Image by: Merrick School of Business
By John Cace
What does it mean to be an icon? Is it just another label that gets tossed around in the media? Or does it stand for the ultimate point of achievement in one’s career? When you’re talking about a man like Russell Simmons, it’s the first word that comes to mind. From his legendary status in the music business, to his many successes in the fashion world, everything Simmons touches seems to turn to gold.
Of course that kind of sentiment does not come without great personal dedication and a well-balanced sense of your beliefs and goals. It’s all part of what goes into attaining iconic influence. It’s as if the path to become an icon, is really more like the path to become Russell Simmons.
This study of success brings us to Simmons’ clothing line Argyleculture. The brand has seen its own fair share of ups and downs over the years since its first inception in 2008. Now going strong after a relaunch in 2012, Argyleculture has found its place within the market of men’s fashion. The brand has always maintained its sense of ‘Graduated’ style for those brought up with strong influence from hip hop culture. Simmons calls them modern Hip Hop Graduates; a person who is now looking for a style to match their success, while also speaking to their heritage.
#1) A Style for the Modern Man
When Danjur recently talked with Simmons, the focus of Argyleculture was clearly how the brand has been able to tap into ,”a design element that is being overlooked.” The fall lineup boasts a savvy collection of dress shirts, blazers, sport coats, vests, sweaters, and eyewear. In capturing an energetic yet sophisticated look, vintage patterns combine with vibrant pastels and earthy colors that reflect a generation of style crossroads. Tradition with a “hipster twist“. A front zip cable knit hoodie, the V-neck cardigan, scarf, and bowtie combo, and of course argyle are some of the fashions you’ll find when picking out your new threads.
Fellas, when you wear these clothes you may actually feel smarter. At least you will look it.
The design elements take the once stuffy look of preppy clothes and reverse the stigma that only those who own racing horses and yachts could wear such styles. Argyleculture is the modern day equivalent of the leather jacket wearing rebels from the 1950’s if they had added a nice tie and maybe a checkered button-up to their ensemble.
#2) What is An Urban Graduate?
To understand where Simmons got the inspiration for Argyleculture, it’s important to discuss his primary goal in designing the brand. The Urban Graduate that he refers to in the interview, is a person who grew up living in a hip hop influenced environment and is now entering the working environment. At this point they will take the next step into self-discovery. That’s why it’s important to stand out and have a wardrobe that speaks of confidence and originality.
When the time comes, Argyleculture hopes to give these young up and coming future success stories their own sense of style. It’s something that they can connect with and use to transition into the ever changing stages of their lives. Every generation yearns to create an identity; it only makes sense to look good while doing it.
#3) Bringing Some Culture Into Your Life
If you’ve been perusing the photos here then you’re going to want to get a better look at everything Argyleculture has to offer going into the fall. Check out the website Argyleculture.com and learn more about the look you can take anywhere.
While you’re there don’t forget to check out the blog, #Argylelife, and learn about some accessories from watches to weekend bags. Find out why Yellowstone National Park is a ‘burrito of fun’ and get educated on how to make a proper Strawberry Moonshine Julep.
Enjoy some insight into Simmons himself as he discusses his love for being a father and the lessons he has learned from it.
In his personal messages, Simmons expresses that his endeavors have brought him great fortune, but it’s in his ability to share in life’s many experiences with his family that he cherishes the most. Any dad who can meditate with his kids before taking them to school has figured out something the rest of should be paying attention to.
#4) The Original Urban Graduate
Aside from Argyleculture, Simmons’ track record for starting companies and selling them for somewhere in the 9 figure range helps more than just a little in telling his tale. Born and raised in Queens New York, Simmons joined fellow producer Rick Rubin in 1984 in creating, laying, building, and conquering the world of hip hop. Ever heard of Def Jam Records? LL Cool J? The Beastie Boys? Run DMC? Just to name a few. OK one more, Public Enemy? That’s what I thought.
If you’ve never heard of Phat Farm Clothing Company you may want to Google it. After starting the men’s fashion line in 1992, Simmons would later turn it into a multi-million dollar corporation, eventually selling it for around $140 million. And this was long before Facebook, guys.
A student of life, and the school of hard knocks, Simmons is the kind of man who understands the value of not just hard work, but dedication to carry you through the tough times.
As a businessman who has unquestionably won the game we consider to be life, while affecting and shaping millions of lives along the way, he admits that sharing time with family is the most important part of his life. Agreed, Sir.
In the interview Simmons also reveals three key elements that contributed to his success, and what he considers to be the single most important factor when starting a small business. For these parts you may want to take out your highlighter and make sure you understand the wisdom that is about to be laid upon you.
After all, it’s not everyday people who have come to symbolize an industry they helped to create are willing to share personal advice. Look for the entire interview in Danjur magazine’s first issue this winter. In it you’ll find the same interesting, informative, and trusted stories you’ve come to enjoy at Danjur.com.