Elizabeth Hilfiger is on a mission to take her Foo & Foo brand from an alternative independent label to something much bigger. The designer opened her first market in Paris this week after a successful first show at New York Fashion Week earlier this month, all as part of her plan to double the company’s sales over the next year.
Foo & Foo’s well-priced, versatile American-made basics offer something of an edge that speaks to the Olivia Rodrigo generation. Distressed thermals, bungee cord skirts, baggy jeans and sweatpants are most often priced under $200 and over $500. T-shirts and easy-to-match pieces can run around $80.
For Hilfiger, who attended the Rhode Island School of Design and launched his line with a range of screen-printed oversized t-shirts and hoodies in 2018, Foo & Foo represents his own personal evolution. The brand’s offering became more sophisticated and far-reaching during the pandemic, and he felt the time was right to showcase it.
“Last spring I did a soft collection with a pop-up in New York. which was really good. I feel like the world of Foo & Foo had reached full brand vision and was not understood, so I wanted to have a show in New York where I grew up and where much of our community is based,” said Hilfiger.
She continued, “The branding just shows how my style personally has evolved and matured a bit. I don’t feel like I have to wear a hoodie to feel confident and I wanted this season to really focus on what I wanted in my closet. I wanted it to be a little more body-conscious, not tight, but things that are adjustable and feel good to wear.”
While some items, like his signature lace-up sweatpants that bunch at the ankle for a “just like that” effect, seem simple at first glance, Hilfiger says everything is carefully considered. Those sweatshirts, for example, were in development, “for a good year and a half. We have multiple fits for each hoodie and t-shirt.”
This season, Hilfiger also introduced more modular pieces by collaborating with Techniche, a company that develops technical fabrics to help people at risk of exposure to extreme heat. Hilfiger was inspired by the sultry days of Los Angeles during the summer and felt that he could offer wardrobe solutions to make life more comfortable in the midst of climate change.
To make things cohesive and memorable, Hilfiger took a page from his father Tommy’s playbook. Most designs come with a visible “Foo & Foo” branded ribbon, helping to drive a visible notion of community. “I’m kind of sick of creating logos from growing up with my dad and all the clothes and stuff, so I feel like it’s second nature to put a logo on something. We created that tape a while ago, so I thought it would be cool to incorporate it again; we did it as a reflective logo this season, which I thought was subtle and nice,” Hilfiger said.
This week, Hilfiger is exhibiting in a new showroom concept in Paris called Together, which also features brands like Palomo Spain and Luchen. Two new employees help her boost her brand. Matthew Newman, formerly of Farfetch, has been hired as president and Lauren Butterworth, formerly of Amiri, is the brand’s chief marketing officer.
Newman said of her goals for the company: “We’re hoping that with doing a show and with Lauren helping accelerate our brand messaging through the right channels, we can reach a community [that] has yet to realize who we are. With this growing brand footprint, we hope to double our business; we’ve been on an independent level until now, so we’re making a really coordinated effort to increase visibility.”
Foo & Foo currently has some wholesale accounts in Japan, but hopes its market week efforts will help increase its reach in Asia while establishing a foothold in Europe and North America.