Tommy Hilfiger's dyslexia 'motivated' him to build his fashion business

Tommy Hilfiger's dyslexia "motivated" him to build his fashion empire at the young age of 17 years old.

Tommy Hilfiger's dyslexia 'motivated' him to build his fashion business

Tommy Hilfiger's dyslexia "motivated" him to build his fashion empire.

The 65-year-old fashion designer - who launched his eponymous clothing range in 1985 - has admitted his "inability to read well" and feeling like the "dumb one" in his class at school inspired him to start up his luxury fashion house at the age of 17.

Speaking at the Literacy Partners gala Tommy recited a passage from his upcoming memoir 'American Dreamer' about his decision to enter into the fashion industry, which was reported on the New York Post website. He said: "I did it as a result of my inability to read well. I actually didn't realise I was dyslexic until later on in life, but I thought when I was in school that I was just one of the dumb ones. I felt like I was not going to succeed ... and I think it probably motivated me to think of what else I could do.

"I came to the conclusion when I was 17 that I should be in business."

The fashion mogul swiftly put his dream into action and began to fund his business by running his first shop from the boot of his car.

The New-York born style muse explained: "I drove five hours to New York City and I bought 20 pairs of bell-bottom jeans on the streets in the Village. I took them back to my school parking lot, sold them to my friends out of the trunk of my car, and with the profits I opened my first shop and my business started taking off."

Meanwhile, the father of five - who has daughters Alexandria, 31, Elizabeth, 23, Kathleen, 20, and son Ricky, 26, with his ex-wife Susan Cirona and young son Sebastian with his current spouse Dee - has revealed he found writing the memoir, which reflects on his over 30-year career in the fashion industry "therapeutic".

Speaking previously about the written work, he said: "'American Dreamer' is a reflection on my experiences in the fashion industry from the last 30-plus years. It has been incredible to look back on the moments that have defined both my career and my personal life - from my childhood and origins in the fashion world to my enduring passion for pop culture and America. It's been months and months of writing. It's like therapy.

"I remember a lot from Max's and Studio 54 - all of that period. It's been fun. The 70s, to me, were crazy. We'd go to Max's Kansas City and Studio 54. It was people from fashion, music - everyone was there. It was all night, all night."

'American Dreamer', written in collaboration with Peter Knobler, will be released November this year.

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