Between his hit record “Whats Poppin” and being featured on Lil Nas X‘s “Industry Baby“, Jack Harlow has been a major figure in the new age of young hip hop stars. While at the 2021 Met Gala this past monday, Harlow was a guest of Elmira native and legend Tommy Hilfiger as he was also rocking a velvet double breasted tuxedo designed by Hilfiger himself.
Harlow takes to his Instagram to tell the story of how he came into contact with Hilfiger and even mentions Elmira a couple of times. The post has since received over a half million likes and made the rounds of notable blogs like Vanity Fair. According to the IG post, Harlow states,
“My Grandpa grew up in a small town called Elmira in New York. My whole life hes been telling me that as a kid, he lived on the same street as Tommy Hilfiger.”
Harlow goes on to say that he receives a FaceTime from Hilfiger and is asked to collaborate with him.
“Fast forward to a few months ago, I recieve a FaceTime…I answered and it was Tommy Hilfiger himself. He told me he thinks I’m the future, and that he wants to collaborate with me. As flattered and excited as I was, the first thing I brought up was Elmira and my grandfather, just hoping there was a chance he would remember.”
After graduating from the famed Elmira Free Academy(E.F.A), now Ernie Davis Academy, The fashion magnate began his career in 1971 at just 20 years old. He began designing his own clothing in his store called “Peoples Place“, which was located in Downtown Elmira where today’s First Arena is. Through trial and error, the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation would be born in 1985 and go on to become one of the most popular and inspiring fashion brands in the world earning billions of dollars every year.
Unbeknownst to Hilfiger he would inspire a host of fashion brands that also got their start in Elmira such as Dvmn Pigeon, Global Takeover, Saucy Streetwear, Max Comfort, P.O.E.T and more. A local fashion boutique in Elmira Heights called 3 AM even has Foo and Foo for sale, a fashion brand started by one of Tommy Hilfigers’ daughters Elizabeth Hilfiger.
As the people acclimate themselves with the rising fashion scene in Elmira, the music goes hand in hand right with it. While it seems most local venues are still avoiding hip hop concerts, the 3 AM boutique is doing its best to accommodate local artists that are interested in putting on a show with several sold out shows already featuring Yung Smiley, Tee Melly, Doc Z, JeRk and A’Don.
With the music and fashion scenes in Elmira and the surrounding 607 area steadily growing with the powerhouse that is Upstate NY, Jack Harlow’s post is more than just the fond memories of a superstar. Its a statement of hope for the future of a small town that has struggled to find its identity since the flood of 1972 that decimated its economy and left a mark on its people.
Its a reminder to every single creative that time is forever moving forward and where you are at 17 wont be where you are at 35 or even 50. Go for your dreams, strive for what you believe in and perhaps someday your own grandchildren will talk about when you lived across the street from the next Elmira legend or maybe that legend will be you.
Written By: Joshua Chaffer
Published: September 17th, 2021