Hip Hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons has filed a $55 million lawsuit against a Hong Kong clothing distributor after Simmons claims the wholesaler failed to support his brands, American Classics By Russell Simmons and Russell Simmons Argyleculture.
Simmons states that Hong Kong-based apparel licensing company Li & Fung, USA was tasked with assisting him with marketing and promoting his Argyleculture flagship brand. He goes on to allege that the company only, “expressed a false enthusiasm” in his Argyleculture collection in order to persuade the mogul into licensing them his mass market brand, American Classics by Russell Simmons.
Simmons claims that in the two years that Li & Fung, USA has been under contract that the company has been unsuccessful at establishing any development or backing for either of his brands, resulting in the legal action.
Simmons issued a statement saying the suit is a last ditch effort to protect his investments,
“I have taken this action to protect my partnerships with retailers and recover millions in damages on behalf of my brands and to protect my name and reputation in the industry. Over the last 30 years and with the help of numerous partners, I’ve built successful groundbreaking businesses in music, apparel, television, film, jewelry, games and multiple charities and causes. Not once have I ever had to file a lawsuit. For the first time in my career I found myself with a partner in Li & Fung, which had executives who willfully and repeatedly put the integrity of my brands at risk.”
Simmons is co-founder of the legendary Def Jam Records.
He is also behind the Phat Farm clothing line which he established in 1992 before selling it to Kellwood for $140 million in cash in 2004.