Designer R. Scott French for American Chang and Richard Harris

R. Scott French has been in fashion long enough to see the design process through many lenses. He has done design work for retail chains, like Banana Republic, to very exclusive designs for high end boutiques. His broad base of experience and knowledge and creativity has now found an outlet through two emerging brands, Richard Harris, and American Chang.

The Richard Harris brand offers traditional menswear, including jackets and suits made from Italian wool, and conservatively styled dress shirts, with subtle accents and unique design.

The American Chang brand retains all of the same quality of material and construction as Richard Harris, but is styled for a more casual look. SoJones was able to visit the showroom of American Chang and spend an hour chatting with both Scott French and the company’s CEO, Mr. Chet Holly. They both provided valuable insight relating to the history of the brand and the direction that it is now taking.

Scott French comes from a traditional American background, where he learned about quilting from his grandmother before he ever attended design school. Although his design maintains a very modern aesthetic, there are elements of his work that are reminiscent of the timeless geometric symmetry, which carry over from his early exposure to American seam working.

One of French’s first pieces for American Chang, a wool jacket made of patchwork, was seen on Hip Hop artist Ne-Yo. Subsequently the jacket gained such popularity throughout the Hip Hop community that American Chang was flooded with orders for custom jackets, styled with patchwork.

The American Chang collection that French is currently developing for the fall includes sporty dress shirts, featuring custom designed camoflage patterns. Some of the jackets included in the collection are patterned with large windowpanes and thin 60’s-style lapels. American Chang is also releasing a jeans line for the fall, with three different shades of gray, and varied washes.

Scott describes his inspiration behind this collection, stating:

The 1960’s is an ear that has long inspired me. It was a time much like the present when personal and social uncertainty and ambitious societal hope existed in unison, when political turmoil and frivolous experimentation shared the headlines, when the status quo was met mead on with those assertively adopting progress and when youth was given power

Every garment in this collection is decidedly modern, but not without a serious not to the traditions of yore. A traditional suit is updated in silhouette or in a blended fabrication to morph it into a suit for today’s ever more demanding consumer. A trouser is cleaned up to the point of being nearly forgettable, but then fabricated in a piece of goods so special that the effect is to create what will undoubtedly become the wearer’s favorite.
Designer R. Scott French modeling a prototype for the Fall 2010 Richard Harris collection (Photo: Jacob Breinholt)

Be sure to browse the gallery below for a few more images of SoJones’ sneak peak of the Richard Harris and American Chang showroom (all photos by: Jacob Breinholt):