This weekend Gigi Hadid launched her first collection for Tommy Hilfiger in Berlin. We had the opportunity to sit down with the supermodel to discuss her favourite pieces, how she manages to pack light and how she keeps herself challenged in the gym.
You're here in Berlin launching the collection for the first time and will be presenting it to both the industry and the public at Bread & Butter – how do you feel about being able to speak directly to the people who will be buying your clothes?
"First of all, I am mostly just excited to see it on other people. I love the collection so much and I am the only person I have seen it on for about a year now. I also never get to come to Berlin and other places on the Tommy tour, so to be able to come here and meet the fans is really important to me."
Why do you think it's so important that you can buy it online?
"I don't really like going shopping properly because trying on clothes is my job, so I only really do online shopping. I also think it's really fun that we got to launch it in this way."
Tommy Hilfiger is such a distinctive American brand. Why do you think it resonates so much with Europeans?
"I think the nautical feel of it makes it really fun for anyone – it's almost like getting to dress up as a character. All around the world you see people walking around in American-flag sweatshirts, so I just think people everywhere like that aesthetic."
The collection is all about making fashion accessible wherever you are – something you must know so well having to travel all the time – what are your tips for packing light while ensuring you always look photo-ready at any moment?
"I try to only travel with carry-on at all times. I pretty much spend half my life at the airport so checking in bags is just going to add more onto that. My essentials? I always pack jeans and one other pair of trousers – either white denim or leather – and then T-shirts, a pair of boots, a pair of sneakers, a sweater and a jacket."
What makes you and Tommy such a good match?
"What a lot of people don't know about Tommy is that he's not just this East Coast preppy designer, he's actually really cool and a bit of a hippy in his own way. I think that's why we get along. With my California beach-girl vibes, we have a lot of fun. I think that's why he wanted to bring me in – I brought the West Coast to his East Coast."
Did he give you any good advice to ease your nerves about co-designing your first collection?
"I think he's just really supportive and welcoming, which is a really nice way to first do this. Without realising, he teaches by example and that's not just with me and people that work with him as a model, but for everybody that works for the brand. He reminds people to have a good energy every day and just have fun with what you do."
Do you see yourself continuing with design in the future?
"For sure. I would love to do another collection with Tommy and one day, I would love to design on my own. This was the perfect first experience for me though, because it takes away a lot of that pressure as they already know how to execute it. I stayed six hours longer than my contracted one hour, so I was still really involved in the whole process but it wasn't as daunting as it could have been."
How do you get yourself ready for a big shoot or a show? Do you change your diet/exercise regime?
"Not really. I think it's important to always do what makes you feel happy and your best. Thankfully I can eat whatever I want as long as I am working out so I really don't diet that much. There are obviously times during the year when I know I am taking part in a really big show that is going to be on TV or in high definition where I will work out a little bit more, but usually I just stick to the same routine. It stresses me out if I make things too big of a deal and really at the end of the day, we are just wearing clothes."
How do you keep your gym routine interesting?
"I grew up riding horses and playing volleyball so when I moved to New York I found it so hard to just go to the gym and run on a treadmill. That's why I started boxing. You have to find an environment that pushes you and I did – soon I came in every day and wanted to get better and then I started to see myself getting better. It gets to the point where you don't even feel like you are working out but then you can't walk the next day. Right before the Victoria's Secret show last year, I also started doing a bit of ballet. Even though I am a horrible dancer, I think it's so much fun – I always go with friends."
Has working in the fashion industry changed the way you look at clothes? Does it make you appreciate designers more?
"Before I started modelling, I had never owned anything designer. My mother has an amazing wardrobe and I was always playing around with it, but I was mostly just in riding clothes all day. So my two years in the industry has been the time when I have found the designers that I love and where I have learnt about what came before this, for example Tom Ford doing Gucci. I started learning about the history of fashion and became really interested in it. When you start to work with these legends, you hear the craziest and coolest stories – they used to go on three-week trips for just one shoot, that would never happen now!"
You obviously have a huge social media presence – do you find that it's a way to control your image and get your message out there?
"Absolutely. I think it gives you the chance to show people who you really are. It probably would be very weird for people to just know my face. Without social media, I really feel that people wouldn't know me at all. I love Twitter and being able to joke around and talk about the nerdy stuff you do and what shows you are watching and that just makes you more human, which can only be a good thing. It also means that there is just so much less pressure because you can let people know that sometimes you feel a bit rubbish about a comment or something."
What advice would you give to your younger self?
"I know it sounds like a cliché but I would say, 'everything is going to be OK'. It always works out. Obviously in high school, there were times where I literally thought my life was over because so-and-so broke up with me and I thought I would never fall in love again or I would fall out with a friend and thought I would never have friends again, but you forget all of that stuff pretty quickly and everything always works out."
Amy de Klerk for Harper's Bazaar UK.