In the fashion industry, a collection is a group of items designed for a given season. Franklin Richardson, the Houston designer behind Frank Rich Co., has another name for his: waves.
Frank Rich Co. recently debuted "Wave One: Born Again," named for the transformation that occurred during the company's recent revamping. "We were going through some personal things and spiritual things, and through that whole process it was like being born again," Richardson said.
Back in 2014, Richardson and his wife, Damaree, were working out of their living room. “When we were going through hard times, the brand helped us stay above water,” Damaree said.
Fast forward to 2018, and the brand is focused on offering a "youthful sophistication without bending principle for the sake of status or security," the designer said. Pieces include silk-lined fur coats and heavier weighted denim—14 ounces, typical of a higher market.
“Our whole vision is to create pieces that are youthful and still sophisticated. It’s a mix between streetwear with a [high-end] feel,” Richardson said.
And when it comes to principle, Richardson is focused on staying true to his brand. “A lot of times you lose yourself when you’re trying to build something,” he said. “As we’re building [this brand] we don’t want to lose [ourselves]. We want to stay who we are ... we don’t want to bend just because the world wants something else.”
A recent pop-up featured designs from the Born Again wave and signature Frank Rich Co. logo tees printed with doves and the image of Christ. Fittingly, religious imagery set the scene, including prayer candles, black and white photos of the metamorphosis of a Monarch butterfly ("a symbol of being born again," Richardson said), and a soundtrack of Christian hip-hop.
“Over the past two years, we worked to find our way," Richardson said. "[In finding the right fabrics], we wanted to make sure we knew how they worked and what makes someone comfortable."
While designing, the team questioned a garment's longevity and whether it would stand the test of time—a primary goal—and asked the question, “how many times can someone wear this?”
“You look at certain brands like Levi’s—people have been wearing Levi’s for decades,” said Nathan Clayton, marketing manager and brand owner. “The brand sustained itself because it has a design that they stuck to, and that design lasted over [a long period] of time.”
Damaree Richardson said Frank Rich Co. was designed for those who like to dress up but still feel casual—a wide range of potential customers.
“We try not to single people out [when designing],” Richardson said. “[Our clothes] can be worn by the everyday person, the entrepreneur who works the 9-5. We have T-shirts and tuxedo pants. Everyone can [find] something.”
The design team also considers varying builds—Richardson and Clayton both draw on their athletic backgrounds to create clothes that "will also cater to athletes," Clayton said. "The tuxedo pants are made with a material that’s a little more elastic, so it’s more comfortable for an athletic build.”