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Can You Buy Cool?

With its over-the-top fashion week events, Tommy Hilfiger’s certainly trying to.

Gigi Hadid walking in Tommy Hilfiger’s 2017 London Fashion Week show. Photo: Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

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In the ’90s, Tommy Hilfiger rose to mega-popularity because of hip-hop artists like Grand Puba and Snoop Dogg, who rapped about the designer’s clothes, wore them on television, and walked in his fashion shows. Aaliyah very memorably appeared in the brand’s ad campaigns. Tommy Hilfiger’s moment of cool wore off eventually, an inevitability of fashion that was helped along by a rumor that Hilfiger himself had made racist comments about his shoppers on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Today, the brand is pinning its reputation on an ongoing collaboration with Gigi Hadid, the Real Housewives offspring-turned-supermodel with 35.7 million Instagram followers, and on elaborate “experiential” fashion shows showcasing the immediately shoppable Tommy x Gigi collection, to which consumers are invited. The brand’s third runway show of this sort — a mashup of circus performers, celebrity offspring, and Victoria’s Secret models — closed out London Fashion Week last night.

Tommy Hilfiger’s strategy is obvious. By putting on unignorable productions and partnering with some of the world’s biggest influencers, it’s buying its way to popularity. Nearly every brand tries to do this, some just do it more explicitly (and with bigger budgets) than others. Tell us in the comments: Is it working?