NEW YORK — Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons’ world of Phat is aggressively going global.
Seventeen Phat Farm and Baby Phat boutiques are slated to open across the Middle East within three years, targeting select cities in countries including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In December, Phat Farm and Baby Phat opened a shop in the Mall of Emirates in Dubai, followed by the January opening of Deira City Centre, also in Dubai. Last month, a third flagship opened at the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi.
“Internationally, Phat Farm is red hot,” said Bernt Ullmann, president of Phat Fashions. “In the U.S. right now, Baby Phat is the number-one junior brand.”
The breadth of Baby Phat and Phat Farm extends well beyond the Middle East. Ullmann said within three years, he has plans to open 56 freestanding stores around the world in Europe, China, Japan, South Korea, South America and Africa.
Currently, there is only one Phat Farm and Baby Phat freestanding boutique in the U.S., here in SoHo on Prince Street, but sources close to the brand said a concept deal for a multiple store rollout in the U.S. is in the works.
Phat Farm and Baby Phat are just a few of the brands that have recently opened stores in the Middle East; Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Louis Vuitton already have arrived. For Ullmann, the appeal of the region was obvious. “It’s very, very, very cash rich,” he said. “It’s over the top.”
Though Kimora and Russell have been in the headlines lately due to personal reasons surrounding their separation, sources close to the brand said their personal issues have had no impact on the brand’s sales.
“Russell and Kimora are iconic figureheads for the brand, though not necessarily together,” one source said. “It’s business as usual. The breakup happened a long time ago [before it came out to the press] and we’ve lived with this for many months.”