Apr 16, 2009 Doug Campbell Uncategorized
Betsy Hilfiger, director of Community Affairs for the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, Inc, will emcee Cazenovia College’s 36th Annual Fashion Show, “The Seven Deadly Sins,” at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 25, at the Schneeweiss Athletic Complex on Liberty Street, in Cazenovia.
The Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation places strong emphasis on giving young people educational and career-related opportunities, and is committed to investing in health-related organizations and cultural programs that impact a diverse population of young people. Betsy Hilfiger has directed the foundation since 2006.
Fashion shows come naturally to Hilfiger, who owned and managed one of her brother’s stores in Elmira for a number of years.
“I used to assist with fundraising shows for organizations like the Rotary and area high schools. I have also worked with colleges and universities on fundraising fashion shows. That’s a natural because relationships with college fashion programs, and managing student internships, are part of my work for the foundation,” said Hilfiger.
Hilfiger has worked with Karen Steen, associate professor and director of Cazenovia College’s Fashion Studies Programs, for several years, hosting students on tours of the Hilfiger Corporation. The Cazenovia College Fashion Show, “The Seven Deadly Sins,” is sponsored by Dreissig Apparel, in Syracuse, and designed and produced by students in the Fashion Programs, with assistance from Assistant Professor Laurabeth Allyn. Promotional materials were designed by Stacy Kirchbaum, a visual communications major.
General admission is $10 per person, $5 for students. Children under age five will be admitted free. Guests may reserve their tickets in advance, and tickets will also be sold at the door. Tickets will also be sold at the door on the night of the show. For more information or to reserve tickets call Sarah Diederich at 655-7196 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
Hilfiger began working with her brother, Tommy, when both were in high school in Elmira. “Tommy fell in love with bell bottom jeans,” says Hilfiger. “He and two of his friends started The People’s Place Store, and I worked for them throughout high school and on weekends while I was in nursing school. It was a huge success and they went on to open eight more stores in upstate New York over the next ten years.”
Betsy Hilfiger married her high school sweetheart and they had two children. She spent most of her career in medicine, first as a registered nurse, then in pharmaceutical sales, while their sons were growing up.
“In 1994,” she said, “Tommy asked if I wanted to be a store owner, and I was looking for a new challenge, so I agreed.”
She owned and operated a 9,000 square foot store in Elmira until 2003. By then her sons had graduated from college and were living in New York City, and the economy was going downhill.
“My husband died while the boys were still in high school, so I was on my own, and I decided I needed a change,” she said. “So I moved to New York.”
Hilfiger’s brother, Andy, was working with Jennifer Lopez’s Sweetface clothing line and offered her a position.
“It was a natural fit for me — I headed the J Lo merchandising team for three years,” Hilfiger said. “Then, in 2006, Tommy and I had a discussion about giving back and corporate responsibilities. I was thrilled when he offered me the position of directing community affairs for his corporation. It was right up my alley, and I am truly enjoying this part of my career path.”
One of Hilfiger’s largest commitments is community fundraising for medical research.
“My sister has multiple sclerosis, and in her honor we do a huge fundraiser fashion show every year in Los Angeles. I am diabetic, so we have an interest in fundraising for juvenile diabetes,” said Hilfiger. “The foundation also works closely with homeless shelters in the five boroughs of New York City. These are just a few of the many causes the Tommy Hilfiger Foundation supports.”