Certainly not ones to follow the crowd, the young, ambitious and innovative daughters of Run DMC rap legend Joseph ‘Rev Run’ Simmons are busy showing the world that they have acres of talent in their own right. From acting and modelling to singing and writing, Vanessa and Angela Simmons have also found the time to pioneer their own fashion brand, which after taking the States by storm is now being launched in the UK. Flavour caught up with the talented duo to have a chat about fashion niches, family values and …Pastry!
So your brand is called Pastry, what’s your favourite kind of pastry then?
Vanessa: Well the whole collection started with the cake collection because that’s what everyone thinks of when they think of pastries so I’m going to have to go with cakes, but I’m good at baking cookies!
Angela: My favourite is cupcakes.
Why the name ‘Pastry’ for your company?
Vanessa: What woman doesn’t love pastry? It’s like that guilty pleasure that you have to run off all the time on the treadmill and we like baking, so when we were coming up with a concept we were like – why not?
Vanessa & Angela: Pastry!
Vanessa: It’s like fun and interesting.
Angela: And it’s different, there’s nothing like it out there, it’s really girly and feminine.
What can people expect from the Pastry line?
Angela: Well right now, we’ve already expanded to clothing and we’ve got handbags and eyewear.
Vanessa: Everything, we’re just hoping to expand to create an entire empire and they can just expect fun. Everything in the sneaker/athletic world is very male driven and orientated, so we’ve created stuff that girls like us would want to wear and we made it more fun, more chic and more feminine in the process.
Why did you decide to design trainers for girls rather than shoes? Why choose that direction? Weren’t you making things hard for yourselves?
Vanessa: We chose to design trainers as that product didn’t really exist. In the market there was nothing out there for females made by females, there was nothing cute. Nike or Pumas or Adidas – it’s just so male driven, so we made the first silhouette design which was the Cake Runner, then we branched out to the Fab Cookie, and then moved on to Glam Pie. We’re working on Fruit Tart right now and Secret Sundae. The list is expanding and it’s all really exciting!
So with Barack Obama winning the US Presidential election, everyone is talking about trendsetters, would you consider yourselves to be ones?
Vanessa: Absolutely, I don’t follow in the footsteps of anybody else – we kind of just blaze our own trails and just do what we do.
Angela: I think this is definitely completely different to anything else that’s out there, so I would say so.
With your dad, uncle Russell and aunt Kimora all already established icons in the fashion world do you feel pressure to live up to expectations?
Vanessa: Sometimes but we accept that pressure rather than try to escape it. We aspire to be better.
What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received and who gave it to you?
Vanessa: My thing is to expect ‘a No’ but never to accept ‘a No’ because people are going to try and put you down, they’re going to be like ‘That’s not going to work!’ – but don’t accept that because if you believe in your heart that that’s what you should be doing or that’s your thing then you should just be going for it and not listening to negativity or anything else around you. That will only dilute your drive for success.
Words by Susanne Singh, photography by Jordan Roach