Paging 1999! Forever 21 Launches Collaboration with Baby Phat — See the Nostalgic Looks
Forever 21 x Baby Phat is available online and in stores now
In March, former model Kimora Lee Simmons Leissner told PEOPLE she was planning on relaunching her seminal fashion brand Baby Phat sometime this summer — and it looks like day is here!
Fast fashion retailer Forever 21 teased this week the return of Baby Phat, announcing that a new line — Forever 21 x Baby Phat — from the brand would be hitting stores Thursday.
Looks from the nostalgic collection are already on the brand’s website. They feature everything from leopard print biker shorts and matching cropped camis to graphic shirts distressed jeans, tube tops, mini skirts, body suits, kimonos, stretch satin pencil skirts, and more
A sea of accessories are in the line too, including heart hoop earrings, faux suede rhinestone chokers, square tinted sunglasses, metallic platform sneakers, rhinestone hair clips, pendant necklaces, and mesh fanny packs (among others).
Baby Phat helped put hip hop-inspired women’s fashion at the forefront of pop culture.
The brand had originally launched in 1999 as a subsidiary of then-husband Russell Simmons’ Phat Fashions line. Thanks to some signature pieces — like the line’s signature baby tee featuring the Baby Phat rhinestone cat and a pink tufted flip phone — and major celebrity endorsements (from Britney Spears, Alicia Keys and more), it became a popular line of the aughts.
However, Simmons Leissner exited from her long-held role as Creative Director in 2010 — tumultuously, it had been reported at the time — as it became a part of the Kellwood Company.
All that is in the past now. “It’s the rebirth of my baby,” she told PEOPLE in March.
Simmons Leissner brought her two teen daughters, Ming, 19, and Aoki, 16, (with ex-husband Russell Simmons) along with her to help rebuild and relaunch Baby Phat into the world. (She’s also mom to Kenzo Lee, 9, with ex actor Djimon Hounsou, and Wolfe Lee Leissner, 3, with investment banker husband Tim Leissner.)
Ming and Aoki also star in the campaign photos for the line, as do Diddy’s twin daughters Jessie And D’Lila Combs, who are close family friends.
“Here we are again, 20 years later in 2019, and now [my daughters] are with me taking the reigns,” she told PEOPLE. “This is a woman-owned company, run by me and my daughters. I’ve been in fashion for 30 years. But now it’s about passing the torch from one to the next.”
The fashion designer went on to say her daughters, who often used to join her on the Baby Phat runways as young girls, will help her translates Baby Phat’s core ideas to the next generation.
“It’s going to be an ode to the past but then they will pick it up where we left off,” she said. “It’s all going to be still cool, still sexy and still fun.”
“They are involved in every aspect of the business,” she explained. “Ming studies business and fashion in college in New York, and Aoki is in Los Angeles and will be in college next year. They’re very much innovators and influencers. We’re like the Three Musketeers.”
Forever 21 x Baby Phat is available online and in stores now.
“Baby Phat is always front and center when you think of iconic streetwear brands,” Linda Chang, VP of Merchandising for Forever 21, said in a statement. “We are so thrilled to be a part of a relaunch for a brand that carved the way for women in streetwear and fashion. It has been an honor to work with Kimora Lee Simmons and her daughters, Ming Lee & Aoki Lee, on this project, and we can’t wait to help customers rediscover a legendary brand.”