Hip-hop fashion and music mogul Russell Simmons said it was the first time he ever sued a partner. But his suit against a Hong Kong clothing distributor for $55 million over a breach of contract involving SImmons´s "American Classics By Russell Simmons" and "Russell Simmons Argyle Culture" clothing brands was over before it started. Days after the suit was filed, Simmons and Hong Kong-based apparel licensing company Li & Fung, USA, settled out of court.
"We have reached a mutually agreeable resolution in which all parties have agreed to maintain in confidence," announced Simmons.
According to Simmons, 54, he partnered with Li & Fung, USA to help him to market and distribute the Argyle Culture brand. His lawsuit says Li failed to meet its contractual promises.
At the same time of the suit, Simmons was also celebrating a new deal with Macy´s. His Argyle Culture clothing line for men is now available at Macy’s department stores. According to fashion expert Belinda Trotter James, Simmons’s lawsuit should not have any negative fallout for the introduction of Argyle Culture. "Russell's lawsuit against a Hong Kong clothing distributor should have nothing to do with the launch of his new line. If the public likes his new line, they will buy it," says James, Editor-in-Chief of Modelocity Online. "Russell has always been an innovator and he will prevail because of his unique vision. What he is going through now is just labor pains. This too shall pass."
The line is targeted at an older, urban man. The new fall line includes preppy sweaters, button-down shirts, casual dress pants and jeans. He says it is for the former wearers of Phat Farm, as they mature. He launched the groundbreaking Phat Farm clothing line in 1992, which most consider to be the pioneer of hip-hop clothing brands. In 2004, Simmons sold the brand to Kellwood for $140 million in cash.
Simmon´s former wife and partner, Kimora Lee Simmons, is rumored to be mulling a lawsuit against Kellwood. She has remained onboard after the sale of Phat Farm and Baby Phat as principal creative arbiter for Baby Phat. Last month she was released from Kellwood.
Clothing is just one of Russell Simmons’s many ventures. He is founder and chief executive officer of Rush Communications LLC, an investment holding company. He built his empire from introducing the world to hip-hop music. In 1984, Simmons co-founded the legendary Def Jam Record label, which paved the way for hip-hop music´s global musical success.