(WETM) – Everyone in Tommy Hilfiger’s hometown of Elmira knows he’s very much real and alive. His first store People’s Place was in downtown Elmira and he’s given back to his community since becoming one of the world’s more recognizable brands.
But there are some on the internet for either didn’t know Tommy Hilfiger was a real person or thought that he was long gone.
The viral reaction started when stylist and reality show judge Law Roach did the “I’m Busy challenge” where people FaceTime someone and immediately ask if they can call them back because they’re busy.
One of the people Roach recorded calling was Hilfiger, who was on a beach with a big palm tree.
This led to the viral reaction of people online who didn’t know that Tommy Hilfiger is a real person
Tommy posted this reaction to him reading people’s tweets and letting the world know that he’s both alive and a real person.
A student at Elmira Free Academy, Tommy started his fashion career by recognizing his own father’s fashion choices, but he didn’t start liking fashion until his early teens.
“I started out mowing lawns and delivering newspapers and having part-time jobs,” noting in his book working at Lou Pal’s sporting goods store and the Hess gas station.
Living in Elmira “was idyllic” for Tommy, who watched the rise of Ernie Davis and realized he too could live his dream.
Along with Jonathan Allen and Larry Stemerman, Tommy put in $150 to rent a 5,000 square foot store for $50 a month and to buy 20 pairs of bell-bottom jeans in New York City. They also bought jewelry from a shop in Cape Cod, and would sell everything from records to candles, to incents.
They would go on to open several more stores in the area, from Corning to Cortland to Ithaca.
Fast-forward to 2019 and the Tommy Hilfiger brand is internationally known, leading to several Designer of the Year awards from publications such as GQ and the Parsons School of Design.
Tommy still finds time to come back to the Twin Tiers and has been a staple in the Elmira community, helping build the Ernie Davis Community Center and supporting the annual Ferrario Elmira Jazz Festival. He’s also very active in the fight to eradicate Lyme’s Disease, breast cancer, and MS.