Spotlight: Russell Simmons

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Russell Simmons is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the art and entertainment industry today. In the 80’s Simmons launched his career as the founder of Def Jam Records–inspiring a new generation of hip-hop music. Russell and co-founder Rick Rubin brought rap music/hip-hop to new heights, signing well-known artists like DMC, Beastie Boys, Jay Z, Foxy Brown and Ludacris.

As the savvy entrepreneur that he is, Simmons didn’t stop at just a record label. He soon ventured into the film, television and fashion industries. In the 90’s he got into the film and television industry with his production company, Lathan Media, which was known for the HBO series “Def Comedy Jam,” and Def Poetry, MTV series “Runs House,” and “The Nutty Professor.”

At the same time Simmons decided to make his mark in the fashion world with the urban, hip-hop influenced label, Phat Farm. Phat Farm, a division of Phat fashions began in 1992 from a small NY city showroom and has evolved into a multi-million dollar business.

The line was meant to appeal to a mass market, symbolizing men’s contemporary American culture by mixing sporty urban street fashion with a hint of the classic Ivy League preppy look. The collection is made up of casual Tee’s, braided and argyle knitted shirts, trousers, jeans, sportswear, men’s accessories, perfume and eyewear.

Simmons used his background and connections in the music industry to promote the label by having his rap artists wear Phat Fashions on stage during performances. Check out Phat Farm men’s fashions here

Phat Farm has since extended into three additional lines: XV, which is a more casual hip-hop inspired line aimed at an older male market; Atman, an upper scale, pricier line made of cashmere hoodies embroidered with yoga inspired images; and Russell
Simmons, a line of sleek and stylish pinstripe suits.

Most recently in 2010 Simmons developed and launched the line, Argyleculture, which can be found at Macy’s. Argyleculture is meant for a slightly more mature market then Phat farm. Russell explains in that once a young man outgrew a clothing line like Phat Farm there were no alternative clothes for them to wear. Phat Farm was meant for the 16-24yr old market, while Argyleculture extends beyond this. The line is made of brightly coloured seperates, argyle sweaters, sweater vests, jeans, casual trousers, suiting and sports jackets.
 
  
 

Simmons and his former wife (and fashion model) Kimora Lee Simmons also started the women’s and girl’s version of Phat Farm that we all know as Baby Phat. The line has been hugely successful in retail stores across the globe.

It is undeniable how driven, smart and successful this man is. The Huffington Post remarks how “Russell and his ventures are driven by a personal and corporate belief that hip-hop is an enormously influential agent for social change, which could be responsibly and proactively utilized to fight the war on poverty and ignorance…”

It is clear that he is using every means possible from music, television and film, to fashion, literature and philanthropy in order to meet this goal.

Russell has been connected with various social causes and philanthropic efforts within the African American and hip-hop community. He founded the Rush Philanthropic Arts foundation, dedicated to providing disadvantaged urban youth with access to the arts as well as opportunities for struggling artists of colour. He also founded the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) and wrote a New York Times Best Seller entitled “Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in you to Achieve Happiness and Success.

His booked was actually featured on the Oprah Winfrey show and you know you’ve done well for yourself once you’ve managed to catch the attention of THE Oprah Winfrey.

COMMENTS

Steffi at 23 Aug 2011

Cool! That's a cvleer way of looking at it!

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