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NEW YORK — Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons and Kellwood Co. were hit by a complaint in a Manhattan court Tuesday from designer A’Lone Alakazia, who charged that the couple did not give him credit for designing the Baby Phat Pink collection.
The complaint, a copy of which was provided to WWD by Alakazia’s lawyer, Daniel Crupain, also names as defendants Phat Fashions LLC, which was founded by Russell Simmons, and which Kellwood acquired in February.
The action was filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. Charges in the legal action include violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, conspiracy, false advertising, fraud, breach of contract, unfair competition and unjust enrichment. Alakazia is seeking unspecified compensation.
Alakazia, according to the complaint, began in October to design the Baby Phat Pink collection for Phat Fashions with the understanding that he would be given public credit for the line and would receive 8 percent of the gross sales of the collection.
“This person worked for Baby Phat for 90 days and was let go after that period,” said a spokeswoman for Kimora Lee Simmons. “It is a shameless and meritless suit against Kimora Lee Simmons.”
Alakazia, claimed the complaint, was “working long hours, often 18-hour days, seven days a week, to conceptualize, create, design, merchandise, coordinate and produce the collection, which consisted [of] a group of upscale women’s apparel plus accessories, which included jewelry, shoes, handbags, eyewear, lingerie and leather goods.”
On Feb. 8, once the collection was completed, the complaint alleged the Simmonses “had their employees, servants and agents physically remove and bar [the] plaintiff from the premises housing the completed collection.”
Kimora Lee Simmons took credit for designing Pink, the complaint claimed.
The following day, Alakazia approached Kellwood, which had just acquired Phat Fashions, at which point, the complaint alleged, Kellwood sided with the Simmonses.
A Kellwood spokeswoman said she was not aware of the suit as of press time.
This story first appeared in the August 18, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.