Designer: Sheridan French
From: Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas, designer Sheridan French is the kind of woman she designs clothes for. As a stay-at-home mom, French not only tends to her three kids—a newborn and two toddlers—but she also runs the business. “The inspiration behind the styles and silhouettes is real life. I need my clothes to take me from weekday school drop-off at 9 A.M., through grocery store shopping, through lunch meetings, playing with dogs, working at my desk, and date nights. I rarely have the luxury of time to change so whatever I throw on in the morning has to work all day. It has to be comfortable and it must be chic!”
The clothes are punchy—Sheridan never shies away from saturated color. Some popular, signature pieces include a plum sleeveless tunic accented with a lemon border and a caramel Ikat print dress with Kelly green elbow patches. Look past the loud colors, and there is a sense of subdued ease to the collection. Simple silhouettes and timeless cuts ensure you’ll get more than a few summers’ worth of pool parties from one of her dresses. There’s a strong bohemian feel that reads more casual than hippie. The Sheridan French customer might pair her beaded tangerine shift with kitten heels for a night on the town, and then break out a pair of flip-flops for an impromptu jaunt to the beach.
Maintaining her blog, she lets customers in on a charmed life as she juggles being a mother, maintaining an active social life, and running a business with nary a hair out of place. There are pictures of her eight months pregnant with a dazzling smile, stiletto heels and a slinky cocktail dress—no sweat. She also has a handy “How I Wore It” section of the site, which helps to spark ideas of how to incorporate the Sheridan French line into the existing wardrobes of potential customers. It’s a smart tactic; seeing how easily Sheridan mixes and matches the line herself, she really makes you want to buy into her brand, but it never comes across as pushy, it just seems to make sense.
The Sheridan French line has also unfolded to include handbags, pillows, placemats, and napkins, and a children’s clothing line is in the works. “Just as the clothing inspiration is derived from real life, so are my home goods; it was a little gap that needed filling in my life personally. I searched around for my ideal dinner napkins, place mats and pillows, and nothing quite fit the bill (at least at the price I wanted to pay), so I decided to create my own. I love the result and have gorgeous Ikat pillows all over my entire home now!”
Produced in Bali, French works directly with the people who make the clothing. “From the fabric weavers in the mills to those overseeing production,” French is a part of the entire process. This enables her to confidently proclaim that child labor or unfair trade practices are never employed. With a nod to her Balinese influences, the 2012 resort collection has thirty unique fabrics, including traditional hand woven Ikat and luxurious Songket, hand embroidered with silk and cotton.
Sheridan promises “massive amounts of color with no shortage of oranges, corals, turquoise, pinks and, of course, neons!” Constantly building on new ideas and adding new styles, the future looks as bright for the Sheridan French label as her famous neon frocks do.