Tommy Hilfiger has rock music to thank for his illustrious career as a fashion designer. Without it, as he explained this week when he invited Billboard to his studio, he wouldn’t have had the inspiration to open up his first store at age 18.

Tommy Hilfiger: Behind the Seams Gallery

His “love and obsession with rock music” began with being a fan of some iconic acts—most notably the Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Doors amongst others.

Hilfiger knew he wasn’t going to be a musician himself. But he appreciated their looks and sense of style. So in upstate New York he opened up a place to sell clothes fit for the likes of Jimi Hendrix—bell bottom pants and fringe tops.

From Michael Jackson to Katy Perry and Adam Levine, many pop stars have since worn his clothes throughout the years. Hilfiger says he’s noticed that mega stars like them are, “just as interested in fashion as they are music.”

In addition to Billboard’s office visit, Hilfiger also opened the backstage doors to his Spring 2014 runway show for New York Fashion Week. Watch the chaotic (yet gorgeous) clip of that below:

Tommy says that this line is ‘70s surf culture-inspired, noting that, “If you look back at the Beach Boys and the surfers in the ‘70s, there was a certain look, a certain attitude that they carried. And it was very California based. “