August 1 2014

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For Father’s Day, Two Second-Generation Designers Remember Growing Up With Dad


Following your father into the family business isn’t a given these days, as it once was. But for fashion-world progeny, a lifetime spent in the studio and at the show can lead to a fashion career of his or her very own. In honor of Father’s Day, checked in with two second-generation designers to hear about the good old days and the lessons they’ve learned—and given—dear old Dad.

Ally Hilfiger debuted her shirtdress-based line, Nahm, with co-designer Nary Manivong in February, but her schooling in the business began years ago at her father Tommy’s headquarters “I used to go to Bring Your Daughter to Work Day with him when I was little and I would sit in all of his design meetings,” Hilfiger tells “They would always give me flats to color in with design markers and that’s when I started my color sense.” Those play days at the office became official work days when she signed on to intern with dad, joining him in business and design meetings, trips to factories in Hong Kong, and sample shopping. “Whenever I was asked for my opinion, I would give it, and he valued my opinion very much,” she explains. She’s not slow to share her opinion on his line, either, along with her sister and stepmom. “We’re like, ‘Dad, you have to make those heels a little higher,’ ” Hilfiger laughs.

Like Hilfiger, Moises de la Renta spent his childhood at his dad Oscar’s design studio, toiling in tulle and the rich fabrics that define the de la Renta name. “My father’s office was like Santa’s Workshop,” he tells from London, where he’s currently traveling. “The most wonderful fabric and colors everywhere—colored pencils, watercolor pencils, and there was an in-house chef. It was like our own secret club because in those days it was a small, tight knit group of people and it was like a family, we all ate together… people were cool, man.” Like Hilfiger, he’s also moved from youthful internships in fashion—at ODLR and at Phat Farm—into his own clothing and accessories line, MDLR. Don Oscar has offered guidance over the years, as well as plenty of style tips to his son. The most valuable? “How to wear a suit well,” Moises says, “and to keep one’s hands manicured.”

Photos: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images (Hilfigers); (De la Rentas)

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