INTERVIEW – Martijn Hagman CEO Tommy Hilfiger about Pushing Digital Boundries

by: Shamin Vogel

WeAr interviews Martijn Hagman, CEO Tommy Hilfiger Global & PVH Europe on the potential of the metaverse, future of retail, brand strategies, crypto, sustainability, loyalty programs in the NFT world, and the phygital world.

What was your essential incentive to enter the metaverse in its early stage?
For a few years now, we have been at the forefront of exploring digital innovations. We are stepping into an inspiring and exciting new era of commerce that offers endless opportunities to connect with consumers in the digital and physical worlds. We stay strongly committed to our consumers by creating brand experiences that are authentic and unexpected, while encouraging them to express their individuality.

What is Tommy Hilfiger’s attitude towards digital fashion and NFTs?
Digital fashion is stronger and more appealing than ever — from 3D product development to the digitalization of the supply chain, to self-expression through an avatar. By increasing our investments in digital, we can enhance and improve our sustainability efforts in many ways. For instance, when it comes to the consumer, offering direct interactions and personalization, through to a complete virtual wardrobe experience. NFTs are a big part of this new digital space, which can add incredible value to the community and our brand. We see NFTs bringing the next iteration of brand access, membership, and loyalty, while also providing new opportunities for collaborations through projects, digital artists, and innovators in this space.

Can you explain how you will adapt your strategy to fit the current phygital trends?
There is an undeniable acceleration in the merger of digital and physical worlds. Web3 will continue to evolve, pushing brands to break barriers and lead the industry with new experiences that surprise and excite consumers. We are currently developing our metaverse strategy, which will be a clear indicator of how we continue to innovate in phygital brand experiences that add value to our business and bring us closer to consumers. At the same time, we are leveraging technology in our physical stores to enhance the omnichannel experience.

Will the metaverse help tap into a new consumer group that previously was not a prime target group for fashion companies?
The metaverse has opened the door for us to engage with new consumers we wouldn’t otherwise reach using traditional channels. It’s also allowing us to stay connected to our current fans in more inclusive, new, and exciting ways by offering virtual fashion that gives a whole new meaning to “universal” clothing. One of the great aspects of the metaverse is its inclusive nature, which connects to our brand values of “Welcoming All.”

As a pioneer in Web3, which lessons have you learned? What can be improved to achieve a holistic experience for consumers?
Over time, digital will become the leading sphere of everything we do and making sure we have a well-thought-out strategy is key to success. One key takeaway so far is not to get swept away with the fear of missing an opportunity. There are many new ways to connect with consumers on a whole new level, giving them access to the brand in experiential and personal ways. The key is to be strategic and considerate, to understand what they want, and deliver at the right moment.

How do you see the future of cryptocurrency and fashion intersecting?
It’s already happening — some brands are accepting cryptocurrency, others are offering digital wearable NFTs, and some are just observing. The e-commerce landscape will change, cryptocurrencies will be just another payment method available. Once blockchain protocols become more consumer-centric, shopping will become much simpler. Right now, the instability of crypto must be carefully considered when thinking of traditional retail.

Brands have started to issue NFTs together with roadmaps, tying them directly to brand loyalty. Will this be the ultimate future of using NFTs, or do you see other options for fashion companies, which live from one-off purchases thus far?
As we continue to seek innovative ways to connect with the community, NFTs can be powerful allies for membership and loyalty programs. The overall demand for NFTs is progressively increasing, presenting an opportunity for them to evolve from simple collectibles to utility assets – think of exclusive access to clubs, communities, and virtual or in-person experiences. By creating exciting NFTs that unlock exclusive brand experiences we can stay more connected with consumers in new and unforeseen ways. Looking ahead, NFTs could be the central digital touchpoint between brands and consumers – one that can be fully controlled by brands.

Looking to the future, will you create specific collections with different aesthetic approaches for the physical and the virtual stores?
We are already on this path – our recent Roblox collaboration presented exclusive virtual items that were very well received by the community. We will continue to explore partnerships that enable us to create these smaller digital capsules which allow us to interact with a new generation of consumers. Be it by collaborating with digital players, or developing our own collections, there are great opportunities when it comes to creating fully digital products that defy the laws of physics — customization can not only empower fans to celebrate their individuality, but also builds long-term loyalty.

What would the perfect phygital world look like?
I am passionate about the word “phygital” and what it represents – the heights we can reach are endless. Breaking boundaries and having an innovative mindset are critical to creating a phygital world. The shift to a digital-first mentality will become the norm and we are already seeing the integration of physical and digital becoming more and more realistic – digital activations in-store, virtual initiatives that deliver physical products to your door, and many others. We are committed to investing in innovations that will bridge the gap between online and offline in exciting ways, not only to our consumers, but also in upgrading internal processes and operations.

Congratulations on finding the QR Code to hopefully get one of the limited numbers of NFTs that Tommy Hilfiger and artist Gigi Gorlova made available to WeAr readers. Each supplied 71 NFTs, for WeAr issue 71, as a gift to our readers. Scan the QR Code and follow the instructions. Kindly understand that due to the limited number not everyone can get one of the NFTs.