FRNCH (pronounced “French”), the Paris-based womenswear brand founded in 2015 that marries Parisian style with timeless and cosmopolitan garments, began with a meeting between Chloé Jin and Franck Lin, who would become the brand’s artistic director and sales manager respectively. A quintessential Parisian couple — both were passionate about fashion, trends and style, and grew up immeshed in the fashion industry — the pair was frustrated with the traditional workings of fashion wholesale, which for them, involved daily price negotiations and the lack of personal flair making up the clothing they received.
Taking matters into their own hands, Jin and Lin founded their brand FRNCH — which, fittingly, is the contraction of their two first names along with a reference to the brand’s home country — which was built from the philosophy to offer the latest trends accessibly, creatively and uniquely. The brand says that it values “open-mindedness, joy and diversity” which is embodied in FRNCH’s commitment to producing garments in more natural fabrics and its multi-national executive team and staff.
In the brand’s nearly 10 years of business, FRNCH has expanded to offer classic tops and graphic T-shirts, sweater vests, dresses, shirt jackets, trouser pants and belted jumpsuits in a variety of fabrics and color palettes that are effortlessly clean and chic. For each season’s release of clothing and accessories, the brand’s prints are hand-drawn and digitally edited and enhanced by Paris-based graphic designers who draw from personal inspiration to create designs that are totally unique to FRNCH and its aesthetic DNA.
Color is also a crucial ingredient in FRNCH’s signature look, as both the brand’s warm- and cold-weather season collections are charged with bright colors to evoke positivity and energy. The complimentary color palettes and bold patterns encourage wearers to express their personalities through mixing and matching seemingly clashing patterns and experimenting with silhouettes.
According to the brand, “to be FRNCH is to be free, colorful, passionate and bold,” with clothing and accessories that capture the balance between chic and casual.
Recently, Jin has transitioned to sole management of the company, leading FRNCH with her design vision of “for women, by women.” As general manager and artistic director, the brand is now an almost entirely women-run and -designed fashion company, bringing together a unique, diverse group of talents to create each seasonal collection.
This month, FRNCH will participate as an exhibiting brand at FashionGo Week in Palm Springs. As the first in-person event presented by FashionGo — a global business-to-business wholesale e-commerce marketplace for the fashion industry — FashionGo Week will merge the platform’s online tools and services with the in-person wholesale community.
Backdropped by a California oasis, FashionGo Week integrates the platform’s online discovery tool, StyleMatch+, while offering the opportunity for brands to share their merchandise and connect with an entirely new market of customers and retailers that are looking for the latest trends and timeless styles.
Ahead of FashionGo Week, Jin shared FRNCH’s brand ethos, what the brand’s customers are loving as the weather moves into the warmer temperatures of spring and what she has learned through the brand’s almost 10-year history.
Have you always loved fashion? Do you have any formative memories related to fashion?
Chloé Jin: When I was growing up, we didn’t have much, so I would shop at thrift stores and look through all of the vintage stuff. I loved the fact that because I shopped there, the pieces that I wore were unique — no one could be wearing the same things as me! My parents worked in fashion, so I was also influenced by their jobs. I grew up around fashion and retail. My dad taught me everything he knew about fashion and how to make a business work, so that’s how I started.
How would you sum up what quintessential “French style” is, both locally to the country and globally?
CJ: French women are known for their effortless and chic style — it’s essential to feel good in your clothes without trying too hard.
What would you say is FRNCH’s brand ethos? What some of the hallmarks of FRNCH’s designs?
CJ: The main idea behind all of our collections is to make our customers feel like they are the best that they can be when they wear our clothes. We want our designs to uplift our customers spirits and to bring them joy. We’re inspired by the elegance and casual style of the classic Parisian girl, and we love to add a modern twist. We’re really into colors and unique prints. We don’t necessarily follow trends — instead, we are interested in creating the pieces that we would love to have and keep in our wardrobe throughout the seasons.
Where do FRNCH’s designers find their inspiration when they’re creating pieces for the brand’s individual collections?
CJ: Our inspiration comes from all sorts of places. It might come from something we’ve seen recently, like an art exhibition or a street style look, and it can also come from a past memory or personal experience of our designers.
Who is the FRNCH customer?
CJ: Our collections are designed for what we call the “FRNCH Girl 2.0”She’s fun and outgoing, and she is not afraid to be bold but always integrates a timeless piece to her outfit. She feels good in her clothes without feeling like she is trying too hard!
What would you say are your most popular pieces right now, and of all time?
CJ: At the moment, our hand-made, chunky-knit sweaters and cardigans have been selling very well — the styles are unique, happy and brightly colored! They are so easy and fun to wear that we’ve had to reproduce various SKUs [(stock-keeping units)] in multiple iterations.
Overall, considering our global sales, we have a really big range of jumpsuits and rompers in our collection [that are popular]. These styles are something that our clients have always appreciated — they’re classic FRNCH styles.
How has your brand shifted and matured since 2015? What are some of the most surprising things you’ve learned from starting the brand?
CJ: Since 2015, we have expanded a lot, including distributing our garments internationally. We have defined the FRNCH woman that we want to dress with our collections and the values that we want our brand to transmit. A key focus of ours as we are growing FRNCH has been to develop an ethical brand that could also be a sustainable business.
The most surprising thing I have learned about my brand was that [in a leadership position], you do not always get to do what you love to do the most. When I started FRNCH, I was the head of the creative department, and that was what I was really passionate about. When I took over management of the business, I realized that I had to spend a lot of time managing the team and delegating the workload — in the new role, I was figuring it all out as I did it.
What advice can you share with entrepreneurs who are interested in starting their own fashion brands?
CJ: The best advice that I would give to up-and-coming entrepreneurs is to gain as much knowledge and experience in the fashion business as you can — it is key to know how a fashion business works. I would also say that your employees and the people that work with you are at the heart of a successful business.
What are some trends for spring/summer and beyond that you both are most excited to see grow in popularity?
CJ: For the spring and summer seasons this year, we’re most excited to see women of all ages feeling confident and trying out new things, including playing with their personal style with different colors. With our colorful and playful collections, our goal is to communicate these kinds of positive, liberated vibes.
What are you most looking forward to during FashionG Week?
CJ: We are most looking forward to meeting all of our existing customers as well as saying hello to new buyers. FashionGo is an important asset to the fashion buying community, linking buyers with brands through a convenient online platform. We certainly appreciate being apart of their ecosystem and look forward to cultivating long-lasting relationships with all of our partners.
What is coming up next for FRNCH?
CJ: A pop-up store in Paris – the fashion capital of the world!
Follow FRNCH on Instagram (@frnch_us) for updates and news. Garments and accessories are available for purchase at us-frnch.fr.