I think out of all the brands, this was my oldest brothers favourite! I kid you not, there would be days that I’d see him in head to toe ROCAWEAR. I have the photos to prove it but I don’t want him to hate me hahaha. From its beginnings, ROCAWEAR planned on being the biggest player in this game we call fashion – but more specifically streetwear. They were on the way to becoming an international company that would compete with the biggest brands of our generation. I am talking Supreme, Dsquared, Comme des Garcon, bathing ape etc. So my question is, where did it all go wrong? Right now ROCAWEAR should be dominating the streetwear scene, we should be looking to them for our urban style outfits, not the likes of Givenchy and off white.
This brand had so much potential because ROCAWEAR was more than just your average fashion brand but a lifestyle. A lifestyle that everyone aspired to – one including; private jets, yachts, and penthouse suites but on top of that, it was also a community that was all about goodwill, and never forgetting your roots. That is what ROCAWEAR stood for. Style, music, the high life, sex appeal. They instinctively knew the definition of the latest trends and fashion because they lived them. From the streets to the design studio, they knew trust started with the people, so that’s where they took their inspiration from. They watched the trends on the New York City streets, then translated these into fresh looks that rocked that fashion world. Showing up on the runways in Milan, New York, London and Paris, ROCAWEAR introduced a new, casual glamour with a streetwise sensibility. They didn’t just sell clothes, they sold an image—and the brand took off, becoming one of the hottest in 90s fashion and an international sensation!
This was ROCAWEARS 20th anniversary collection;
The crazy thing is that I don’t hate the collection, everything about it actually has potential. But it’s the same thing with Akademiks. The entire team need to be FIRED. The design team, the branding team, marketing team, social media team. EVERYONE. They all need to get in the bing because how can they disgrace a brand that was once the king of the game like this!! Personally, I think if Jay Z gives me the opportunity to handle his brand, with my team of creatives, I could take ROCAWEAR to different levels. And the crazy thing is that I’m literally not even being cocky. I’m just speaking straight facts.
Times like this where people are coming to support black-owned brands, where streetwear and urban wear is dominating the scene, where 90s fashion is prominent in everyone’s wardrobes. Right now ROCAWEAR should be taking advantage but they’re here just making clothes for the purpose of making clothes. There is ZERO passion and that’s the thing that pisses me off. You can tell that no detailed market research has been done whatsoever because these are clothes that my dad and uncles would wear, not people of this generation. It’s sad really. The core values of ROCAWEAR that I previously describe in this post no longer live in the brand we see today.
Now let’s compare it to past campaigns
ARE YOU GUYS SEEING THE DIFFERENCE!!!!! Look at the passion that was placed in their old campaigns! Look at the lifestyle, the brand image, everything. I mean they had Naomi model for them yet in 2019 they think it’s appropriate to make DJ Khaled the brand ambassador??? You really can’t write this shit. I just pray that ROCAWEAR finally wake up one day and become the brand that it was set to be back when it first launched because really and truly this is not it!
As you can see the Simmons’ dominated the 90s/ early 2000s. They were the OG mogul family. They practically paved the way for the Kardashian/ Jenner clan. Phat Farm was a fashion line founded by hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons aka the founder of Def Jam record label in 1992. The name Phat Farm to me was perfect for the times, – a hip- hop slang word that urban dictionary would describe as something “cool, pretty hot or tempting”
Before Mr Simmons founded Phat Farm in 1992, his main focus was music. With his partner Rick Rubin, he launched Def Jam Records signing huge rap musicians like The Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and of course, Run-D.M.C. Rush Communications was soon created thereafter and housed Phat Farm, a clothing line Simmons sold at a small shop in New York’s Soho district. With the help of Marc Bagguta, who ran the boutique, and 22-year-old skateboarders Alyasha Jibril Owerka-Moore and Eli Morgan Gesner, who became designers for the brand, Russell Simmons managed to turn Phat Farm into one of the most iconic urban brands to ever grace the earth. You can tell that Russell’s music background had a huge influence in how he branded phat farm as well as the clothing he provided. The line was an upscale mix of sporty urban fashion with elements of the classic ivy league prep student – he was a man who paired baggy jeans with crisp white sweaters and somehow made it look good! But now if I see someone dressed like that I instantly cringe, that fashion was left in the 90s and that is where it should stay for the rest of eternity.
It needs to be taken into consideration that, Simmons once admitted that Phat Farm was not an immediate success, he lost almost $10 million during the first six years but he says that once things took off, they really took off, helping to boost his net worth up to $300 million.
This man was a pivotal player in this so-called “urban wear” fashion movement in the late 1990s as the founder of Phat Farm which over time eventually became the uniform for hip-hop fans. Urban streetwear brands were seen as an extension of hip-hop artists’ fashion influence, as musicians were not only aspirational style icons, but also educators, name-dropping luxury designers like Versace in their anthems and cultivating a new generation of label lovers.
In the late ’90s and early ’00s, Phat Farm and Baby Phat reigned supreme alongside Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren (two brands that eventually embraced hip-hop’s appreciation) and were sold at mainstream stores like Macy’s. Their runway shows at New York Fashion Week were pop-culture happenings that helped merge the worlds of fashion and celebrity, and were attended by everyone from Lil Kim to Brittany Murphy to Vanessa Williams. However, sadly, today, Phat Farm ceases to exist, no Instagram feed, no Twitter account. The brand isn’t even listed among Kellwood Apparel’s repertoire – the company whom Simmons sold the company to for $140 million back in 2004, and an inquiry to the Kellwood Apparel office was met with, “What’s a fat fashion?” by the receptionist, who then transferred the call to voicemail.
Do you think phat fam would succeed in today’s fashion society if they were to make a comeback like baby phat?
As well as Pastry, Baby phat is also another brand that reminds me so much of my childhood. I was a die-hard Simmons fan growing up, I watched every single one of their reality tv shows. Watching Life in the fab lane made me crave a career in fashion, more specifically, a career as a fashion designer. Kimora Lee had 8 year old me thinking that I could conquer the fashion industry – I remember seeing her close every baby phat show and I’d tell my brothers “that’s gonna be me one day.” I used to spend my weekends and holidays sketching clothing designs and my brother ended up keeping a folder of every design I ever made good or bad (he’s honestly been my biggest supporter and fan from the very second I stepped foot into this world!). Kimora Lee was the BOSS ASS BITCH of the 2000s and no one can ever tell me different!!!
Before there was Fashion Nova, there was Baby Phat – the women’s streetwear brand that epitomized everything we hate and love about early 2000s fashion; low rise jeans, velour tracksuits, flip phones, jewelled belts, boot cut jeans, mini skirts and basically everything you identify the early 2000s with! Baby phat didn’t follow trends, they started them. The streetwear brand began 22 years ago in 1998 as an extension of the Phat Farm men’s label under Mr Russell Simmons’ Phat Fashions company. Like I mentioned in my Pastry post, at the time women’s streetwear brands hardly existed and the ones that did were just feminized version of the men’s and their ads all seemed to cater to the male gaze – in literature, from a masculine, heterosexual perspective that presents and represents women as sexual objects for the pleasure of the male viewer, however, what was different about Baby Phat was the fact that they centred women. It was created and designed by a woman who was fiercely independent and strong! Like I said before Kimora Lee was the BOSS ASS BITCH of the 2000s and no one can ever tell me different! Women’s empowerment was at the core of the Baby Phat from the start. Ads presented Kimora living the Fab life, whilst men catered to her! In the world of Baby Phat, Kimora was THE President.
But the one thing that I loved the most about this brand growing up was simply the fact that they brought so much empowerment to black women in a time where we were not represented in the industry. Baby Phat runway shows were a celebration of black fashion, before the rest of the industry deemed it “cool”. Kimora hired black models, black designers and she even tapped rappers like Lil Kim to walk in the fashion show, she invited black magazine editors to sit front row, and she even hired a black publicist. Let’s also not forget just how innovative Baby Phat was, Kimora released a signature pink Baby Phat Prepaid Rush Visa Card which offered a 10% discount on online Baby Phat purchases, she was the first designer to show at Radio City Music Hall in 2006 and became the first designer to livestream her show via Jumbotron in Times Square in 2009, giving spectators an “in” on a typically exclusive event (and a now-common practice for brands reaching audiences online). I will keep repeating it so you can all get it into your heads, Kimora Lee was the BOSS ASS BITCH of the 2000s and no one can ever tell me different! A TRUE QUEEN!
Unlike Pastry, Baby Phat is now well and truly back in business. Last year in 2019 it made it’s comeback with Kimora’s daughters Aoki and Ming being the stars of the campaign. Since its initial partnership and launch with Forever 21 in December of 2019, the brand has released solo collections, and now, it has partnered with Footlocker for its first-ever women’s collection.