Mogul soaking up isle vibe during a working vacation
From the golf course to the nightclub -- that's the concept behind Russell Simmons' new Beyond the Green line from clothing company Phat Farm, some of which will be previewed tonight at Fashion 45.
RUSSELL SIMMONS' "BEYOND THE GREEN" TOUR
Place: Fashion 45, Waikiki Trade Center
When: 10 p.m. today
Also: A meet-and-greet event is also planned for 5 to 7 p.m. today at Demo, Pearlridge Uptown
"Golf has been an inspiration to a lot of hip-hop clothing for a long time," Simmons explained earlier this week via phone from New York. "So we did a clothing line that suited that inspiration."
The hip-hop mogul founded Def Jam Records with legendary producer Rick Rubin in the 1980s, and has since developed his parent company, Rush Communications, into a multifaceted entity that produces more than just music. Along with Phat Farm and its accompanying clothing line Baby Phat, Simmons has branched out into bedding, furniture and even cologne.
"We're always traveling around the country, learning from the people who are our supporters," he said. "We want to make sure we give them the right thing."
Although Simmons sold his stake in Phat Farm for a reported $140 million in 2004, he remains intimately involved with the daily decision-making process. He's also overseen development of Atman, a new fragrance for men.
"(Atman) is a Sanskrit word that means 'higher self,'" Simmons explained. "And why is fragrance important? Because we're giving away 100 percent of the proceeds ... right back to the communities that we serve. It's a fragrance I worked on for two years to get it right."
This week's visit to Hawaii isn't just a working vacation. Simmons hopes to bring back some new ideas from the people he meets while in town.
"There's not a lot of dialogue with your state and the rest of America, so we want you to be able to cry out, too," he said. "We always want to learn something new, and the people out there have a slightly different perspective."
As he approaches his 50th birthday next year, Simmons continues to approach life like someone half his age. He refuses to mess with "rigid, old people," and says it's trips like these that allow him the opportunity to keep tabs on America's youth and see what fashion trends are springing up from the streets.
But sometimes, what's old suddenly becomes new again.
"They're still wearing shell-toed Adidas," Simmons said of the younger generations. "It's the same things over and over again, it seems."