Rare Fabrics

Creative Producer: Johnson Gold // @johnson_gold

Photographer: Ollie Ali // @mrollieali

Talent: Rico Sanches // @rarefabrics 

Wardrobe Pull: PAUSE Magazine Team

Wardrobe Stylist: Rico Sanches // @rarefabrics

Fashion Assistant: Nathan Lambert // @nathaneazariah

Interview:Johnson Gold // @johnson_gold

Location: Paris, France

“I was my own captain in a sea of close mindedness.”

Rico Sanches, who is most commonly known as Rare Fabrics online, is a multifaceted creative that hails from Washington DC, exuding the aura of a modern-day fashion success story. A master of trades, the renowned model, stylist, and clothing designer has quickly become a mainstay in the industry, working closely with the likes of luxury Moroccan fashion house Casablanca and up-and-comer Luar, with the world firmly being at his well-travelled feet.

Taking a moment to recollect with PAUSE, Sanches discusses the blurred lines between gendered clothing, overcoming adversity, and what lies behind the clothes themselves.

Check it out below.

Full look: NO FAITH STUDIOS, Cap & Bag: Diesel, Sunglasses: Tom Ford, Shoes: SANKUANZ

Tell us your name and what you do for a living?

My name is Rico Sanches and I am currently a model, a stylist, and a clothing designer. My art form is personal style.

Who is Rare Fabrics? How did the name come about and what does it mean?

Rare Fabrics is a definition. I wanted a nickname just like anyone else growing up and I don’t remember exactly when I came up with it, but I knew I wanted something simple and direct. I knew it had to be about my style in some way so Rare Fabrics came to be. Rare Fabrics is literally what my style is, I’m colourful, I’m versatile, and I mix different textures together on the regular. Most importantly, I’m tasteful and that’s what makes it rare to me. I love mixing different fabrics together to make unorthodox outfits. I mostly shop in the women’s section because as a man, we just get t-shirts and jeans in our clothing section in stores. The women get all the silhouettes, the colours, and the different fabrics in their section of the store. I also have a sample sized body so I can fit most of the clothes there. That’s basically what helped the name Rare Fabrics.

Tell us about the guy behind the clothes; where did you grow up and what was life like growing up as a kid?

I was born in Southeast Washington DC. If anyone knows that place, it is very violent and an extremely closed minded area also. Growing up there was very dark and aggressive, but it was great character building for me. Southeast is so dangerous that there are police cars parked there 24/7 in certain streets just to psychologically scare the people there into not committing crimes as much. However, I was absolutely still dressing as colourfully and androgynously as I do today. My family is a very aggressive family. I am the only guy like this in my family, so imagine the disconnect on a daily basis. My older brothers were very respected in my hood so I didn’t get into as many problems in the streets as often as you might think. I was a class clown in school so I had that funny guy respect, but also at the end of the day no matter where I was or what I had on it looked tasteful, and you just can’t deny good taste at the end of the day. What’s crazy about being androgynous in the hood is that if you’re the only tasteful one like that, you get misunderstood in the outside world and in the inside world. Imagine walking around the hood and people who don’t understand style just thinks that I’m gay and show animosity towards it just to go home to my family and receive the same misunderstandings. I was my own captain in a sea of close mindedness, it was either going to make me or break me, and you see, I’m still here.

Jacket: Casablanca, Top: Diesel, Trousers & Shoes: SONGZIO, Jewellery: model’s own


Top: Dion Lee, Pants: 0livier1000, Shoes: SANKUANZ, Sunglasses: Oakley

Where did your desire for fashion spark from? 

Growing up I had a bunch of older brothers who loved stunting. In the hood everybody wants to stunt, it’s in our nature. I had an older brother who loved wearing designer shirts and shoes like Gucci, LV, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana etc. I was too young to afford things like that but I always loved the attention it brought. So, I would sneak into his closet and steal shirts and shoes and wear them to school and try to sneak them back into his closet when I got back home. I had a different brother who was a huge sneaker head, so his closet would be stacked up to the top of his closet full of shoe boxes of the latest and classic pairs of Jordans. In high school if you had the latest Jordans you were ‘THAT’ guy. I also used to steal his shoes and wear them to school. That spark of confidence and that spark of attention I would get knowing I had designer and the latest sneakers on was very interesting to me. I would even get caught by my brothers a lot wearing their stuff and they would beat the sh*t out of me, but I still would go and do it all over again. Clothes were a psychological gateway for me. I had no confidence in my household growing up at all because it was full of very strong attitudes who had authority over me since I was the youngest at the time, so when I would have something fly on at school it also helped with coping with the fact I didn’t feel mentally strong at home. I felt strong when I was out and dressed up. My brothesr each had their own distinctive looks and I would steal outfits from different brothers and mix it all together and create a whole new look, that’s when I started developing my own personal style also.

You’ve distinctively defined your style and owned it; where did you get your inspiration to dress uniquely?

I’m honestly not too sure where I get my inspiration from to dress like this, being a real individual in your craft means you’re not looking for inspiration in others specifically. I would say life in general guides my interests and imagination, could be anywhere from a TV show to a 9-to-5 worker’s uniform, to a colour palette that could inspire my outfits. However, I do love the old school punk rock era though like the Motley Crue, The Sex Pistols… I really like the style back then , even how the men confidently wore makeup and wigs and stuff. I believe if I was born in that era I’d for sure be someone like Vivienne Westwood or something. I also love how pimps and old school disco funk people dressed as well. I’m sure I grab inspiration from people like that subconsciously. Those are the originators of androgyny. Also, in a lot of places in Africa the men wear bright colours and super skinny clothing, I love those silhouettes. I look up to Andre 3000, Prince, and Michael Jackson of course, but I do feel like I have my own thing going on aside from them.

Full Look: NO FAITH STUDIOS, Bangles: Casablanca, Shoes: SANKUANZ, Sunglasses: Givenchy

Did you ever feel scared for dressing different in your neighbourhood and how did you overcome it?

At times yeah, but what always drives me is the thought of “Am I really about to let these n***** change the way I dress?”, and then I’d always get a wave of confidence like “F*ck that! I’d rather get beat up because they can’t beat me up everyday for it.” They’ll get use to it at some point. I also didn’t walk around looking like a scared ass boy, I walked with a sense of confidence that actually exudes a strong level of masculinity. I’m sure they felt that also and that drove them to not want to see if I’m weak or not. What is crazy is I never actually got beat up for the way that I dressed growing up, one because once I started talking they realised I was a hood n**** just like them and two, the shit just looked fly as hell. I had two bullies in high school that actually hated on me so much that it turned physical, but that’s about it. In fact, I was the guy in the hood that started changing other guy’s perspectives on style and androgyny. Remember when I said you just can’t deny good taste at the end of the day? Even hood n**** can’t either haha!

You mix menswear with womenswear, how important is genderless dressing to you?

It’s not important at all to me, I just wear what I like to wear. I don’t dress like this for any political causes whatsoever. Now, if I happen to fall under some of those categories then that’s nice to feel apart of a community, that’s actually a beautiful thing, but in reality even in the hood it was just about wearing stuff that I thought looked cool. I just like dope shit. Back then I wasn’t thinking big enough to be like, “one day I’ll be one of the faces of genderless fashion.” I just thought the certain silhouettes and colours and fabrics that womenswear give you are much cooler than the men’s, it has nothing to do with my sexuality or political view or anything. It’s isn’t that deep for me, it’s clothing at the end of the day.

Full Look: Balmain, Bag: SANKUANZ, Belt: model’s own, Shoes: Diesel

More men are wearing skirts in 2023, it’s become as normal as women wearing them. What helped get society to this point?

Me personally, I think Young Thug single handedly expanded the horizons of the male perspective of fashion in all ghettos of the world except New York, which I believe is the fashion capital of America. Before Young Thug came out, I’m sure every toxic masculine guy in the hood thought I was gay. After Young Thug came out, I was now the “Young Thug” of the neighbourhood and I’m not saying Thug inspired guys to dress androgynous, it’s been guys dressing androgynous since the beginning of man, but he introduced the thought of a guy being androgynous from the hood as being fly and cool to guys from the hood. So, when he wore that dress on his cover, that was a scream to all the guys who even had a thought of wearing a skirt just for fashion to go ahead and wear that skirt and not give a f*ck. Wear that skirt and still be masculine. We love disrupting the status quo now.

What was the first piece of clothing that you became obsessed with and why?

The very first piece of clothing I ever became obsessed with I can remember just like it’s yesterday. It was a guy at my high school, we called him Skooby, and he was part of the “popular hood fly guy” crowd. He was one of the most popular guys at the school at the time him and his crew. So, one day I’m walking in the hallway and I see this n**** wearing khaki coloured skinny jeans. Man… that first sight of skinny jeans hit me in my soul. That was the very first time that I realized silhouette matters tremendously when it comes to a fly outfit. I remember I got him to sell me those pants, I had 36 pairs of baggy khaki pants back then and I wore those same skinny jeans every single day until I got more, I did not care. I was literally obsessed with them.

What was most recent womenswear piece you bought? 

My most recent womenswear piece actually ain’t something that I purchased, a lot of my friends have been giving me free stuff from their brands lately. My most recent one is this top from a friend of mines brand in London called ‘Paradigm Shift’. It’s a baby blue long sleeve crop top with the shoulders exposed. I love the design, the silhouette and colour of it. A true androgynous piece that fits perfectly with everything I’ve been saying about why I love womenswear.

You’ve achieved great things through modelling, and become a recognisable model for Casablanca. Tell us about your relationship with the brand, and how did it begin?

Firstly, thank you for the compliment. It warms my heart that someone, let alone an institution like PAUSE Magazine, could recognise my work on that level. The story of how I met Casablanca is a crazy one. I’ll start from the very beginning. So, it’s 2019 and some of my friends from NYC who had been to Paris Fashion Week just twice before had found out that I just got my passport. They called me and they offered me to accompany them to Paris, this time for fashion week, because they felt like with me having such a tasteful style, that Paris would love me. I was making good money at the time but I wasn’t always making good money, so I kinda wanted to save up because I knew if I went to Paris it would be a big financial commitment. So, I talked with my room mate in LA about how my friends from NY wanted me to come to Paris for fashion week. I told my room mate, “I don’t know I think I will stay and save my money”, and he looked at me like I was crazy. He basically told me I’d be crazy to pass up any opportunity like that knowing how talented I am at fashion and how impactful I am in the rooms that I walk into. He gave me that whole conversation and I ended up buying my flight ticket right after the conversation. So, fast forward I board my flight to Paris, I get off the plane and go directly to my Airbnb to smoke some weed. The timing was so perfect because literally as soon as I finished my blunt, my friend from NY told me that his Parisian friend said there’s a casting that’s a 10 minute walk from the Airbnb I was in and the casting ended in 20 minutes. I was so nervous because it was literally not even an hour since I arrived in Paris and I know that my style is so crazy compared to theirs, but I got up directly and went straight there. I arrived and it was the very first Casablanca show casting. I remember walking into the room and the whole room got quiet for a second, with me not knowing if they loved me or hated me yet I was still extremely nervous. I walk up to Charaf and he tells me to do a walk for him. I do the walk and he stares at me with a very interested look in his face. Seconds later, he says “can you come back tomorrow for the fitting?”. I was in shock. I hadn’t even been in Paris for an hour yet and I landed a runway show. Paris was my first time ever leaving America. My second day ever leaving America I was at the Casablanca casting. My third time out of America was walking the runway show, it’s crazy to think how far me and Casablanca have come since then. Charaf and the Casablanca team gave me my first chance in Paris and I will forever be grateful for them. We’re literally family now.

What are your favourite brands that support genderless dressing?

Easily Telfar, Ann Demuelemeester, and Casablanca. Telfar is from the streets himself so I really resonate with his brand and the fearlessness that goes into his designs that he puts on male models. Ann Demuelemeester has been a brand that’s always had some of my favorite silhouettes on men and even how some of the woman looks are masculine as well. Casablanca is one of my favorite brands pushing genderless dressing because I am one of the figures of the brand thats exudes that energy. In my photoshoots with them, my runway show looks with them, and even the way that I personally wear Casablanca. I just really appreciate how the brand already believes in androgyny enough for me to flourish beautifully within the brand. Literally my favorite brand to wear ever in life is Casablanca.

How would you describe your style in 3 words?

I would say fearless, impressionable, and tasteful. Fearless because of where I’m from being so negative, but me being so mentally strong that I didn’t allow it to make me a product of my environment. Also, because to have your appearance be your art form is to put your art form up every single day for judgement. People with incredible style live their whole life in their art, it’s literally illegal to go outside naked. We’re forced to perform our art everyday no matter where we are, which means every second we are being perceived which brings an endless cycle of judgement and misunderstandings. Impressionable because of the impact my outfits make when I walk into a room, the way someone could forget me but never forget the feeling I gave them just from my clothing choices. That’s powerful to me. I do believe a style like mine changes minds, which changes lives. I’ve received messages from people who literally found themselves through the inspiration they find from seeing someone like me dressing so different and riskily but handle it with such grace and confidence. That’s a powerful impression. Tasteful, because at the end of the day, that’s what this is all about. It doesn’t matter what you do. If you do with it with a high level of taste you can change the world, or at least the world around you for sure. Tasteful because that’s the only reason we are sitting in front of each other right now. The only reason a regular old guy from Southeast DC like me can even have the chance to grace a lovely magazine like yours and have a chance to expand an expression. Thank you for giving my style another chance to have a voice.

What is next for you?

I am in the early process of starting my own clothing brand called Rain In Parí. I’m actually not a model. I’m actually not a stylist. My passion and end goal is clothing design. I truly believe I have something to offer to the world with this outlet. If you love my style imagine the love I can bring out of you from a clothing item from my brain. It took me a while to get the foundation started but I have officially started, and I’m going to work with what I’ve got. There’s always thoughts of failure but hopefully with God, my demographic, and my taste, there should be no way that I can really lose. I am creating my first drop as we speak, I can’t wait to share it with you all, with love and grace.

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