The iconic look of velour track suits, diamond studded sunglasses, and power blue is all apart of early 2000s streetwear. In fact, these looks belong to the reign of Baby Phat, a women’s streetwear brand launched by Phat Farm. Kimora Lee Simmons was the face, guru, and creative director behind the brand. She always focused on creating a place for women to feel sexy and live a sexy life by extending the brand to fragrances, and even decor. Unfortunately, in 2004 the brand was sold by her then-husband, Russell Simmons, to Kellwood Company for $140 million. In 2010, Simmons made the decision to finally leave the brand and launched her own line in 2013. Nearly a decade later, Simmons has gone through the struggle to repurchase the brand and relaunch it to help women of this generation.
When I created Baby Phat 20 years ago, it was because women – especially women of color – had no voice at all in the streetwear category,” Simmons said. “It’s in our DNA that this brand is created for women, by women – which was rare then and still is today once you really look closely at who truly owns and controls many womenswear brands on the market.”
Baby Phat’s surprise return came through the collaboration with Forever 21. The two companies released about 18 pieces on June 13th, which consisted of tube tops, biker shorts, and miniskirts. Although, the collection lacked in sex appeal and fans weren’t happy about it. Everyone was expecting pieces that resembled the outfits from the past that were worn by Lil Kim and Aaliyah.
The official relaunch occurred on December 5th on their website. This collection also doesn’t have the same sex appeal, but the legendary velour tracksuits were released so there weren’t any complaints this time. Furthermore, this is only considered the first drop, or the “sports,” section of the collection. There were roughly 10-15 pieces ranging from $70 - $150 in price. The Baby Phat cat is stamped on most of the items, including a pair of runner’s shorts.
Another key to this particular relaunch is the hands-on family affair. Simmons has made it a priority to involve both her daughters, Ming Lee and Aoki Lee. The brand itself has been family oriented since the beginning. As stated before, Simmons was able to director, particularly since the brand belonged to her husband. Now she hopes to build the brand further with e-commerce, social media, and the insight of her two daughters.
In an interview with Refinery 29, she states, “I think it’s a huge opportunity to teach by example: to always keep growing and pushing yourself to evolve. Baby Phat is our family business in a lot of ways, and I’m excited for them to participate in a hands-on way to rebuild it alongside me.” She continued, “Our strategy is tied to embracing all the exciting things that have happened in the market so that Ming Lee and Aoki Lee can tell their story to a new generation young women, some of whom may not have even been born during our first go around.”
If you want to go through the emotion of nostalgia, check out the collection yourself at babyphat.com!