After fourteen years, Kimora Lee Simmons is saying farewell to the Baby Phat brand. The official statement says that Simmons will split from Baby Phat's parent company, Kellwood Company, on September 1st.
Via E! Online/Global Grind:
"After 14 years of conceiving and nurturing Baby Phat, it's time for me to move on and further expand my other businesses and create a new phenomenon," Simmons says. "I adore all those who have faithfully been with me since the beginning."
Wow. Kimora's celebrity image was so purposefully integrated with the Baby Phat brand that her departure is confusing and startling---especially when you consider her recent appointment as Creative Director of Phat Fashions. AND the fact that she starred in the vast majority of the Baby Phat ads. AND the fact that she, along with several other women, got a tattoo of the Baby Phat cat logo on her body. She built that brand from the ground up, invested everything into it and was so overwhelmingly proud of its success.
I remember being one of the first (I swear!) to wear the Baby Phat shirt while a Junior in high school, and though as I grew older Baby Phat labels were replaced by Tracy Reese and Rachel Roy, I still enjoyed attending the Baby Phat show every year. For me, it was one of the highlights of Fashion Week.
When their amazing PR rep, B.J. Coleman left, the atmosphere at the shows changed a bit and last Fashion Week (Fall 2010), there wasn't a runway show for Baby Phat at all. Fast-forward seven months and Kimora Lee is stepping away from the brand. Hmmm...
What do you think about her (seemingly) sudden departure? Do you think Baby Phat will survive without Kimora as the Creative Director...and the face? Did you see this coming?