Words by Jennifer Wang
RICHARDS was founded by New York City native Sarah Leslie Richards in 2012. With a BFA in Apparel Design from RISD, she has worked with an impressive range of established designers including Proenza Schouler, Diane Von Furstenberg, Peter Som, Opening Ceremony, Doo.Ri, and Tory Burch.
The designer launched her eponymous line with a memorable S/S 13 collection of silk garments featuring hyper-real images of nature that established the brand's distinct aesthetic early on - one that reflects the influence of technology and the internet as inspiration. Her digitally rendered prints function like pieces of wearable art; they strike viewer with optical illusions and futuristic imagery in rich colors and intricate patterns.
"The line reflects my personal taste for simple shapes that showcase really interesting textiles. There is also a sense of fun and lightheartedness in my style that I hope comes across in the clothes."
Her tendency to explore experimental techniques in printing works well with the classic silhouettes that are tweaked ever so subtly with unique proportions and details. Richards custom designs each captivating print and strives to manufacture her garments locally in New York. Her whimsical prints have ranged from lush, green, organic motifs on airy silk button-ups to surreal wildlife imagery splashed across tops and bottoms through the seasons. She manages to make her garments approachable and wearable, while still making an engaging statement with innovative prints.
Stay connected with Richards: Website | Blog | Facebook
EMERGING DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: SARAH RICHARDS OF RICHARDS NYC
Meet Sarah Richards, the designer behind NYC-based brand RICHARDS, a visually captivating line of garments that explores the possibilities of print design and its interactions with digital technology.
Looks from RICHARDS Spring / Summer 14
WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY?
I was born and raised in Manhattan.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND HOW YOU GOT INTO DESIGNING?
Around age 6 I decided that I wanted to design clothing, somehow I have not wavered from that goal all these years! I started interning at fashion studios in high school and I studied apparel and textiles at RISD.
WHEN DID YOU LAUNCH RICHARDS NYC? WHAT LED YOU TO DESIGNING YOUR OWN LINE?
I launched the line in Fall 2012. I was working in the fashion industry freelance at the time (which I still do), but was unsatisfied working only on the vision of others. I was still very excited about the ideas I had begin exploring in my thesis, so the line is a way to let those ideas manifest in a form that would be accessible to share with people.
HOW IS THE LINE A REFLECTION OF YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
The line reflects my personal taste for simple shapes that showcase really interesting textiles. There is also a sense of fun and lightheartedness in my style that I hope comes across in the clothes.
Looks from RICHARDS Fall / Winter 14
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS AS A DESIGNER?
The prints in my Fall/Winter 2014 collection developed from a variety of sources. I was looking at prismatic banding on pixelated images of text, optical illusions enhanced by screen structure and 3D modeling. I don't tend to have a theme, but these were some of the things I was looking into.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT LIVING AND WORKING IN NY?
NYC is my home, I honestly can't even imagine working somewhere else. The local manufacturers in the garment district are highly skilled and luckily happy to work with very small designers. They are an invaluable resource that you can't find anywhere else in the US.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOWARD TO THIS YEAR? ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS YOU'D LIKE US TO KNOW ABOUT?
Always looking forward to the next season, SS15!
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF THE REALM OF FASHION DESIGN?
When the weather is nice, I like to take long walks around Brooklyn, or even go hiking up in Bear Mountain if I have the time!
LASTLY, DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR YOUNG DESIGNERS?
Lots! I am happy to chat with design students or others who are trying to start their own line. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org :)