With JustFab and Kimora: House of Fab in tow, model-turned-businesswoman Kimora Lee Simmons has no intentions of loosening her firm hold on the fashion reins
By Stacy-Ann Ellis
Photo Credit: Chris Haston/Style Network
Consumers have witnessed both the births and deaths of many-a-moguls’ stardom in past years, but time has proven kind to Kimora Lee Simmons.
“Evolution” is a term the fashion icon uses quite often when referring to the fashion and lifestyle empire she’s created. From her start as a 13-year-old Chanel model to her newest role as the President and Creative Director of JustFab and Executive Producer of the forthcoming docu-series Kimora: House of Fab, we’ve watched KLS morph into something legendary.
“We all have different journeys, but this one was and is mine,” says Simmons. “I’m very excited to wake up and do something that I love everyday and I could evolve with the times.”
JustFab–the dot com boutique providing shoes, bags, jewelry and denim–is a new way for customers to experience online shopping. Users can input style preferences and set up fashion profiles to differentiate between their likes and dislikes. “We’re bringing you that high-end shopping experience, but on a time crunch, on a budget crunch, on a lifestyle crunch. It’s the future of retail and technology,” the 37-year-old powerhouse explains.
Hand-in-hand with JustFab is her new Style Network TV spot, a spin-off of her lifestyle exposé Life in the Fab Lane, pulling back the curtains on the mayhem that goes into managing the brand with the fashionista and her team of fashion-bots (an experience she describes as “a hoot of a hit”).
“I feel great to be a part of TV that shows myself and others in an elevated and upwardly mobile manner,” she says of her show, which airs in January 2013. “As a woman of color, I’m proud to be able to create TV like this. Not everyone has to have crap TV in their diet to thrive and win.”
That thirst for upward movement has propelled Simmons to heights she’d always hoped for, but hadn’t quite anticipated surpassing.“I’ve developed and built a billion dollar brand. Look at all of the other things that were spawned off of those kinds of brands: your Rocawears and Deréons of the world. Your Jessica Simpsons and Justin Timberlakes. It’s about how you grow and go from one thing to the next.”
Baby Phat, the clothing and lifestyle brand that littered closets in the early 2000s, is the parent of such urban offspring. It contributed to a significant portion of her entrepreneurial success, but she, like her fan base, has grown up. “We’re not living in the clubs anymore,” she says. “We, me, you, have other responsibilities now. We’re not this young teeny-bopper girl. We still want to be sexy and look and feel great, but we want to do it in a sophisticated way now.” JustFab is the accent mark to that statement.
In 2013, Simmons hopes to roll out JustFab’s first freestanding stores in top tier locations (“I would love Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive but that’s obviously wishful thinking”). She owes her success (and boundless imagination) to her tunnel vision dreams and zest for life.
“I’m a fashion person and that’s what I do forever,” she said. “You have to live it, honey! That’s what I do. People know that. You know where to find me, you know what I think, you know what I do and you know how I do it. I live it.”
This article appears in VV’s Dec/Jan Digital Magazine. Read it here!