Why Shawn Mendes Is the New Face of Sustainability for Tommy Hilfiger

Shawn Mendes Tommy Hilfiger
Shawn Mendes for Tommy Hilfiger | Courtesy

Shawn Mendes is the face of Tommy Hilfiger’s new sustainable collection, “Classics Reborn.”

Twenty-three-year-old Canadian superstar Shawn Mendes, who wore an upcycled Tommy Hilfiger suit to the Met Gala earlier this month, will be wearing pieces from the label’s newest collection on his forthcoming tour, the “Wonder: The World Tour.” It’s part of the “Play It Forward” collaboration aimed at promoting sustainability and responsible design.

Mendes will also be co-designing for Tommy Hilfiger on a special sustainable capsule collection all made with recycled or bio-based materials. That collection is expected to drop for SS23.

“I’ve always been inspired by Tommy and the iconic brand he built, and I’m excited to share our journey together with my fans,” Mendes said in a statement.

“Everyone has a role to play in creating a more sustainable future and I’m inspired to see what we can achieve. I look forward to learning from each other, exploring how creative reimagination can have a positive effect on the fashion industry, and sharing what living more sustainably means to me.”

Tour offsets

Tommy Hilfiger, which has been steadily increasing its sustainable offerings and commitments, says it will donate $1 million to help offset the environmental impact of Mendes’ tour. It’s expected to announce the recipients of the donation in the coming weeks.

Shawn Mendes for Tommy Hilfiger | Courtesy

The donation is expected to make the tour climate positive by cutting CO2 emissions by 50 percent compared to 2019’s tour.

Efforts to curb the music industry’s impact have been underscored by efforts like Brian Eno’s EarthPercent. Pop sensation Billie Eilish also announced her climate event overlapping with her London tour dates next month.

“Shawn’s not only a multitalented musician — he also represents a new generation of Futuremakers who understand the need for action,” Hilfiger said.

“By joining forces with Shawn to learn, share and innovate, we can build upon what we’ve already achieved and take our sustainability journey to the next level. While we recognize we still have a long way to go, together we can build even more awareness to make a positive, lasting impact.”

Tommy Hilfiger | Courtesy

The collection’s sustainability comes mainly via the use of organic cotton, which reduces CO2 emission by around 48 percent.

Tommy Hilfiger’s new partnership with Mendes builds on the brand’s aim to connect with younger audiences. Last July, the label partnered with nonbinary actor and activist Indya Moore on a collection that featured sustainable materials.

“This capsule goes beyond great style,” Moore, the star of the Emmy-nominated FX series “Pose” said in a press release. “It breaks a cycle and sets a new standard across the industry. Too many people are made to feel that something is wrong with them just for being themselves. It means everything to me to know that with our capsule, no one is made to feel wrong or different or broken. Everyone works perfectly for this collection, no matter who they are.”

Sustainability at PVH

The announcement comes after Tommy Hilfiger parent company PVH entered into a multi-year partnership with the Finland-based Infinited Fiber Company (IFC). It makes fibers out of textile waste, cardboard, and wheat. Its regenerated fiber, dubbed Infinna, will make its first appearance in Tommy Hilfiger T-shirts hitting European stores later this summer.

The material is expected to also appear in Calvin Klein, another PVH brand.

“We are committed to pioneering and partnering with like-minded industry leading companies that drive more innovative and sustainable products,” said Esther Verburg, EVP of sustainable business and innovation for Tommy Hilfiger global and PVH Europe in a statement. Last year, IFC raised €30 million with backing from sportswear giant Adidas and fast fashion retailer H&M, among others.

mushroom leather
Tommy Hilfiger | Courtesy

The commitment builds on PVH sustainability efforts. Last December, PVH entered into a partnership with Ecovative, a New York-based tech company turning mycelium—the root structure of mushrooms—into leather-like materials.

PVH partnered with IFC several years ago to develop new, more sustainable materials, including leather made from grapes leftover from the wine industry. The goal is materials that can be broken down infinitely and reused to close the loop on manufacturing and reduce the company’s footprint.

The shift toward renewable materials is coming to the luxury sector in a big way. Most recently, Gucci parent company Kering announced it was developing lab-grown leather with biotech startup Vitrolabs, which received backing from actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

LVMH also recently announced it was looking at lab-grown textiles, namely fur and wool. It is one of the only remaining fashion brands to still use fur.

Danish brand Ganni said it was also phasing out animal leather, and compared its use in luxury fashion to the equivalent of smoking cigarettes on television.

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