Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is That A.....SAFETY Pin?!

Are you kidding me? You have to be kidding. Did these mofos leave a damn safety pin on that poor kid's jacket, then see the damn pin (which they must have during review of the shots) and leave it there anyway and go to print with the posters for the display? Are you kidding me?!!! Baby Phat and its parent company, Kellwood Company, can't possibly have any respect for urban buyers to allow this crap to be published like this. I'd be willing to bet almost everything I own that Kimora Lee Simmons would have never stood for this.

One of my cousins, who lives in New York and who knows how much I loathe these idiots and how they handled the separation with Kimora from Phat Fashions, sent me the pictures above today. She sent them pretty early in the day, but I didn't have a chance to look at them until much later in the afternoon. I was nearly speechless.

The pictures, with the bootleg Ming and Aoki who they've used in previous ads, are on display in one of the most well-known Macy's stores in the world--Macy's Herald Square. No idea what that means? This, from the Macy's website about this particular location:
From it's very inception, Macy’s Herald Square was a store unlike any other and over the past 150 years it has become a true New York City icon. Built in 1902, Herald Square was the first building to have the modern day escalator. Since then, Macy’s Herald Square has continued to be a trendsetter and today, "America's Largest Department Store" covers an entire city block with ten and a half levels of the latest fashions for you and your home. For your convenience, Macy's offers a full service Visitor Center located on the 34th Street Balcony Level, restaurants throughout the store and exciting events almost every day.
This store gets a LOT of traffic every day. Considering that an untold number of people still don't know that Kimora is no longer heading up Phat Fashions, it can only be assumed that anyone who sees that bullshit thinks she's the one who allowed it--a damn big safety pin tacked on that kid's back and haphazardly left there during the course of the photo shoot. Ridiculous.

The real problem though is there is no way in hell the marketing director for this shoot didn't see that pin on that jacket during review of the pictures. That he said, "Fugg it. Who cares?" (because after all, it's mostly a bunch of urban customers) and let it go to print, speaks volumes about their attitude towards those same urban customers. That we (Well, they. I wouldn't buy a headband from the bastards anymore.) don't deserve a truly high-quality attempt at earning our continued purchase of those products, even though millions are spent on them every year disgusts me. You think there's a Polo ad out there with a big ass safety pin visible on one of the models when it shouldn't be? Hell no!

Please don't spend your money on this crap. The quality of that clothing left when the heart and soul of the brand left nearly one year ago. It's over. Kellwood Company has absolutely no respect for the predominantly urban and minority buyers of those brands or they wouldn't keep kicking out those shoddy goods and trying to slip a fake Ming and Aoki past buyers. We've all grown up with Kimora and we've been watching her girls grow up. This is much more than just a line of apparel. That's what you goons failed to realize. But, as long-time buyers of the brand continue to abandon ship, soon enough you'll have to publicly acknowledge that fact. I'll be right here waiting with a frosty glass of libation and a sense of satisfaction that no amount of money could buy. Are you ready? --Sugar

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fashion's Abusive Step Father

I've been bitching and moaning about the way Kellwood Company handled the separation with Kimora Lee Simmons for months now and I hadn't considered that this is actually a systemic problem--a situation even worse than I realized. I watch a lot of fashion documentaries and biopics. I love them. I think fashion designers have some of the most imaginative minds among us and I love having the opportunity to either see what makes them tick or to see them in action.

This past weekend, I decided I'd finally watch Valentino: The Last Emperor. It had been in my Netflix queue for months and months, but I ended up watching it on Showtime On Demand. It was an absolute feast for the senses. The fashion was intense and emotions were extremely raw. But, what struck me most was the way in which Valentino Garavani was treated throughout the film by the goon from the Marzotto family (Yes, he's handsome, but I don't want to hear it!). The Marzottos owned a majority stake in the company at the time the film was being produced and Matteo Marzotto, aforementioned goon, was President of the Valentino fashion house.

It was very obvious that there was a power struggle underway between the older Valentino and much younger Marzotto, who was over Valentino's shoulder constantly throughout the film, even going so far as to offer suggestions about the designs, which I thought was a horrible insult. During one scene, Marzotto laughs with the film crew stating [about Valentino], "He's like an old lion. He keeps trying to roar. Trying to say something, but nothing comes out." It was so disrespectful. Even if he didn't think that they'd include it in the film, he should've had more respect for the man who did so much to shape the fashion world.

I don't want to review the whole damn documentary, but I have to give you some context for what I'm getting at with the title of this post. So, I'm watching this power struggle play out, rife with disrespect, and it occurred to me that Valentino was being treated that way because he was an old man and Marzotto wanted him gone. Much in the same way Kellwood Company seemed to have bullied Kimora Lee Simmons out of Phat Fashions because she's a woman of color...and they wanted her gone.

The one big difference here is this. As it turns out, the filming of the documentary coincided with the 45th anniversary of Valentino Garavani's reign. Without hesitation, at least on camera, it was understood that there should be a celebration like no other to commemorate the occasion. Now, of course Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino's long-time partner, probably had a lot to do with making sure that things were done properly, but the fact that it did occur speaks volumes about Kellwood Company's dismissive attitude towards Kimora and the buyers of the Phat Fashions brands. She'd been there for over a decade, having made a mark all over this globe, and...nothing? Just "change the locks" and then treat buyers of the brands like idiots? As though we wouldn't notice the freefall in quality?

Another small difference is the fact that at least Marzotto and subsequent majority owners Permira, made a legitimate attempt to improve the Valentino brand....well, sales at least. These assholes have damn near run this thing into the ground and they've done it almost overnight! I checked the Baby Phat twitter account tonight and they've lost over six thousand followers in the last few months alone. Those numbers are going to keep dropping as more people learn that Kimora is no longer heading up the brand and why.

But, at the heart of all of this rambling (yes, there's a point) is the fact that the fashion world is being taken over by investment groups, who get a thrill out of taking fashion houses and flipping them like row houses in so many large urban cities. Except the majority of them are like sturdy, reliable, and highly valuable, old brownstones in Manhattan that just need a little work done to them to restore them to their full prior glory.

Sun Capital Partner's takeover of Kellwood Company reeks of the ridiculousness of this thing--have bankers and investment heads tell designers how to do what they do best. I'm sure maintaining a fine balance between unbridled creativity and the need to ensure that sales remain solid is tough, but what draws people to a brand is the creative flair, not that it has a great revenue sheet.

There was a very telling statement by a woman in the film, Valentino: The Last Emperor, who proclaimed that investment firms are taking over much of the fashion world and subsequently turning once iconic brands into poorly made, mass-produced offerings, focusing solely on sales and taking all of the heart and soul out of them. It's very unfortunate.

Of course, the majority of the populace can't afford a Valentino gown, but the very existence of those gowns affects us all. It's art, and who wants to live in a world where a visit to the Louvre yields a look at a paint by numbers version of da Vinci's Mona Lisa completed by a guy working on his PhD in Calculus? I, for one, do not. Fashion deserves the same amount of respect, instead of this knocking around it's been getting from these abusive stepfathers in the business world. --Sugar

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Style Network Hearts Kimora Lee Simmons

And, the hits just keep on coming. Friday morning, I saw a commercial on Style Network with Kimora Lee Simmons offering style tips. In the spot, she said that she was Style's Fashion Editor and I'm not sure if I missed this or what, but it was great news. I was all smiles, because that means another nail in Baby Phat's coffin and even bigger things for her. Kimora is everywhere and Baby Phat is drifting further and further into obscurity. I love it.

Check her out below in one of the spots that's running on Style Network, then head over to the site to check out more of her great style tips. Remember, do not buy any Baby Phat clothing items. That's including Phat Farm. Do not be led to believe that Kimora's separation from Phat Fashions was some fond farewell. Those pigs that own Baby Phat and Phat Farm seemed to believe that they could run a brand, that Kimora built, better than she could so they made this grimey move and seem to think that the people of color who buy it are stupid.

The quality of the apparel has degraded almost overnight with people sending tweets to Kimora regularly to complain about zippers breaking, material ripping, just all types of chicanery. As though she's still there. So, don't even waste your money on the crap. Check out Kimora's website for updates on her product lines, what she's up to and if you just need a lil laugh or two. She's great. These bastards are not. --Sugar