Martine Rose is on fire. Recently announced as the next guest designer for the Pitti Uomo men's trade show in Florence, Rose's latest escapade sees the London designer put a spin on classic pieces from the Tommy Hilfiger archive. With the 90s fashion trend showing no signs of stopping, the all-American brand collaborated with Rose to lend a fresh eye to their Tommy Jeans label which has seen a revival in recent years amongst Gen-Z.
Tommy Jeans x Martine Rose is a gender-inclusive Fall 2022 capsule collection, and blends both brands' affinities for sportswear and youth subcultures. As one of the most prominent sportswear brands in the late 1990s, Tommy Hilfiger became synonymous with hip-hop stars like Mary J Blige, Aaliyah and Snoop Dogg, eventually launching the sub-label Tommy Jeans in 1996. Recognised by the iconic red, white and blue rectangular logo plastered across denim jackets and sweatshirts, Tommy Jeans i one of the most frequented brands on re-sale sites like Depop and Ebay today. Relaunching staple archive pieces is a key strategy for brands who want to benefit from the surge in popularity for archive fashion, but bringing the cult designer Rose on board at Tommy Jeans is an unexpected stroke of genius.
Founding her namesake label in London in 2007 with a collection of men's shirts, over the past 15 years Martine Rose has gone from strength to strength. Her affinity for oversized, boxy tailoring and subverting the mundane and everyday item - from shirred pinstripe shirts and denim jackets to camoflage trousers plastered with rave flyers from the designer's youth - would change the face of menswear.
The influential designer advised Demna in the early years of Balenciaga, and her namesake label has collaborated with global brands including Nike. Rose's expert fusing together of the 1990s, streetwear and high fashion was documented by SHOWstudio in 2019 for Rose's collaboration with Italian brand Napapijri. It's no surprise then that Tommy Hilfiger were keen to get Rose on board. 'Collaborating with Martine has been inspiring and really pushed me creatively', Tommy Hilfiger tells press in a statement. 'I love it when a designer can come in and put their own touch on our archival pieces. The collection is elevated and unique, and really highlights how out-of-the-box and experimental Martine’s work is.'
Tommy Jeans x Martine Rose is a 35-piece collection which includes a very British Harrington jacket, an all-American varsity jacket, caps, logo t-shirts, utilitarian trousers and denim jeans featuring chaps - très Martine. Towelling robes will remind Rose's devoted following of the A/W 18 beermat bomber, whilst as candy-coloured pinstripe shirts and boxer shorts nod to both Rose's earliest collections, and Hilfiger's affinity with the preppy aesthetic.
Launching with a campaign that celebrates gay interracial relationships against the backdrop of American suburbia, the Hilfiger brand appears to be making a long-term commitment to previous promises to reframe the straight, all-white narrative which has dominated their communications in the past. Partnering with Harlem's Fashion Fund in 2021 to create a study on the influence of Black American culture on the label, in recent years Tommy Jeans also cast Nigerian musician Tems as their campaign star. Ralph Lauren are another example of an American brand making efforts to shed light on black contributions to style - Ive League preppiness in their case with a campaign earlier this year which paid homage to historically black US colleges.
The Tommy Jeans x Martine Rose campaign was styled by Rose's long-term collaborator Tamara Rothstein and photographed by Buck Ellison. White picket fences and lazy pool days provide the American suburbia background, as couples kick back wearing the collection. Community is central for Rose, street-casting her shows and even going into the abodes of the Rose wearer for the S/S 21 collection film. 'I really enjoyed being able to explore American subculture and create a campaign that not only celebrates, but rightly spotlights marginalised communities. Tommy Hilfiger has always been a brand that I’ve drawn inspiration from, so this partnership was such a natural and organic marriage', Rose explains.