When Did Phat Farm Begin?

The answer to the question “When Did Phat Farm Begin?” will compel you to read an interesting story about love, family, and friendship. A clothing company that was started by Russell Simmons in 1992, Phat Farm is one of the companies under Rush Communications. Rush is Simmons childhood nickname. Phat Farm’s sister company, Baby Phat, is also under this same umbrella company and was started in 1993. The combination of the Phat Farm and Baby Phat labels make up Phat Fashions LLC, which is one of the most successful African American-owned media companies in the U.S.

Phat Farm began in 1992, which was a line of hip-hop clothing for men that were sold at a small shop on Prince Street in Manhattan's trendy SoHo district. Simmons teamed up with Marc Bagutta, who owned his own Soho boutique. Then he hired designers, two inexperienced 22-year-old former skateboarding graffiti artists named Alyasha Jibtil Owerka-Moore and Eli Morgan Gesner. Phat Farm generated about $2 million in sales during the first year of operation.  The clothing line was subsequently picked up by specialty stores across the country. By this time, Phat Farm began to acheive tremendous growth and gain popularity within the rapper community as well as the average urban man.

In 1998, after five years of dating, Russell Simmons married model Kimora Lee. With Kimora’s fashion sense and fierce competiveness, Baby Phat re-launched its women and children’s clothing line. Simmons and Lee partnered with his younger brother, Joey, otherwise known as “Run” of the group Run-DMC.

In addition to partnering with his wife, Russell Simmons tries to keep his business close to home. Kenny Lee, his driver, is a childhood friend. Russell and Kimora’s daughters are now models for the the girl’s line of Baby Phat, which sells in department stores nationwide.  A few of his other employees came from his old neighborhood in Queens or through personal recommendations.  He also likes to promote people from within, such as Myorr Janha, who started out as an intern and is now the vice-president for marketing.

Business Week: Phat Farm's Family Affair

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