Having reached the pinnacle of his sport, the five-time world drivers' champion Lewis Hamilton is now looking to the future.
In an exclusive interview with The National on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton revealed that his "dream" is to launch his own fashion label.
“The ultimate goal would be for me to one day have my own brand,” he says. “That’s my goal. That’s the dream.”
While he has always had an interest in fashion, he says he “caught the bug, instantly” after attending his first Paris Fashion Week. “I really loved the whole energy… I was fascinated with what was going on in the background.”
This fascination with fashion culminated in the unveiling in September of a collection designed in collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger. Hamilton, who is a global ambassador for the Tommy Hilfiger brand, says he was heavily involved in the design of the TommyXLewis fall 2018 collection, which consists of racing-inspired menswear, backpacks, caps, footwear and even underwear and socks.
"They wanted me to be involved, but I’m not sure they expected me to be as eagerly involved as I was," he says.
The items are inspired by Hamilton's own bold, colourful, “urban chic” styling, but also make reference to more personal elements, such as his tattoos and his lucky race number - 44.
The collection’s unique logo features the brand’s flag motif positioned between Hamilton’s initials in Old English Gothic typeset, inspired by the font used for his personal body art.
A further two collections with Tommy are already in the pipeline.
While Hamilton had to juggle the launch of the collection with the end of the racing season, he says that it has always been important for him to have interests beyond the world of racing.
“It’s always been super important for me to be able to do something outside of motorsport, because you can’t wake up thinking about racing every day.
"There are a lot of drivers here, particularly the older drivers, who are like: ‘This is how you have to be to be a racing driver; this is how I was so this is how you have to be.’ Which is ridiculous. Everybody has their own way and style of doing things and everybody is unique in their own way."
Lewis Hamilton's bold fashion choices
“For me, I really find that tapping into my creative side is what makes me happy; and also focusing on what comes afterwards. It’s not a bad thing, but I know racing like the back of my hand. I could stay here for the rest of my life, not racing but involved in the sport in some way. I could talk everyone’s ears off about this, because I know about the sport as well as anyone else, if not better, in many respects.
"But that would be easy for me. I like being challenged. So learning something else from the ground up, is something I want to do.”
He admits to being unsure, as yet, as to what a Lewis Hamilton clothing label would look like, and how he will set himself apart in an already crowded market.
“There are so many brands that are trying to be a Tommy Hilfiger or trying to be an Off White, so I haven’t figured that out yet. Hopefully, I’ll be on the pathway in the next couple of years, maybe? How do you make it stand out? That’s the million dollar question.”
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix