/custom design and created a menswear line. In introspect, I wanted to make my line gender-fluid and focus primarily on luxury outerwear as the outerwear has always had the strongest point of view. I owe homage to my mentor Tommy Hilfiger for giving me the word to make that my focus.

 

What words of wisdom or advice would you give to an emerging designer like yourself, that’s wants to be successful in the fashion industry?

To learn the business of fashion FIRST, and do not have high expectations until you are experienced. Today’s designer is not just a creative mind. The knowledge of marketing, public relations, branding, and strategy is very essential. Learn how to capitalize from your growth and be perseverant.

CFDA

二月 11, 2021 — Nikita Singh
Romeo Hunte Has Been Called A “Disruptor” — Now The Designer Is Owning It

Romeo Hunte Has Been Called A “Disruptor” — Now The Designer Is Owning It

 
Designer Romeo Hunte is no stranger to devoted fans. Since launching his impossibly cool namesake label in 2014, his clothing has appeared on celebrities like Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, Laverne Cox, and TessaRomeo Hunte is no stranger to devoted fans. Since launching his impossibly cool namesake label in 2014, his clothing has appeared on celebrities like Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, Laverne Cox, and Tessa Thompson and athletes like Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul. Most recently, Zendaya wore Romeo Hunte’s Boxy suit for her InStyle cover story, for which the Euphoria star’s stylist Law Roach pulled all-Black designers.
In July, a week after the RH office has re-opened, Hunte tells me that being in lockdown during the pandemic has given him time to reflect. Despite having had to edit back and hold off on some new drops as a result of stay-at-home orders, the brand has continued to be there for its customers, in part by pivoting to manufacturing masks. “The reviews were just like, ‘Oh, thank you so much. This brightened up my day,’" he says. 
As factories and warehouses closed due to the lockdown, a lot of brands have had to slow down and get creative. Some have had to turn to upcycling old fabrics and pieces for the new collections. Part of it has to do with the fact that they didn’t have access to new fabrics with the closures; another has to do with sustainability — an issue that has been brought to the forefront as a result of the pandemic. Romeo Hunte was ahead of this. In February, he unveiled his Fall/Winter 2020 collection that incorporated archival looks from Tommy Hilfiger. (While the production has since been delayed due to the pandemic, Hunte will be working on making it available by pre-order later this year.) “I'm really excited about this partnership,” he says. “Tommy has been an amazing mentor and like a godfather to me, and just to be the first designer, and the first Black designer also, to work and take his archives and upcycle a lot of the pieces and taking his brand identity and mixing it with mine…” he says.
The partnership came about organically for Hunte who has always been a master of deconstructing classic silhouettes into unexpected, high-fashion creations. “I used to take a lot of my mother's vintage pieces, I got in trouble a lot for that, but I'd take a lot of her pieces and upcycle it. I'd take it apart, deconstruct it, put it back together,” he says. “When I first started the brand, that was not my thing. I was like, ‘Okay, I did that when I was home bored.’ But over the seasons, it's so crazy how fashion really is, it just connects. It definitely connects with your culture automatically and with your past and your experiences, even when you don't really want to express those things.”
When it came to the collaboration, Hunte says he was inspired by the idea of giving existing pieces new life. “I was like, ‘Tommy, I really don't want to do something new. Let's see how we can go into your archives and build these amazing silhouettes and new styles for the show that is very exclusive and, at the same time, find a way to celebrate sustainability in a great big way,’” he says. “I think it's very essential that all brands find a way to be sustainable in some way and shape."
This idea of reinvention has long been part of Romeo Hunte’s DNA, whether it’s taking a trench coat and turning it into a dress by removing sleeves or adding bold elements, like neon piping, to turn an otherwise-classic staple into a can’t-miss style. For his latest collection, which combined business casual wear and sportswear, he sent out blazer-hoodie and denim-and-leather jacket-coat hybrids that appeared, in true Hunte form, simultaneously statement-making and wearable.
While the last few months have brought some downs for the fashion industry, Hunte is hopeful for the future. “A lot of business plans are changing right now. It is definitely a time to be very strategic; but at the same time, be very optimistic and open-minded.” Personally, Hunte says he will continue to “think outside the box” and do “things that I really want to do.” He adds, “I feel like I've been called a disruptor, and now I'm owning it. Like, I feel like I did come in, and I didn't want to play games. I really got straight to the business. And I found a way to structure my business without [financial] backing and a small team.”
This has proven to be successful for Hunte, who, over the years, developed a loyal customer base, as well as industry acclaim. “I just always had to believe in myself and push forward, and I knew that I could do it,” Hunte says. “It’s a dream come true to dress the former First Lady Michelle Obama and Beyoncé.” It wasn’t without its challenges, though. For one, when Hunte was attending the Fashion Institute of Technology (in which he enrolled after turning down two full athletic scholarships), there were not many Black designers that were doing what he wanted to. “There was only, like, Tracy Reese that was on the [fashion] calendar,” Hunte says. “Tracy Reese is an amazing, beautiful designer of beautiful dresses, but I'm not really a dressmaker. So it was hard for me to relate. But it was very inspiring to see.” 
Breaking into the fashion industry proved even harder. “I've been told a lot, ‘It takes time.’ And I'm like, ‘Well, if it takes time, I don't really see that with other designers that are not Black.’ I've seen designers start their first year, their companies skyrocket, and they're all over the internet. They're all over the publications.” He tells me of his first big show, a moment that should have been a celebration of his hard work and talent. “Right before the show started, it was chaos backstage, we are all trying to start on time, open the doors,” he says, recalling a conversation he overheard between two people working the event. My show got called ghetto until the doors opened and the models were all dressed, and then the same people who called it ghetto was like, ‘Oh my god, it was so many good, important, amazing people [watching the show], so much support in the industry.’”
This is hardly an isolated incident for designers of color in an industry that favors whiteness and tries to disregard talent even when it’s right in front of their eyes. “You have to prepare yourself. The industry's not easy, period. I just feel like, as a Black designer, my experience is that I feel like I have to work double, triple harder to even still be here,” he says. “Your work gets overlooked.” With that in mind, Hunte, as someone who has built a strong business and client base, hopes he can inspire young designers to keep following their dreams. “I try and utilize my platform to inspire other designers, to motivate them, like, ‘You can do this, too,’” he says.
While the pandemic has been hard enough on independent designers like Hunte, the news of George Floyd, a Black man, being killed at the hands of the police, added a new layer. “It was a lot mentally to take,” says Hunte. "It was just really hard for us to get back to work, it was so much weight. We already were going through a lot, keeping each other strong, and then for that to happen and more heavy weight to take on moving forward with the brand…” 
Following the racial justice protests, fashion — that has long overlooked Black creatives and kept them out of boardrooms — is going through a reckoning, with many calling on the industry to do better in supporting Black creatives. “I think what young designers want is to be included in the stories and have a seat at the table; their work to be compared to the bigger houses, and not just compared but in mind with the bigger houses for trends, and their drops and collaborations to be acknowledged and to be published. That's what really helps a business,” Hunte says. “I just think it has a lot to do with your presence: How much are you celebrated? How much are you acknowledged? Where do you sit?”
At the time of the interview, Hunte is unsure of his plans for NYFW or the future. “I feel like everyone loves the show and the energy of the models walking. You don't know what's coming out, what's going to walk out next kind of thing,” he says. “At the same time, I don't know if my client is looking forward to it and that it will make them feel like, ‘I want to get up and wear a Romeo Hunte look and feel fabulous again.’ Or is it, ‘I need to pay the rent and the bills and keep lights on’? I don't know. We don't know. We're taking it day by day.”
That uncertainty doesn’t faze him: “The team, we've been strong. We went through wars, but this is one where we're prepared, and we're going to go hard for this show, and for the next season, too.” All to say: We’ve seen nothing yet.
二月 11, 2021 — Nikita Singh
An Interview With Designer Romeo Hunte Who Dresses Beyoncé and Zendaya

An Interview With Designer Romeo Hunte Who Dresses Beyoncé and Zendaya

He is well on his way to becoming a household name.
Not many people would turn down a scholarship to college for track and field. Fewer would do so in order to attend fashion school. But for Romeo Hunte, forgoing his full rides to both Long Island University and St. Francis College to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology was a relatively easy decision. “Making that choice was kind of a fork in the road for me but I just knew I had to do fashion,” says the Brooklyn native, who was just as well known for his personal style as his athletic abilities in high school. “My grandmother taught me how to sew and starting when I was 13, I used to take my mother’s old vintage clothes, cut them up and reassemble them,” says Romeo. “Fashion was just always there for me. It was in me.”
While honing his technical craft in school, Romeo did something that is key for anyone hoping to pursue a career in fashion (take note!): he worked and interned within various sectors of the industry. “I had a part-time job in luxury retail as a personal shopper and also interned at Prada in their marketing department,” explains the designer, who says his time in retail later influenced his brand because he understood what real women wanted to wear. “The internship that was most interesting to me was at Vibe Magazine in the fashion department,” he continues. “I learned about sample trafficking and witnessed how much hard work goes into a magazine. I learned so much and it has all stuck with me to today.”
Upon finishing school, Romeo began booking styling gigs and creating custom designs for clients, two of which remain at the center of his collection today: a striped shirtdress and red checkered shawl. “The shawl is very transitional and can be styled in many ways. I noticed that both the younger and older customer were both attracted to it so it’s something I always wanted to keep present,” he explains. Pretty soon, industry insiders began to take notice of his garments when clients wore them at events, and Romeo decided to officially launch his line for pre-fall in January of 2014. Little did he know, he would gain his first celebrity client, Zendaya, that same year. “I met with her stylist, Law Roach, and he was digging everything in the collection,” says Romeo. “Zendaya had a press week coming up and ended up wearing Romeo Hunte three times during it. Seeing the way she carried each look with confidence and sophistication—I felt like I’d completed a piece of my vision.”
His label increasingly gained traction as he met more celebrities, stylists, and editors, and became known for having transitional outerwear and wearable statement pieces at its core. But it was a black and white striped wrap dress custom made for none other than Beyoncé herself that would truly solidify him as a serious young fashion talent. “That custom dress broke the internet. I wanted to do something very sexy yet classic and clean for her. Something very Beyoncé but also Romeo Hunte,” says the designer, who finished off his masterpiece by lining it with 300 brass buttons. “When she tried it on, it fit perfectly. It was so good.” The icing on the cake? “She wore it on my birthday,” remembers Romeo. “I was on vacation and was about to go to the beach when I got the text. I started flipping out, jumping around the hotel room.”
Though the aforementioned professional highlights are stand-outs, there have been many other freak-out worthy moments for Romeo since starting his brand, like seeing Winnie Harlow, Lupita Nyong’o, and Laverne Cox wearing his designs, and getting to attend the 2016 Met Gala. “Always believe in yourself and keep on pushing,” he advises to others hoping to follow suit. “It’s a tough industry, you just have to keep on going—you never know what’s around the corner.” Who knows, maybe one day it’ll be an it-girl wearing your creation.
二月 11, 2021 — Nikita Singh
Romeo Hunte Showstopping Debut 2019 Men's Collection

Romeo Hunte Showstopping Debut 2019 Men's Collection

Yesterday afternoon fashion designer Romeo Hunte showcased his first Men’s Ready-to-Wear collection in New York City at the Dream Hotel Downtown in Chelsea. The Spring collection references an iconic Downtown Brooklyn style that Romeo Hunte is well known for with many unexpected and welcoming juxtapositions. 
For the 2019 Spring collection, Romeo was inspired by luxe street wear and contemporary swimwear in both appearance and in the use of the textiles he selected. The pieces were fun, wearable and had the perfect balance of classical tailoring with luxurious outwear vibes. Romeo Hunte continues to create the genius that he started: a lineage of modern classic apparel that mixes luxurious, practical and transitional at a contemporary price point.
Hunte’s concept and inspiration for this years show was to add unexpected elements together to create a sort of dialogue in the pieces. He wanted to play with the look and feel of swimwear and the unexpected yet on-trend of fur to create innovative garments. The Mens Spring 2019 collection consisted primarily of light overcoats, mix media jackets and jumpsuits that mimic classic wet suits. The collection personified and references the strong nature of water and fur in a way that only Hunte can translate into powerful pieces and looks. Many of the model had bright burst of primary colors: blue, red and yellow. The fabrics were complex and yet complimented each other in totally unexpected ways: mink fur, denim, camouflage, cotton and French terry to name a few. Referencing prior collections Hunte managed to reinvent many of his signature pieces in totally new ways while still paying homage to his prior collections. The models walked down the runway, featuring an array their past and present collaborations, including such totally unmissable brands like Swarovski, Look Mate London Socks, Kopenhagen Fur and Teva. 
Romeo Hunte is one to watch. If you are one of the few people unfamiliar with his designs. Hunte last year was spotted by WWD as “Designer to Watch" and in 2016 was honored by Essence Magazine as a “Designer to Watch.”  Teen Vogue was quoted saying the following about Hunte, “He is well on his way of becoming a household name.” Hunte also has been fortunate to attend the 2015 & 2016 Met Gala and as the industry continues to take notice of the brand, in 2017, Hunte was nominated as a finalist for Women swear Fashion Group International Rising Star Award. As a result, it is no surprise his mens collection is already surrounded with buzz before the doors even opened up yesterday to the invite only list of attendees. Among the 2019 Spring showcases attendees were celebrities such as NFL player running back Corey Clement for Philadelphia Eagles, Nigerian-American rapper, singer and songwriter Thutmose- well known for his songs “WuWu and Ride With Me”. Actor and son of retired American NBA hall of fame basketball player Isiah Thomas-Zeke Tomas. American actor Derek Luke-  popular for his performances in Antwone Fisher and Captain America. 

 

二月 11, 2021 — Nikita Singh