With the fifth installment of his ongoing Tommy Hilfiger collaboration launching today, this is far from Lewis Hamilton’s first race around the track with the American fashion designer. Serving as a creative outlet for the six-time British Formula One world champion race car driver, the innovative partnership between the two giants of their respective industries began in 2018 and has consistently set an eco-conscious and inclusive example.
Creating collections built on sustainability and equality, the driver/designer lets his principles lead the way. Hamilton implements a unisex design theory and casts diverse models for his runway presentations. His hands-on approach enables causes close to his heart to live at the core of his collections. The record-breaking athlete has instigated intentional and meaningful change with his Tommy x Lewis collaborations, prioritizing the use of ethical materials. Committed to using his platform for the good of others, animals, and the planet, his relationship with sustainability extends beyond clothes and to his personal life as well. Going vegan has raised a consciousness in Hamilton that he now applies to his various interests. When it comes to design, he champions innovative elements such as vegan leather and recycled textiles. With nearly 80 precent of the new Fall/Winter 2020 see-now-buy-now collection consisting of organic or recycled materials, this latest iteration of the creative union between Hilfiger and Hamilton is their most sustainable yet.
Outspoken in his messaging, Hamilton designs his line with a strong constitution, creative viewpoint, and approachable style. Here, Hamilton speaks with CR about his active and unwavering efforts towards sustainability and inclusivity, from the racetracks to the runways.
You have a broad history of making sustainability a priority in your past collections with Tommy. Why is sustainability so important to you?
“I’ve been on quite an interesting journey over the last five years where I’ve met a few vegan people and they started to show me some of the things that were happening around the world, which I wasn’t aware of. I hadn’t seen the things that were happening to animals, and I am a huge animal lover. I’m 35 now, but I think we’re probably all trying to discover who we are, what we’re supposed to be doing, and our purpose. When I started to look a bit further into it to start understanding the impact that we’re having on the planet through what is happening to animals, I thought, ‘Wow, this is something that needs some real attention paid to it.’ When I start working with brands now, it’s the first thing we talk about. and I’ve got this platform.”
What was the sustainable sourcing like for this collection?
“The focus has always been to get to a fully sustainable collection. So we’re discovering new factories, new companies, and they’re constantly evolving their technology. Focusing on the fabrics was really important. It’s not the easiest to find so I’m really grateful I’ve got this great team at Tommy who I’m always learning from. We’d have these meetings and they’d show me boxes of recycled fishnets that have been weaved into a new fabric that we can use on a jacket, for example.”
How are you eco-conscious in your life outside of fashion?
“In my personal life, going vegan is quite an interesting process and now I use vegan deodorant. I don’t buy plastic. I only use water at home. But the thing is, I still race cars. Instead of a few of us doing things perfectly, it’s about millions of us doing things slightly imperfectly. Collectively, we can make a positive change. I’m not going to be racing forever, but being that I am racing–which has been my dream since I was a kid–I can have quite a big impact within this industry. Now, I’m on the constant cools with the people that run this sport because there’s a lot of waste that comes from these weekends, not only our cars or what they’re outputting but it’s more about the waste. So much plastic is everywhere. Getting them to consciously demand that no one uses plastic when we come to these circuits would save a huge amount that goes into the oceans. With all of my partnerships, that’s usually the first part of the conversation.”
Other than changing production and materials, what can the fashion and racing industries do to better the world?
“It’s been at the bottom of the list of priorities for the world, particularly in business. For some, it takes others calling them out and ultimately it’s about accountability. It’s about saying, ‘Look, this is what we’ve done until now, but we can do more.’ It’s about getting people to have empathy and compassion. I look at my sister’s kids and I think, ‘How can I make their life better for their future?’ It’s about conversation; it’s being daring. I’m really fortunate. I can say what I feel and hopefully they’re not going to fire me. But I’m also at a point in my life where I don’t really care if they fire me. I think it’s such an important thing [to push] these people that I’m working with in my industry and call them out. But also encourage them saying, ‘You know what? We can be a part of the solution rather than the problem.’ And just keep them on their toes.”
After five seasons, what would you say has been your number one takeaway from your Tommy collaborations?
“When I joined Tommy, it was a dream to work with such an icon and Tommy really welcomed me with open arms. I’ve been successful in my racing career and I know what it takes to be good at something. If I apply myself the way I have in my racing career to other things that I love, I think I can do pretty well. But I also acknowledge that I have a steep learning curve, so I ask a lot of questions. I basically have taken it as an internship. I bothered Tommy a lot, sat and watched how he worked. What’s really cool is that when you work with these really creative people–people like Tommy–they pull things out of you that you didn’t even know that you had. They’ve never said no and we’ve grown together.
At our last show, I wanted it to be sustainable because there are all these shows that happen around the world, with people flying in, then everyone leaves and there’s so much waste. I wondered how we could look at creating a green show. I wanted the collection to be incredibly inclusive with people of all different genders, sizes, and colors, and that made me so happy to see. Now, moving forward I feel so confident about the design process. This is his 35th year and I’m thinking 30 years away from now, hopefully I’ll have my own version of Tommy Hilfiger that’s respected and I’ll be able to give [others] a step up.”
What are you most excited about for the Fall/Winter 2020 collection?
“I’m really proud of how far we’ve been able to push it with this collection. We’ve gotten up to 80 percent on the sustainable elements. We continue to push the boundaries with our shoes, particularly with our boots which are vegan and I think they look great. Even the look book and campaign photos fit everyone. I think there’s a lot of women out there that like to wear men’s clothes. I like that we continue to push in that direction. I don’t think that it’s necessarily a trend, but that it needs to continue. I don’t know why some of these shows are still not diverse enough. Ultimately today, particularly in the important movement of Black Lives Matter, it continues to press on the importance of inclusivity and equality. So that’s been at the core, amongst the other values that we have.”
The Tommy x Lewis Fall/Winter 2020 collection is now available online.END
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createdAt:Mon, 14 Sep 2020 19:53:29 +0000