Most people know hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons as the founder of Def Jam Records, Phat Farm, and American Classics, but fewer realize that he’s also a practicing vegan of 13 years and an outspoken animal-rights activist. We chatted with Simmons at the “Healthy Food in Fashion” fall gala to learn more about Argyleculture, his new cruelty-free clothing line for Macy’s, why sustainable fashion makes good business sense, and what advice he’d give to anyone struggling with vegetarianism.
As a mogul with several multimillion-dollar companies, do you think sustainable fashion makes business sense?
Yes. There are all kinds of alternatives to fur and a lot of creative alternatives to leather and all kinds of money to be made. And there’s a white space, and as more people become more conscious, there is an opportunity to do a lot more things that are creative and different. There’s a big hole as more people are becoming more aware and would like to know that their products are less harmful to the earth and to animals.
As more people become more conscious, there is an opportunity to do a lot more things that are creative and different.
Tell us a little about your new line Argyleculture?
We don’t use animal products, so no leather. We use cotton for the sweaters, not wool.
We’re celebrating food and fashion this evening; how do you make the food you eat every day healthy?
I’m not a foodie, but I don’t eat animal products. That’ll do it!
What’s your favorite food?
It changes by the minute. Whatever I have in my hand (points to a vegan empanada from V Spot in Brooklyn).
Do you have any advice for people who want to become vegetarian or vegan but are struggling?
Make a commitment. Live up to it. If you tell your friends you want to quit, then quit. Don’t be a liar.