Tom Ford began his career in 1980. He tried to become an actor and an architect. But in 1985 he got an internship with designer Kathy Hardwick and then left for the Perry Ellis brand. Real success awaited him at Gucci in the early 90s, then it was Saint Laurent and finally his own brand Tom Ford. He also directed two films: "Lonely man" and “Nocturnal Animals".
It is hard to believe, but today he is 60 years old. In honor of the fashion legend's birthday, here's a look back at his remarks at the 2019 Forces of Fashion conference in New York, where Tom Ford was one of the speakers.
On how fashion has changed
Things have changed a lot since I started working in fashion. People wore the "right" clothes all day. And then they would change into comfortable clothes for the evening. Now everyone can afford to wear t-shirts, jeans, maybe a great pair of shoes, a cool jacket and a bag no matter who you are, how much money you have or what your status you have. Fashion is consumed in a different way now. There used to be consistent fashion trends: platform shoes, for example, were the most fashionable and desirable pair for two or three years. Anything and everything is fashionable at the same time. Now there are more opportunities to express yourself and it's easier to show who you are.
On the difference between the roles of designer and creative director
These positions are very similar. If you're a designer or a creative director for a big company, which I have been for a long time, you have to have a vision, and you want to surround yourself with the most creative people you can get. You have to find ways to help them prove themselves and perform at their best. Guide these people to ultimately realize your vision.
On the closed nature of American fashion.
I've lived in Europe for the past 28 years and only returned to the U.S. two years ago. I feel like I'm becoming less aware of what's going on in the world. When you turn on the news, all it talks about is America, America, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump. We don't have the same vision and perspective on the future as Europe or Asia. We don't have a global perspective, but it's very important because we all live in the same world.
About Instagram photos.
Things that look good in an Instagram photo can look pretty silly in real life. But it made me change my approach and make the brand a little cartoonish. After all, people now increasingly want to perceive information with pictures, and that's what allows us to get the traffic we want. However, we are less and less likely to respond to each other. Instagram makes us feel ugly, fat, inadequate, boring, pathetic, sad. It sometimes just makes me want to jump off the roof. But I love commercials! It makes me buy a lot of things.
About relationships with clients that become personal.
I once got slapped in the face by a woman because her heel broke. I was standing in front of a Beverly Hills hotel waiting for my car. A woman came up to me, slapped me in the face and said: "I bought your shoes and wore them to an event and the heel broke and I looked like a total idiot!" She thought I had personally decided to ruin her night by breaking her heel. It was a very unpleasant incident.
Success is about feeling like a person. It is perceived as if you have done good in the world. It marks who you will be in the world, how people will treat you. If you are happy and satisfied with what you are doing, you cannot measure that with material values.