Tommy Hilfiger’s style-centric project part of fight against breast cancer

Tetta Ortiz Matera
Tommy Hilfiger’s style-centric project part of fight against breast cancer
The designer launches the limited edition BHI handbag with Naomi Watts as the face of the campaign

MANILA, Philippines  Every year, people all over the world celebrate October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a survivor, this time of the year is special as it is for the countless women (and men) who have been affected by this disease, one way or another.

Truth be told, I hardly knew anything about breast cancer until I experienced it firsthand – its numerous challenges apart from the often very frightful portrayal of treatments and their side effects in media, and the generous support of countless individuals and organizations who tirelessly raise funds for awareness and cure, year in, year out.

The fashion and beauty industries have led several of the game-changing initiatives in fighting breast cancer. Some of the biggest, highly influential, well-loved brands have established projects often in partnership with non-government foundations (NGF) that create meaningful, long-lasting solutions to problems faced by those suffering from the disease especially those in most need. One of the brands actively engaged in this endeavor is the iconic American brand Tommy Hilfiger.

For the past 8 years, Tommy Hilfiger has partnered with Breast Health International (BHI), a leading NGF that advances breast cancer research and treatment, in assisting women with breast cancer and their families to address unique problems overlooked by the medical system and certainly not covered by insurance.

Many of the women suspected of or have been diagnosed with breast cancer often lack the financial means to pay for transportation to a medical appointment or childcare during treatment. While these issues seem small compared to the monumental task of finding a cure, they are practical day-to-day concerns that invariably determines whether a woman goes for a consult or not, undergoes treatment or not, fights to live or gives up to die.

For zeroing in on these life-saving undertakings, I applaud Tommy Hilfiger and BHI. Their project “Fund For Living” (FFL) has helped women all over the world make the right and timely choices and provide them with basic support such as transport and childcare to ensure their full recovery.

The very passionate Mr. Tommy Hilfiger has sought the help of some of his closest friends in the fashion and entertainment industries to produce some of the best and most effective breast cancer awareness campaigns today.

Combining fashion, social awareness, purposeful action and a celebration of women, this year’s installment, features acclaimed actress and BHI ambassador Naomi Watts wearing the Limited Edition BHI handbag photographed by famed fashion lensman Patrick Demarchelier.

THE NEW BAG. Tommy Hilfiger releases the BHI handbag, and Naomi Watts stars in the campaign

The specially designed handbag in navy blue pebbled Italian leather with tan accents, elegant red piping, asymmetrical pockets, gold hardware, tri-colored tassel keychain, and detachable strap is versatile, classic American with a cool aesthetic and effortlessly chic appeal.

The handbag debuted exclusively this month on and is sold in select stores worldwide; for every bag sold, $100 (or the equivalent thereof) will be donated to the Funds for Living program.

THE MASTER. Patrick Demarchelier shoots the campaign featuring Naomi Watts

Past participants in the Funds for Living program include some of the most impressive women in fashion and entertainment; original supermodels Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen (now a photographer), Carla Bruni (former French First Lady) and Milla Jovovich (actress) were all former ambassadors.

Joining them are America’s sweethearts Renee Zellweger and Drew Barrymore (who photographed French singer Charlotte Gainsbourg for a previous BHI campaign), Italian actresses Claudia Gerini and Cristiana Capotondi.

Tommy Hilfiger is proud of his longstanding relationship with Breast Health International and is very pleased that longtime friend Naomi Watts obliged to be 2014’s BHI global ambassador with Patrick Demarchelier returning to shoot this year’s campaign.

THE FACE. Naomi Watts appears in Tommy Hilfiger's new campaign

“I am honored to be a part of this campaign alongside Tommy, Patrick and Breast Health International,” said Naomi Watts. “ This initiative generates much-needed awareness for women’s health and raises significant funds to support families battling breast cancer. It means a great deal to me to be able to support such an admirable cause and I am determined to highlight the importance of early detection. With two young children I know how hectic life can be, but it only takes a few minutes to get a check-up,” added the actress in a release. 

Well said, Miss Watts. With one in 8 American women predicted to be diagnosed with breast cancer in the course of their lifetime and the Philippines with the most number of breast cancer cases in Southeast Asia, the movement to increase awareness, promote early detection, provide treatment and extend assistance beyond the medical protocol needs all the help it can get.

The commitment of Mr. Tommy Hilfiger and his brand along with that of his influential friends must be echoed across the globe so one day breast cancer will no longer bear a stigma or carry a death wish but instead foster genuine hope and a veritable cure. –

Tommy Hilfiger is exclusively distributed in the by Store Specialists, Incorporated. Stores are located at Greenbelt 5, Rustan’s Makati, Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Newport Mall Resorts World Manila, Abreeza Mall and Rustan’s Tower Shangri-la Mall

Tetta Ortiz Matera is a former model, lifestyle columnist, breast cancer survivor, fitness enthusiast, mother of two, and lover of life who now resides in Tokyo. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @tettaortiz

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