Russell Simmons Files $55 Million Lawsuit Against Hong Kong Clothing Distributor

(AllHipHop News) Hip-Hop mogul Russell Simmons has filed a $55 million breach of contract lawsuit over his "American Classics By Russell Simmons" and "Russell Simmons Argyleculture" clothing brands. Simmons, who co-founded founded the legendary Def Jam Record label, also launched the pioneering Phat Farm clothing line in 1992 before selling it to Kellwood for $140 million in cash in 2004. According to Simmons' this is the first lawsuit he has ever had to file against a partner. Simmons claims Hong Kong-based apparel licensing company Li & Fung, USA was supposed to help the mogul market and distribute his flagship Argyleculture brand. The mogul claims that Li & Fung USA "expressed a false enthusiasm" for his flagship brand in order to induce the mogul into licensing them his mass market brand, which is American Classics by Russell Simmons. "Almost 20 years ago I pioneered a space that enabled an entire generation of minority designers and entrepreneurs to redefine the landscape of fashion," Simmons said of the lawsuit. "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…"Simmons claims that he waited two years hill Li & Fung USA failed to execute and offered no development or support for either of the brands, resulting in the legal maneuver. "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 said. "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."