Baby Phat caused quite a stir earlier this year with news it would relaunch under the direction of Kimora Lee Simmons, who founded the brand with Russell Simmons in 1999. While never positioned as a luxury brand, the quality of Baby Phat during its glory days was strong enough to command aspirational pricing and the women for whom it was an early-oughts mainstay were excited to see some of their favorite items make a come back.
Given its reputation, many of the original fans of the brand were disappointed to discover yesterday that Baby Phat would make its debut as a Forever 21 collaboration, a chain known for stocking trendy fashion at rock-bottom prices. In the case of its effort with Baby Phat, items are priced at $25 and below.
At the same time, the California-based fast-fashion chain is going through some financial difficulties so it seemed like a less-than-great choice compared to some of its retail competitors.
Given Forever 21’s shaky footing, it comes as no surprise that Baby Phat items have begun to pop up at stores in advance of the official June 13, 2019 launch date. One shopper bought a pair of leopard biker shorts and didn’t realize they were Baby Phat until after she purchased them.
A second woman snapped a picture of a pink and very wrinkled long-sleeve t-shirt featuring the brand’s cat motif. In the caption she wrote, “So idk if @Forever21 meant for this to be on the store floor a day early but this is the ONLY piece I found of Baby Phat
In fairness, Forever 21 is sure to have a lot of cute pieces and the collection will no doubt introduce the brand to a whole new generation of fans. As well, Simmons said there will be additional collaborations along with a higher-priced line with more exclusive offerings called Baby Phat by Kimora Lee Simmons.
That said, those who were hoping for a return to the super fab and slightly upscale brand of yesteryear compete with over-the-top runway shows, it’s probably time to let that dream go.
Check out a look at some of the pieces that popped up early below.