In 2021, Tommy Hilfiger joined forces with Harlem’s Fashion Row to provide more opportunity for Black designers. Although the fashion industry has made strides to bring more Black executives and Black talent across the board to the table, there is still work to be done. However, thanks to initiatives like Tommy Hilfiger and HFR’s New Legacy Challenge, progress is being made.
As a continuation of HFR’s overall mission and an extension of Tommy Hilfiger’s People’s Place Program, the New Legacy Challenge was essentially a design competition created specifically for emerging Black designers. After receiving applications, twelve contestants proceeded to a virtual showcase to present their designs to the judges. Following the virtual showcase, three designers were selected as finalists and provided with the funds, along with materials and a mentor to produce a collection that embodied “prep fashion” through a new perspective.
On the evening of March 10th, Tommy Hilfiger and HFR hosted the finale showcase at The Roxy Hotel in New York City to honor Megan Renee, Johnathan Hayden, and Clarence Ruth (the finalists) and to announce the winner. “It has been amazing to watch Megan, Johnathan, and Clarence’s journey with the New Legacy Challenge,” said Tommy Hilfiger in the press release. “They showed outstanding creativity and vision with their collections and I’m so excited to see their talent shape the future of our industry.”
During the celebratory evening, guests were granted a first look at the screening of the New Legacy Challenge docuseries that was directed by award-winning filmmaker Luchina Fisher. The documentary gave the audience an inside look at the challenge and an intimate glimpse of each of the designers’ individual journeys. It showcased their passion, their gracious determination, and their commitment in the most beautiful way. Fisher’s documentary will be officially released on Tommy Hilfiger channels globally in April 2022.
Following the screening, Brandice Daniel, founder of HFR, and Randy Cousin, an executive at Tommy Hilfiger, moderated a brief Q&A for the three finalists. Each designer shared how they approached the design challenge and what they wish to leave behind with their legacy. Hilfiger made it clear that it was very difficult to choose a winner as each designer displayed immense talent and genuine passion. He welcomed them all to be a part of the Hilfiger family going forward. In the end, Clarence Ruth was announced as the winner of the New Legacy Challenge.
“I am honored to be named the winner of the New Legacy Challenge,” Ruth said. “This opportunity has brought me such creative freedom while learning and growing from Urs Graber, my Tommy Hilfiger mentor. I’m excited to move forward and take everything I’ve experienced and integrate it into my design process, as well as offer my support to Black designers coming after me.”
Ahead, see Clarence Ruth’s winning collection designed for the Tommy Hilfiger x Harlem’s Fashion Row New Legacy Challenge.