Kimora Brought Back the Iconic Cat, But Did Baby Phat’s Return Bring the Nostalgia We Were Craving?

Photo: Forever 21

When we learned yesterday that Baby Phat’s highly anticipated relaunch would be kicked off by a collab with Forever 21, we were curious to see what the partnership would turn out, clothing-wise.

It was ... cute.

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But while the rollerskating-themed campaign—including cameos by Kimora Lee Simmons Leissner’s daughters, Ming and Aoki, and Kim Porter and Diddy’s twin daughters, D’Lila Star and Jessie James—brought a welcome dose of nostalgia, some longtime fans of the urbanwear brand were a bit ... underwhelmed by the actual offerings. Namely, where are our velour tracksuits?!?

To be fair, there is velour in the Baby Phat x Forever 21 capsule collection—and a bit of nostalgia, as evidenced by the tube top and short-short set modeled by Aoki. But looking at the collection’s drop page, it’s hard to ignore that the bulk of the Baby Phat x Forever 21 line is comprised of logo-branded tanks, tees and biker shorts, paired with coordinating but previously existing Forever 21 offerings.

Understandably, this was much to the chagrin of those anxiously awaiting the return of cropped puffers and furs over bikini separates for “Hot Girl Summer” (and fall, and winter, and ...)

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But is it fair to judge the Baby Phat relaunch off of one capsule collection? Since Kimora has reacquired the brand, we’re guessing hoping this is just a well-strategized tease on a fast-fashion platform well-known for reviving past trends, potentially validating Baby Phat’s relevance for a new generation (which would also explain the super last-minute announcement). The message? We’re back, Baby (Phat)!

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Still ... we were expecting more.

“Ummm ... am I the only one not feeling it! Her designs right before the brand went under were bomb! Where’s that old baby phat feel at?” asked one Instagram commenter.

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“‘I was rooting for you, we were all rooting for you! How dare you?!’” ((tyra voice)),” commented another.

Fair, but maybe we should reserve our judgment since we won’t know for sure until Baby Phat releases an as-yet-to-be-announced full collection or original designs. So, in the meantime, let’s just look at the bright side: Your wardrobe for that summer party with the early aughts theme is complete.

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Photo: Forever 21

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About the author

Maiysha Kai

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.