ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – With thousands of stores worldwide and an internationally recognized name, Tommy Hilfiger is proud to be an Elmiran. His foundation is rooted in a community that inspired his drive and passion for fashion success.

“I love this community. It gave me a lot and will always be part of me. It really was the beginning of this journey,” Tommy Hilfiger told 18 News.

Tommy Hilfiger has thousands of stores across the globe and a booming online business, but one store remains close to Hilfiger’s heart. On the corner of Center Way and Market Street lies a Tommy Hilfiger store, celebrating 10 years in the Crystal City. Store owner Betsy Hilfiger is excited to celebrate this historic milestone by giving back.

“We’re celebrating 10 years of being open on Market Street and we’re celebrating that by giving back to the community,” Betsy Hilfiger said.

On Friday, he donated $10,000 to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier to commemorate the store’s birthday. Sharing his success with the Southern Tier community is something Hilfiger takes pride in because the region gave him a foundation. On that base, Hilfiger built an empire.

“He still gets up at six in the morning, working, working, working. It’s drive. It’s a passion for fashion,” fashion designer Andy Hilfiger said.

Starting with a series of stores in New York called People’s Place, Hilfiger quickly realized his design dreams. After a few financial setbacks, he moved to New York with a desire to put his designs in every corner of the globe. Now, he wants to inspire the next generation of fashion designers to pursue their passions and learn from his experiences.

“I’m just really honored and excited to unveil the Elmira college fashion business school,” Hilfiger added. “A lot of the students who graduate from artistic design schools venture out on their own and the majority of them fail because they’re missing that business acumen. We would like to begin with it.”

The Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Business School offers students either a concentration or minor in fashion marketing or fashion merchandising along with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

On his trip home, Hilfiger and his family unveiled part of the new Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Business School. The new Tommy Hilfiger Gallery, which honors the Hilfiger family’s connection and pride in their hometown, is located in Elmira College’s Hamilton Hall. On display in the gallery are selected memorabilia and fashion items, special awards, rock and roll artifacts, special photos, and pieces from the family’s history.

His parting message to the City of Elmira and to future designers who will soon enter the hallowed halls of Elmira College is to never give up on your dream.

“It’s very easy to give up along the way when hardships fall on you or when difficulties arise. Anything is possible. I think if I could do it, anyone could do it,” Hilfiger concluded.