- June 9
you have been to a mall, or opened up a magazine, or
seen a TV show... you know who I am. My name is Tommy
Hilfiger. In 1969, when I was 18 years old I was
selling jeans out of my basement. At 20, I was
opening boutiques all over New York State. I have
turned that into a multi-billion dollar empire.
Thousands of dreamers come to New York City and go
home empty handed....until now. 16 men and women, some
who are fashion designers in their own right some who
are good shoppers will live my life...in fast forward.
I am going to find one person who will design a
collection under my label and win a salary of
$250,000." (Apprentice Copy #1)
This is how Tommy introduces "The Cut". He opens the
door to his New York flagship office and the 16
unknowns walk into his office--and they all look
nervous. Tommy then enters and looks them over like a
drill instructor over newly entered recruits in boot
camp. After looking at one guy, the guy said, "I did
this to impress you." Tommy told him to relax. He
singles out a black man whose style he calls,
"Brooklyn meets Picasso meets hip hop." This guy
designed his own clothes, down to his underwear. One
guy was wearing Tommy clothes all over. Tommy hopes
that won't be a detriment to him. He says he is
creative enough, he won't let it get to him. Hilfiger
says it's smart, very smart. One girl he calls "Miss
Park Avenue." He singles out one man who "doesn't care
about style." He says he does. Tommy--"You could have
fooled me. Ouch.
Tommy goes into his opening statement. "Some of you
are dressed appropriately--some are not. I am here to
look for that one person who is a creative genius. You
are not designing clothes, you are designing a
lifestyle. Whoever wins, will get to design under my
label and win a salary of $250,000. He explains that
first impressions are very important. So he singles
out Miss Park Avenue a/k/a:
Julie O' Connor, a handbag designer from St. Louis,
MO. She calls herself, a flamboyant fashionable mom.
She is used to chaos and can handle anything.
Then Tommy singles out Rob Walker, Mr. Brooklyn meets
Picasso. He is a clothing artist from Brooklyn, NY. He
has 5 kids which are his inspiration and drive.
Tommy chose them on first impressions and that is what
these two people are going to do. They are going to
choose their teams based on 1st impressions. Each
week, the teams will reshuffle. Julie started first
and Rob went after...and for sake of ease of reading I
am going to give you both teams this way:
2. Elizabeth, a magazine editor from Beverly Hills, CA
3. Princess, a freelance designer from Philadelphia,
PA. She calls herself a "diva/sexy/bitch". She looks
out of central casting for the black girl with
4. Jeff, a clothing sales rep from Chicago. He is
bald, and says he can get a smile from anybody. He is
going to blow people's minds, and "I am unbeatable."
5. Tommy, the non-ambigiously gay guy from Chicago.
"Fashion is the language I speak." He is a woman's
clothing designer and sold a skirt for $4800. He could
6. Chris S, a student/restaurant owner from Nashville,
TN. He is the "super southern boy who loves country
music and Alabama football."
7. Vlada from St. Louis, MO. She is a retail sales
associate. She is always getting attention.
8. Felix from Los Angeles, CA. He is a pro
skateboarder who designs all his clothes that he
wears. He got there through hard work.
2. Chris C. (the guy who wore all the Tommy Clothes) a
graphic design student from Bridgeport, CT. He is a
"ghetto guy" who didn't need to be an athlete or rap
star to get out. All you need is a dream or goal.
3. Amy, a personal shopper/stylist from Chicago. She
loves to shop and get paid for it.
4. James, an apparel manufacturer from San Diego, CA.
He calls himself a straight up fun guy with a great
5. Wes, a creative director of a clothing store in New
Orleans, LA. He says he is "the All-American Boy with
a twist." (I personally didn't like the "I had to get
out of the "Bible Belt" comment.)
6. Jessica, a former Miss Minnesota and student. She
is "just a normal girl".
7. Shauna, a self described "psychotic fashionista"
who is a fashion designer from New Orleans, LA. She
has been married 3 times.
8. (the last one picked) Deanna, from Los Angeles. She
is a boutique store manager who claims she can win
this whole thing and she is out for blood.
(Apprentice Copy #2--the graphics of the lettering
describing each contestant is the exact font the
Our teams are set. Tommy says that Rob and Julie are
not the leaders of the team. Leaders will rise to the
top. After each challenge, they will be taken to the
Style Forum (Apprentice Copy #3) where they will
discuss how each team worked together. And the losing
team will lose one member.
They will meet Tommy in one house on 50th Street and
(Apprentice Copy #4--cue the 60's theme music--"You
Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones)
The teams leave the world headquarters and head to
50th Street and Broadway. They introduce themselves to
each other. They get to the location and Tommy leaves
a limo. He explains that this is the "crossroads of
the world--Times Square". (Not exactly, Tommy...but
close.) In 1986, Tommy put his 1st Billboard up and
compared himself to the great names of the business.
He took a risk, and got his name known. He points
upward to 2 blank billboards...the 50th Street side
will be Julie's team. The Broadway side is Rob's team.
THIS WEEK CHALLENGE: Design a billboard that will
Hilfiger. The teams have until 10AM, 2 days from now.
They have $3,000 and a cutting shop in Soho. It must
have the "Made in NY" logo on it. They can either move
into their Soho Loft, or get to the cutting room.
"My advice to you: Get moving."
43 Hours to go: Rob was blown away that he was going
to have a billboard up in Times Square. The 50th
Street team was seen discussing what to do. So was the
Broadway team. Chris C. is seen taking leadership of
the Broadway team. The 50th street goes back to the
loft...and wow what a loft. (Apprentice Copy #5--a
kick butt living quarters) Tommy--"What a dump." It's
a 3 floor loft in Soho. There are separate bedrooms
for the men and women...everyone loves the house. Rob
sees the energy being high and everyone has a welcome
toast. And we see everyone moving in. Amy complains
there is very little closet space for 16 people. Felix
a hanging rack with hangers and some girls go nuts. He
says he isn't here to make friends, he is here to get
a job. Princess went crazy.
36 hours to go: Team Broadway went to the cutting
room. Chris showed his portfolio to "show his vision".
There were a lot of ideas going around
back and forth. Deanna said Amy yells stuff to yell
stuff. James said they were going to take the idea of
"Art and Fashion" from Rob's shirt and translate it to
the billboard. Back at the loft, more ideas are
discusses. Princess likes the NY skyline. Jeff tries
"Wear Am I Going". You heard crickets. Then Felix
comes up with TOMMYNY (To My NY) He took control and
respect. Tommy didn't like the secondary colors of red
white and blue, and liked the new colors Tommy H was
using of Purple Orange and Green. Felix wasn't
completely sold on it, but they went with it anyway.
They also included the Statue of Liberty in the
2, 10:00AM, 24 hours to go: The Broadway team split up
into 2 teams to get what they needed in materials.
50th Street team are already at the sign starting to
work. Princess--"I love my team". They are set up in
safety glasses and Jeff never worked a jigsaw before.
They were having trouble. Tommy wondered where the
other team was.
The Broadway team went to Print International in Long
Island, NY. They needed to get 3 decals, the Lion
Crest, Made in New York Logo, and the signature. The
company said it was $1000. The team was shocked.
Jessica played "Let's Make A Deal" and got them down
to $485 in exchange for the hanging of "Print
International" signs at the site. The 50th Street
team, specifically Tommy, said "Lady Liberty needs
15 hours to go: Tommy Hilfiger shows up unannounced
and asked "Did you bury the other guys?" Felix said it
inspiring to meet Tommy. The Tommy flag on their side
is Purple, Orange and Green. Jeff was inspired as
well. The Broadway team finally arrived and trash
talked the billboard. Deanna said, "I did better
things in HS with 1 dollar and some spray paint."
10:00PM--12 hours to go. Part of the Broadway team are
at the cutting room painting the canvas to hang on the
billboard. Chris C is talking to Amy. Amy explained
they were starting the painting and he was worried
about time. It's now 12:00AM and at the cutting room,
everyone is ready to paint. The concept is an abstract
painting with the Tommy lion crest in the center. One
team member was complaining that Amy didn't have "any
notable achievements". Amy laughed and said "Ah, my
pants split!" Back to the 50th Street team, Tommy is
nervous that they are not finished. Julie doesn't
think so, and they should move to Plan B. Broadway's
canvas is ready...."Let's roll."
2:00AM--8 Hours to go. The canvas is 14 feet by 28
feet. They don't know if it's going to be hung on
time. Chris and James are getting cranky toward each
other. But when the hanging starts to go well, and the
Broadway team cheers. Chris calls it "a moment in
history." However, the 50th street team is not
impressed. Jeff calls it a "joke, simplistic,
half-baked. We have won this assignment."
With 5 hours to go Elizabeth, Princess and Julie show
me that they don't want to win this contest. They
decide to tell Jeff and Felix to take down the Statue
because they don't think there is enough time. Jeff
and Felix yell at them that they can finish this and
Princess, in the typical reality show "black girl with
a ghetto attitude complete with hand gestures" casting
move, she says, "Take the bass out of the voice." Jeff
goes down to a whisper and still she says that. This
made me angry and I know that Elizabeth, Princess and
Julie have lost to me. And as it starts to rain and
snow, Felix and Jeff finish the billboard. They called
that argument a "wake-up call."
8:00AM--2 hours to go. The 50th Street sign is running
due to the rain. Team Broadway loved the piece and
enhanced every nationality. But Deanna pulls a
psycho-bitch moment because she was upset her jacket
was left out in the rain. And time is up...it's 10AM
and Felix says, "when I set a goal, I do it. My
work speaks for itself...it's 50 hours of heart."
Both teams are standing on 50th and Broadway and Tommy
walks through them. He brought George Lois, the man
behind his 1st billboard and the "I want my MTV!" ad
campaigns to judge the billboard. The Broadway one to
George is a little weird, because no one knows the
Lion Crest. Tommy interjects that the Lion Crest is
being re-launched this year. Tommy likes the execution
of it, which is better than the blue and purple
skyline on the right side.
The right side, a/k/a 50th Street, is not that great
according to George. But he loved the TOMMYNY idea. He
is an idea guy. (Felix--"I am going to cry".) Tommy
says he is torn. He will talk to the teams at the
Style Forum. Back at the loft, both teams party and
booze it up after the completion of the first
assignment. Tommy sashays into the room in a Tommy
sport jacket. Wes spots Vlada and Jeff partying in the
hot tub. Jeff is married with 2 kids. Tommy--"This
isn't Circus Seximus!" Wes says "The Girls hate Vlada,
The guys hate Jeff--it's natural they would gravitate
together." Felix was uneasy. He felt that men could
endure of the manual labor. Chris C.--"This is just
one step of my dreams" Wes..."We gave it 100%...I
would be surprised if we lose."
The style forum is upon us. (Apprentice Copy #5)
Everyone is nervous. The teams enter the forum. Tommy
enters the forum and explains there will be debate
discussion and judgment.
He asks Team Broadway what their concept was: Risk,
the lioncrest and a celebration of artists. 50th
Street: A celebration of the "H line" of Pinstripes.
Next question: Team Broadway: what did you not like
about the other team's billboard? Deanna said: It's
looked like a public education project. The skyline is
lame. 50th Street: Tommy: I thought the signature was
Tommy asked who did the graphics of the Broadway sign.
Chris C said he did. Tommy explains you need to see
the signature from blocks away. I couldn't read it.
Hilfiger asked who changed the colors of the flag of
the 50th Street sign. Tommy said that those were his
favorite colors. Hilfiger said that you don't mess
with brand images. Coca-Cola and others don't change
it. "Don't mess with brands!"
Then Tommy asked who came up with the TOMMYNY idea.
Liz and Felix both take claim to the idea. Felix was
shocked (as was I). He said it was 100% his idea. Liz
said that it was part her idea during discussions with
the team. Felix, in a great move, says, "I'll show you
my original sketch." Tommy looks at it, and asks
again, "Whose idea was it?" She still was tap dancing
and then, in another great move, Tommy asked to the
team the same question. The entire team sells Liz out
and Liz was shocked. I wasn't. Great job, Felix.
Ok, time for Tommy's judgment. He felt both billboards
were underwhelming. Team Broadway's needed to have
every inch covered. And his name was unreadable. 50th
Street's sign was juvenile and not painted well. But
the TOMMYNY idea was outstanding...50th Street team
has won! They cheer...but it's over to Team Broadway.
Tommy explains to Team Broadway--you have failed me.
Chris--the Lion Logo didn't work. He told him to step
forward. He was asked to pick out two people who
participated the least. He picks Jessica and Amy.
Chris is told he is on thin ice.
Tommy asks what each person did for the team. Amy said
she was the organization, time management and kept
people fed and happy. Jessica said basically the same
thing. Tommy asked if she did anything else. She
explained about the Print International deal.
Tommy asked the other team members who did the least.
Shauna, James, and Deanna said Jessica. Chris, Rob,
and Wes said Amy.
Tommy says to Amy that he didn't see enough creativity
out of her. Jessica saved money, which showed
leadership. And in the worst copy of all, (Apprentice
Copy #6) Tommy says to Amy, "You are out of style,
please take the runway." (LAME CATCHPHRASE)
She was "ridiculously surprised. She calls it a loss
for "both teams". Tommy ends with this. "I am prepared
to put the global resources behind
one of you. At this point in time, I am petrified. We
have a lot of work to do."
Next week: The teams customize Lincoln Navigators for
a celebrity client.
My opinion. This is a bad Apprentice clone, down to
the catchphrase and
everything else. Let's see if the show improves.