5 Questions: Russell Simmons on Fashion and How Hip-Hop Has Grown Up


Media mogul and fashion designer Russell Simmons premiered his new clothing line Argyleculture at the Macy's River Oaks Center, Thursday evening (Oct. 28th).

The new line which has a more grown-up flare compared to his previous line was designed for the person who grew up with the hip-hop culture but has matured and desires a refined feel to there individual style.

Simmons sat down with me to discuss his new line and reality show "Running Russell Simmons" on the Oxygen network.

Argyleculture is available at all Macy's locations. And "Running Russell Simmons" premieres Tuesday, November 2nd, at 10pm ET/PT only on Oxygen.


LaShonda Matlock: Tell me about your new Macy's clothing line Argyleculture.

Russell Simmons: It's an extension of my creative efforts. A lot of my constitutes and myself became urban graduates. Designing is an honest expression of what I believe and what I want to wear. I think there is a big white space and not enough expression in the market for this audience, people who grew out of the hip-hop culture.  A lot of people for instance grew up on Phat Farm and the hip-hop culture. So what do they wear now, Ralph Lauren or Nautica. But those brands have been around for a long time and nothing really speaks to this generation.  Argyleculture speaks that language.


LaShonda Matlock: As our hip-hop generation continues to grow up, a lot of artists have stepped outside the realm of music and taken on roles from acting, sports to even politics. What do think about the evolution of the hip-hop culture from music to a multi-faceted platform?

Russell Simmons: I think that artists in hip-hop are more entrepreneurial than any other genre we have ever seen.  Puffy, in all his ventures and all the expressions he has from acting on Broadway to movies and creating the Ciroc brand. He's a good businessman navigating that to become a hundred-million-dollar business. He's really involved in so many different things and that's kind of impressive, because that is an artist that grows. Jay-z owns a Basketball team; he diversified his interests into so many different things. I think that is something special about hip-hop that the artists have taken the culture and broadened it.

I certainly have had my experiences; I'm not even in the music industry anymore, right.

But I am in financial services, jewelry and fashion.  All my philanthropic, social and political endeavors are apart of my focus. And it comes from the cultural space that we came out of the hip-hop expression. People who have come from communities underserved. And communities that usually didn't have a voice now have a voice. And they took that and made all kinds of ships besides the culture itself.


LaShonda Matlock: This is not your first venture into the fashion world, and you know how fickle that industry can be. So why do it all over again with a new label?

Russell Simmons:  [Laughs] Why would I do it all again, right. I enjoy designing, it's a great expression. It is also a new industry and Macy's is a great opportunity. I think it will do very well.


LaShonda Matlock: Your brother, Rev. Run did a reality show and so did your ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons. Why do another reality show? And how will this reality show be different from the previous ones?

Russell Simmons: In this show we talk about the violence in our communities, the experiences that we go through and show how we can combat those things. There is talk about animal rights quite a bit, there is talk about gay rights and there is talk about poverty in general. We do a lot to promote dialogue between Muslims and Jews and interfaith, things that are of interest in my life everyday. Some of it is inspiring and I hope it shows in this show. There are a lot of things that I think are inspiring. And I'm giving everyone an inside look in my life and what inspires me.


LaShonda Matlock: What's next after the Macy's launch of Argyleculture in Chicago today?

Russell Simmons: Another Macy's in Detroit tomorrow! [Laughs] And after that, another Macy's.



Photo Credit - Gerald Janssen

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  • Part of Russell Simmon's fashion empire is his jewelry range; Simmons Jewelry Co. I've been on his website recently, check it out - some very cool pieces of men's jewelry on there. Super stylish:


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