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As someone with little interest in high fashion, I was surprised by how compelling I found local designer Scott Rich’s work. Rich, who lives in Santee, is one of San Diego’s few fashion designers. He is also, at least to me, the most interesting.
Rich’s pieces, made for both men and women, catch the eye in a way that keeps it caught. They feature bright colors and big, repeating graphics. Hummingbirds hovering over a neon blue background. Palm-sized ladybugs colonizing a yellow handbag. Bouquets of nuclear flowers. In most hands, these broad strokes would be tacky. In his, the look is elevated.
Rich is currently working on a new line, which he described to me as being “for people who want to be seen.”
The loud aesthetic is partly a response to the humorless, monochrome-black sensibility of New York City, where he attended school at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “I didn’t see any real fashion when I was there, and I walked the streets every day.”
The designs themselves aren’t his clothes’ only appeal. “The printing process is another cool thing about my work. It’s all dye sublimation printing… It’s a gas that dyes the fabric permanently. It’s the most vibrant, lasting color you can have in any fabric.”
There are other benefits, above and beyond how good the clothes look. “Dye sublimation uses zero water and creates no waste at all.” (Water waste and pollution from ink dyeing are major environmental threats.)
In the past, Rich, a former x-ray technician, used this process to transfer actual medical x-ray images onto some of his pieces. He tired of the x-ray job because it was too “black and white.” Go figure.
Following an upcoming runway showing in Los Angeles, Scott’s new offerings will be available at non-crazy prices ($300 tops) on his website, scottrich.net.