Case Study: The Best and Worst Hip-Hop Fashion Lines
What first began as a tiny tee with the name Baby Phat (an acronym for “pretty, hot and tempting”) produced to electrify a Phat Farm runway show has become a premier brand for urban female consumers. The line launched in 1998 and was led by Kimora Lee Simmons, whose ability to merge high fashion with hip-hop proved to be a winning strategy for the brand. Like its “sibling” Phat Farm, Baby Phat was sold in 2004 to Kellwood Co. for $140 million and the brand expanded into other products including footwear, outerwear, accessories, handbags and lingerie.
Most up-to-date generated sales for the line is estimated to be near $980 million. But in August 2010, Simmons was ousted as Baby Phat’s creative director for reasons that were not confirmed though Simmons, who admitted that the move was “unexpected,” said she was moving on to focus on other ventures. Bentz notes that the continued success of Baby Phat as a brand has been due to Simmons’ “huge loyal following” and the fact that she “understood to lower the price points during the recession.”