mogul Russell Simmons has been a pioneer in the fashion industry since the
early 1990s, when he launched his Phat Farm clothing line. At the time, no one
else had created an upscale urban line for men.

sold Phat Farm in 2004 for $140 million.

In his latest fashion effort, Simmons has created a new line for men, American
Classics by Russell Simmons, 
exclusively for Wal-Mart. It’s available in 400 locations nationwide but
in Charlotte only at the Eastway Drive location.

range in price from $9 to $18 for denim, shorts, polos, khaki pants, sweaters
and hooded sweat shirts.

“The American Classic’s clothing line is doing well at our store,” said Rodney
Hatley, store manager at the Eastway Wal-Mart. “It’s different because the
cuts, colors and styles aren’t what you see in the mainstream. The cotton on
the shirts feels good. It’s high quality.”

You know I couldn’t resist making a visit to Wal-Mart to see for myself. Can a
high-end menswear designer make quality budget-friendly  clothing?

The answer is yes.

craftsmanship of the garments I saw were no different than for his higher-end
version, Argyle Culture, available at Macy’s. My favorite pieces were the polo
and button-front shirts — I liked the colors (sunshine yellow and salmon) and
the argyle prints.

was less impressed with the sweatshirts, which were too thin and the styles
weren’t modern enough, especially for the man who’s transitioning away from
that urban wear look. Simmons should eliminate sweatshirts from the line
all together; it doesn’t fit.

wasn’t anything exceptional about the jeans or the khaki’s  pants. The
denim was light weight and the washes were darker denim.

Overall, this line will definitely appeal to the stylish man who wants to look good and keep a few dollars in his pocket. The line is also available online at However, the online offerings don’t reflect the variety of merchandise I saw in the store.

The fall/winter apparel should be arriving in the store over the next few weeks.

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