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The Return of Baby Phat: What’s Good?

The glitz and hood rich glam of the late ’90s and Y2K has come back to snatch our edges straight off this year, with the announcement of the return of Baby Phat by Kimora Lee Simmons. This news flash came about at the beginning of March, in honor of Women’s History Month, as the brand itself was always an ode to women and a pioneer in the intersectional feminism within fashion.

As many could imagine, the news shook the world and left us all asking for more. After dropping nothing but a gif of their iconic cat logo to take part in the announcement, one could not help but wonder what the brands’ next move is.

Back in my day (literally cannot believe that I can say this now), Baby Phat embodied luxury, glamour, and sex appeal, specifically to women of color. This was a time in which WOC needed this reassurance the most, as they were rarely represented in any form of mainstream media. The fact that Lee Simons led such a successful black-owned business at the time was monumental in the fashion world. What was even more iconic was that, while the brand sold luxury, it was priced affordably to reach the communities of color that it focused on representing so well.

The key elements to the branding of Baby Phat were furs, funky embroidery, gold, and skin-tight denim pieces. These aspects were all in favor of the Hip-Hop glam scene of the 2000s, which is presently creeping its way back to relevancy in 2019. With the nostalgia of the 2000s becoming mainstream again, I’m personally curious to see how the brand will work with the times at hand.

Since Baby Phat is not the only Y2K brand to have made a comeback as of late, its success rate can be easily compared to those who have taken the plunge before it, like Juicy Couture. The equally iconic velour sweatsuit brand, known for its overlap of sexy, casual, looks all in one came back for a revamp in 2017.

While the rebranding focused on reviving the classic two-piece sweatsuit look, it also took up more trendy efforts to gain a larger demographic such as mimicking the logos of current brands such as Pretty Little Thing, Fila, and Off-White. While we all know fashion is cyclical in nature, and almost nothing is 100% original, it was a bit off-putting to me as a consumer to see a brand like Juicy Couture mimic trends in place. This is because a comeback should be just that, as their brand was (and still is) already loved for the statements it made back in the early 2000s.

Now that I see Baby Phat is coming back, I am eager to see if Kimora Lee Simmons is planning to rebrand as Juicy Couture has, or if they will be sticking to the fly furs, silks, and gaudy low rise, boot cut jeans of their past. Being that a huge demographic exists and is ready for the clear cut blast from the past that Baby Phat is, it is up to no one but Kimora Lee Simmons now on how the first launch will be oriented. I just hope that if any changes are made to the brand in the name of good business, that it still serves its purpose in serving as fierce nostalgia rather than watered down trendiness.

As we all watch out for the first official launch of Baby Phat, I will be back to report on my thoughts, my reactions, and my projections for its success! So, be on the lookout for part two! HCXO.

Miranda is a Junior Mass Media Arts Major Print Journalism Concentration at the illustrious Clark Atlanta University. Hailing from Chicago, IL, Miranda is looking to write for the politically conscious, fashion-forward, and everyone in between. Feel free to connect with her via social media as well as through LinkedIn!
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