Russell Simmons has reportedly filed a lawsuit against a Hong Kong-based company for a breach of contract with his two clothing labels: Russell Simmons Argyleculture and American Classics by Russell Simmons. According to, Simmons claims that partner Li & Fung failed to make good on a contractual promise to distribute and market his brands overseas. And, is seeking $55 million in damages.
“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,” Simmons in a statement. “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 says Li & Fung USA “expressed a false enthusiasm” for both clothing brands in order to persuade him to license them.
However, two years after agreeing to a licensing deal, Simmons was forced to file suit after the company expressed “repeated misrepresentations, failed execution and lack of development and support.”
“Almost 20 years ago, I pioneered a space that enabled an entire generation of minority designers and entrepreneurs to redefine the landscape of fashion,” said Simmons. “Similarly today, there is an enormous void in the market to fulfill the aspirations of the Urban Graduate, who has grown out of this urban fashion trend but isn’t represented by the mainstream brands.”
Russell Simmons founded a little brand called Phat Farm in 1992 and grew it into a multi-million dollar business. 12 years after its inception, he sold it off for $140 million.