From Formalwear to Tracksuits, Designer Rich Fresh is Redefining Luxury Menswear
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From Formalwear to Tracksuits, Designer Rich Fresh is Redefining Luxury Menswear

May 17, 2023

The chameleonic evolution of menswear over the past decade or so has opened up an opportunity for some truly liberating experimentation in formalwear. Nobody embodies this ethos quite like Richfresh, who's managed to carve a lane for himself with an eponymous brand comprised of kaleidoscopically colorful suiting and fully tailored iterations of tracksuits.

With a career spanning well over a decade, Fresh has gone from a tailor for dry cleaners in Memphis to now providing custom garments for the likes of Steph Curry, the Weeknd, John Legend and so many more. We caught up to hear some of the lessons Fresh has learned from this journey, the importance of finding your audience and the future of menswear.

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Fresh was born in Munich, and grew up in a myriad of places throughout his upbringing, but views Memphis as home: "I got into fashion initially when I was 13. To me, fashion was just the coolest thing in the world. And then when I moved to Memphis at the start of high school, I really put a lot of what I had been studying into practice, and turned into a real stylish teenager. I was just hooked and I was like, that's what I wanna do for the rest of my life. I became a tailor in Memphis. I hustled, I started my first business, my second business, my third business."

About ten years ago, Fresh moved to California and was working as a tailor in San Diego. He soon saw the potential in actual suit making rather than just alterations. He tells me a story of doing some pricey alterations for a client who didn't flinch at the price of the service, to which he asked, "‘How much was that suit?’ And he told me, I was like, ‘The fuck? Bro, you spent that much money on a black suit that doesn't even fit.’ I was appalled and I was like, ‘Dude, I need to start getting into this line of work.' So that day, I really threw myself very aggressively into suit making."

Soon after, he moved to LA and began going by the moniker "Rich." He tells me, "I started using the name Rich when I moved to LA. I never really had a nickname growing up. So when I moved, I wanted everyone to call me Rich. I believe in manifesting things. So I figured if I say I'm rich enough, eventually it would happen."

He describes the period after he first moved to LA as a tumultuous era of his life: "I hit a wall. It was a lot of shit going on. A lot of drug abuse and alcohol abuse and… I just lost everything that I had accumulated at that point and was, you know, just sleeping on the streets, sleeping in shelters."

During one of these times in a shelter, Fresh tells me: "I had this idea to do a luxury brand. I was like, 'Man, I can do some really fly shit if I get my act together.' So when I came out of the shelter, I was like, okay I think I got my act together. I'm gonna change my name from Rich to Fresh. And I'm gonna start a brand called Richfresh."

In the development of the brand, Fresh returned to a chance encounter he had with Tom Ford and the learnings he got from it. "My takeaway from that experience was like, you just saw Tom Ford. And he looked like his brand. He looked like Tom Ford. He didn't look like a dude that works for Tom Ford. Then I did a little bit of research and I found out that the whole brand was just Tom Ford's personal style, expanded. He had clothes that he wanted to wear and he had a tailor put these samples together and he was like, ‘I'm gonna build a brand off of my style.’

"And I was like, that's what you need to do, bro. You just need to make your brand about who you are as a person. You have a nice enough concept of style that other people will follow that. So when I started Richfresh, I was like, 'Alright, I'm only gonna make suits that I would wear. I'm gonna make only fly shit.'"

He also grew up infatuated with three primary designers: "I was real big on Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. Those were the three Musketeers. They just did something so cool. The clothes were nice, but it just made you feel cool. You felt like you were part of this group of people that got it."

A few months into the brand, he started playing around with the idea of a fully tailored custom track suit. "I started putting things together that were a bit forward, but it was stuff that I would feel very confident in. And I just found an audience that was like, ‘Oh shit, this guy's pushing the envelope.’ So the tracksuits are just like… I've made so many suits. What else do I wear that still represents who I am as a person?"

From there, his work started to gain a lot of notoriety. John Legend wore and shouted out the brand on The Voice; he did Justin Bieber's punk suit in the "Peaches" video; he did all of the Weeknd's many iterations of his iconic red suit; he dressed Dr. Dre and Snoop for the Superbowl halftime show. It's so many major placements now that he rattles them off casually, but it's an immensely impressive—and growing—client roster.

When we turn to the future, we start with menswear broadly: "I just feel like it's gonna be less conservative and just a bit more like regular clothes. You don't think street style and think suits. It's kind of like street style is the antithesis of suits and vice versa. But I just think we’re seeing designers play around with different materials and different cuts that aren't so rigid. I think that it could get a lore more playful."

As far as the brand goes, there is a lot in the works. He's beginning to develop a sneaker, and has numerous tracksuits dropping in the coming months. "I'm looking forward to just seeing where the brand progresses. Staying busy, just seeing how everything ties back to each other. I've got a kid on the way, so that's also very exciting. Just life, man. You know, it's cool to be at a point where you've got a bit of a following and you can have cool ideas you just put out into the world and they're received by someone."

I was curious to know if he had any advice for other creators—of all disciplines: "Just do it. It's easy to think that you might not find a market, or ‘Are they gonna really want it?’ But there's a market for everything. So as long as you're good at something and you're passionate about it, you'll always find your market. Or more importantly, your market will find you. But you gotta be passionate, you gotta really want to be good at it—great at it. But then just do it, whatever it is. As silly as it sounds, someone's praying for someone like you to do the thing that you haven't done yet. So just do that shit."