In 2019, the fashion industry became a collaborative hub where brands fueled their collections from working with other popular fashion lines. From Fila and Fendi partnering up to the rumored Dior and Jordan collab in 2020, there is a resurgence of nostalgia itching it’s way back into today’s popular designs.

This year, 2000’s phenomenon Baby Phat announced that it would be releasing a new collection with founder, Kimora Lee Simmons who brought her daughters Ming and Aoki on to consult for the brand. Together, the mother-daughter duo would go on to collaborate with global retailer Forever 21 to drop two collections before the year ends. From its original logo to including styles like velour jumpsuits and body chains, the new BabyPhat pieces embody a 00’s flair with an updated twist.

“I’m a member of a generation that can’t get enough of 2000s styles.” – Ming Lee Simmons.

What was once an early 2000’s craze is now drawing the same infatuation but, from a new generation. ESSENCE got a chance to chat with Kimora and Ming Lee Simmons about the eventual year Baby Phat has had.

ESSENCE: How has it been being able to work with your mom and sister in re-branding Baby Phat?

MLS: It’s been an eye-opening experience. Baby Phat loomed large in our childhoods as our family’s business, so we both feel the weight of expectation. The brand holds a significance and represents a lot to so many people who take pride and ownership in supporting it. We’ve really rolled up our sleeves to continue in our mom’s footsteps. Working together and having a say is energizing.

ESSENCE: With this second big drop, what can we expect?

MLS: We’re excited to make Baby Phat accessible to everyone, everywhere. Our partnership with Forever 21 was a great opportunity to cater to a chic audience and offer something to everyone. Our new drop on has a similar approach. They’re easy separates that can be layered and incorporated into anyone’s wardrobe.

ESSENCE: Why do you think 2000’s style is remaining relevant?

MLS: I’m a member of a generation that can’t get enough of 2000s styles even though we were babies when it emerged. There was something seamless about the way that music, fashion and pop culture flowed together. I believe that’s the vibe we’re all chasing 20 years later. Part of the fun of a direct to consumer brand is that you can release a clothing drop the same way musicians release music instantaneously. It’s a lifestyle play.

ESSENCE: You’ve been able to have your hands in luxe fashion as well as streetwear, why did you decide to come back to Baby Phat?

KLS: Baby Phat was really a movement – it allowed a lot of people to see themselves in fashion in a way that they never had before. We defined AND invented urban wear and streetwear for women. It didn’t exist for women before that, and any time you can bring representation to a once-ignored community, that makes its mark.

Baby Phat is iconic because we always celebrated inclusivity and we’ve always designed from a POV that embraced women of all colors. We did it back when we started in the late 90s when diversity wasn’t a “trend”, so I feel like we come at it in a much more authentic way than a lot of brands out there today.

“We did it back when we started in the late 90s when diversity wasn’t a “trend”, so I feel like we come at it in a much more authentic way than a lot of brands out there today.” – Kimora Lee Simmons.

ESSENCE: What have your daughters taught you that you have incorporated into this collection?

KLS: Both Ming Lee and Aoki Lee hugely influenced to the rebirth of what we’re calling Baby Phat 2.0. They are living and breathing the lifestyle and have an absolute hand on how their generation shops with and through social media. The most recent drop on has really showcased the way they move through their lives fearlessly and with confidence.

ESSENCE: What made Forever 21 the right brand to partner with?

KLS: Working with Forever21 was a great way to connect with a different audience and we value the partnership. We are turning our attention to our D2C brand and mixing the Baby Phat DNA and legacy with a fresh spin for a new audience who realizes that this is their time. Between the Baby Phat direct to consumer line and our Forever 21 assortment, we have price points that are accessible to everyone, and we’re able to offer up the newest styles with lightening speed drops.

Shop the F21 X Baby Phat collection here.


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