Living the Dream.

I will be here in five days. And I still cannot believe it.

I was turning in my embroidery book at the beginning of the semester to my professor, Mary. She was talking to Diane, the head of the Textile/Apparel Design department. The next thing I know I am in Diane’s office and she is telling me that I have been nominated by the faculty to apply for this big design scholarship. Only five people get to apply for this scholarship from each school, and for our school, that means two from retailing and three from textile/apparel design. I am the only sophomore, they usually do not ask sophomores to apply. I am so excited, so surprised. I say of course I will apply, even though it will be a lot of work. I rush out of Diane’s office, beaming, and call my mom and my sister to tell them the news. Elated. People believe in me!

Later: slightly less enthused. It begins to dawn on me that I do not know what I am doing. Or, that is what I think. I have never done anything like this before:

FSF 1937 YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund

2010 Fashion Scholarship Fund Case Study

Scenario: Tommy Hilfiger, a 1995 Fashion Scholarship Honoree, is an iconic American designer with strong ties to music and celebrities.

His brand is built on the American Dream. His look has always been about youthful, clean-cut sportswear, with a preppy twist. His fabrics of choice are classics- khaki, madras, pique and seersucker- and you can always count on him for a beautiful rugby knit or sweater.

In 2008, Tommy Hilfiger entered into an exclusive U.S. distribution relationship with Macy’s. Ever since, Tommy Hilfiger has outperformed its competitors; business has grown and profits have risen. Next year (2010) is Tommy Hilfiger’s 25th anniversary. To celebrate, Tommy wants to develop a special 25th anniversary line of sportswear for both men and women, as well as reinvent his advertising, marketing and in-store shop concept.


Each applicant must write a short research paper covering winning strategies that will make your ideas successful. Construct a clear and convincing argument in favor of your strategies. This should not exceed 3 (one-sided) pages and double space type. Be sure to check spelling and grammar and format the page in MLA style.

1. Research the Tommy Hilfiger brand. Write a competitive analysis of Tommy Hilfiger’s current sportswear collection and advertising/ marketing strategy in either men’s or women’s versus the competition. Include key strengths, weaknesses and competitive advantages of the Tommy Hilfiger classic iconic items vs. two competitors (See list below). Do they cater to the same target customer or a different customer? Explain in detail.

a) You will need to visit a Macy’s store within your area. You will research the following classic items: the polo shirt, the rugby knit, the button down woven shirt, the khaki pant and the 5 pocket jean in either Tommy Hilfiger men’s or women’s. If the store does not have a particular item, chose a similar item.

b) You will need to shop two competitors to compare the same or similar classic item’s style, design, fit, price points and how they market and display these product categories vs. Tommy Hilfiger’s. (In Men’s choose from: J Crew, Gap, Polo, Nautica, and Calvin Klein. In women’s chose from: J Crew, Gap, Lauren, DKNY Jeans, and Calvin Klein Jeans)

2. What recommendations would you make to reinvent the Tommy Hilfiger brand regarding product, pricing, in-store merchandising and visuals?

PART TWO- Choose either the design or business question.

Designer. You are to “reinvent” Tommy’s 5 Iconic Classic Items for men’s or women’s. Design a Fall 2010 collection consisting of 5 items from the following list:

  • The Polo Shirt
  • The Rugby Shirt
  • The Button Down Woven Shirt
  • The Khaki Pant
  • The 5 Pocket Jean

a) Include the following: vision, silhouette, fabrication, color, pattern, and details for each item listed above. Highlight the trends and details that will make your product new and fresh.

b) Come up with a “new” iconic item that personifies the Tommy lifestyle, has mass appeal and differentiates Tommy from its competition.

c) Show a combination of free hand illustrations, cads, and fabrics in an 8 1/2″ by 11″ report format. This should not exceed 6 pages.

Note: You must design 5 items. You can design one category 5 ways or design one style of the 5 iconic items.

Overwhelmed. When I read this off to my parents, they kind of laugh and say, wow that is a lot of work. But I get through it. Lots of sketches. Lots of flipping through books, surfing the web in search of who Tommy Hilfiger is and what is his design philosophy. Trips to Macy’s. Phone calls for moral support. Meeting to learn Adobe Illustrator. Meeting to go over paper. Not a lot of sleep. Small panic attacks. No sleep.

And then I turn it in. Relief. Wish I could change some things, but must let it go. No worries, I learned a lot from the experience whether I win or not. I learned that research is important in design, that you need a lot of time to think and sketch and re-sketch before finally settling on a design. I learned how to use Adobe Illustrator, and I actually like it! (I am not a big computer person)I learned how to design for a company, and not just for myself.

I have a phone interview with Dean, who is very nice. I feel like it went pretty well, I did not freak out.

And then it is December. Among all the other things creeping up (projects, exams… really projects mostly) is receiving the news. Could I possibly get a scholarship? And I mean, it is not just a scholarship. It is also an awards dinner in New York with important fashion people and a possible internship and possibly a bigger competition next year…

I am walking up the stairs to greet my very far from finished jacket. I run into Diane and she says, “Congratulations”. What?! Realization sweeps over me as Diane informs me that I have received a scholarship. We hug, and I run downstairs to check my e-mail to confirm. Yes. There are three e-mails from the YMA scholars, one telling me I received a scholarship, another with travel and logistics information for the dinner in January, and another with the invitation to the dinner.

I call everyone I know. Of course, my mom’s phone is MIA so she is about the last person to know. But when she calls me she tells me how she is teary eyed with pride. When I come home from the studio, everyone cheers for me as I walk through the door and there are hugs all around. And I am so happy and thankful to have such loving family and friends who help me through my endeavors. (I know this is getting cheesy, but I really mean it.)

Elated. It was worth it.

(As soon as I get my portfolio back, I will post pictures of it. I could not figure out how to change my Adobe Illustrator files to pdf or something that could go on this blog without buying some software. Like I said, not a big computer person)


2 responses

  1. Pingback: Gala Ready: January 8th, 2010 « Caffeinerd

  2. Yer Lee

    Hi Anna! I hope your having fun at Kohls! This is Yer from the TAD program. I don’t know if you remember me, but I am also working on the YMA project this year. I was wondering if I can see your project just to get the scope of how detailed they want the project to be and how big or small the focus should be. It would really help me get a good grasp of the kind of information they want. Thanks in advance!

    September 8, 2011 at 2:28 am

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