In 1978 Brenda French didn’t consider herself a designer. She was a single parent with a degree in literature and was in need of a way to support her child while still staying at home. She recognized her then hobby of knitting had the potential to become a business. French started out by knitting long pieces of fabric to test out color schemes and yarn weights. Women would ask about the colorful “rags” she wore around her neck and began selling her pieces, naming them French Rags.
French expanded her business to include sweaters of all cuts, classic trousers, jackets and dresses, all in vibrant colors and innovative, durable rayon knits. French was heavily influenced by the American Southwest and featured Navajo-inspired prints in many of her designs. Her company grew rapidly and began catching the eye of major retailers and her designs were carried by Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor and Bonwit Teller. She opened her own factory location in 1996 where her high end clothes were available at a price attainable to women like the struggling single mom she once was.