At first, Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye didn’t recognize him.
Patrick Henry, a tailor who goes by Fresh now, worked with the Grammy-winning recording artist back in 2016 on altering a heavy field jacket. Matthew Henson, who styles ASAP Rocky and The Weeknd, reached out to Fresh and said he needed someone who could pull up to Tesfaye’s house in L.A. and do great work. Fresh was happy to oblige.
The Weeknd wouldn’t be the only one on the XO label Fresh would work with. Soon after the tailor began doing alterations for Tesfaye, he started making custom clothes for rapper Belly, which eventually led to him working on bespoke suits for the label’s head Wassim “Sal” Slaiby and his family. He’s also created custom pieces for XO co-founder Amir “Cash” Esmailian. In October 2019, Slaiby asked Fresh to design some christening suits for himself and his young son Joseph. And while on a call with The Weeknd, who is Joseph’s godfather, Slaiby told the star he was going to send him a suit by Fresh as well. Extremely impressed by the end product, The Weeknd reached back out, invited Fresh to his home, and said they had to work on something together. He didn’t realize he’d met Fresh in 2016.
Fresh had changed his name (he used to go by “Rich”) and hair color to a bright pink (it used to be blonde) so The Weeknd didn’t immediately place him as the man who used to do his alterations for red carpets or stadium tours. Fresh didn’t take offense. It actually made him feel better about what he produced.
“He didn’t even know it was me, which is flattering because it wasn’t like I had an in based on previous experience [with him],” Fresh recalls during a phone call with Complex. “I had an in with him just because my shit was dope.”
Their relationship developed, and one night The Weeknd called Fresh asking him to work on a look for some upcoming videos. Tesfaye brought up Robert De Niro’s character Sam “Ace” Rothstein in the 1995 Scorsese film Casino—Fresh hadn’t seen it—and said he wanted something that captured the spirit of Sin City.
“I want something that feels like Vegas, bro...I don’t know, dangerous but still sexy,” The Weeknd said over the phone, according to Fresh. After watching the movie, Fresh sent over a few different concepts to the star.
One was a teal jacket with white buttons, a matching teal shirt, creamy white pants, a white pocket square, and white shoes. Another was a dark suit, either black or a dark plum. But the third was the red jacket.
That crimson suit ended up being the focal point of After Hours, The Weeknd’s fourth studio album, a Grammy frontrunner that features the hit song “Blinding Lights.” Through everything—the promo run, the late night television appearances, the MTV Video Music Awards performance over 1,000 feet in the air, and even the virtual red carpets—The Weeknd has donned the same red jacket designed by Fresh.
“I had to bring everything [to a music video shoot] except for the shoes, glasses, rings, and shit like that,” says Fresh. “But any garment, the ties, the square, the shirt, the jacket, the pants. All that shit was me.”
Fresh now runs the two-year-old luxury label Richfresh out of Los Angeles. The tailor has dressed some huge names including the Wade family, Rick Ross, John Legend, and more. His 2020 has been full: showing at New York Fashion Week last month for the first time, working on a jade suit for Zaya Wade that made national headlines, and designing for The Weeknd.
Fresh says he didn’t know The Weeknd would wear the same look throughout the After Hours roll out. He even asked his team if he had any plans to switch up the look and they told Fresh The Weeknd was really feeling the red.
Following that, Fresh was determined to make every suit a carbon copy of the original, so he bought up as much of the red wool fabric he could. He said The Weeknd now probably has over 15 identical red jackets he uses for music videos and television appearances—and that’s without counting anything he might make for his tour schedule once the pandemic is over.
“After seeing the videos, he picked the perfect look,” says Fresh.
Fresh learned the power of dressing well long before making suits for The Weeknd. At 13-years-old, a cheerleader he tutored taught him that the best way to get a woman to notice you is to dress well.
It didn’t take long for Fresh to translate his eye for design into a commercial opportunity. For a class project, he was tasked with creating a product and calculating the margins and costs that come with selling it. Fresh decided to buy a DIY moccasins kit for $7 at his local hobby store and make a pair. After class, he took 10 orders for $20 each.
“I was not a popular kid, so to be an unpopular kid and seeing dozens of kids at the school wearing something that you just made was like, ‘Damn, I like the way this feels.’”
Fresh moved from Little Rock, Arkansas to Memphis at 15-years-old. After graduating high school he worked in his father’s Subway franchise and then as a bank teller before being abruptly fired. Afterwards, he started a business doing alterations for dry cleaners, picking up pieces, and then dropping them off when he was done.
Fresh taught himself how to sew. The tailor sought professional training but was often turned away, something he says fueled an obsession to be better than anyone else in that space. Eventually, he moved to New York and then Los Angeles to sharpen his skills.
“I moved to New York and took very, very complex jobs working for big suit houses, learning way more than I knew so that I could become better.” —Fresh
“I moved to New York and took very, very complex jobs working for big suit houses, learning way more than I knew so that I could become better,” Fresh tells Complex. “Then I moved to L.A. and I worked in retail for the first time selling luxury suits for Ermenegildo Zegna.”
Fast forward to 2020, and Fresh now runs his own manufacturing facilities, alterlier, and team of tailors out of L.A. He also recently launched Henry masks with his brother Chase Morgan—for every mask purchased, one is donated to frontline workers and families in need. His custom suits start at $4,000, but he also sells ready-to-wear including tracksuits, which start at $2,800, and gym bags, which begin at $2,400. You can recognize his suits by a yellow tab near the elbow. Fresh is also known for lining his suit jackets in bold fabrics.
“The thing that annoys me more than anything else is seeing a beautiful suit with a solid acetate lining,” Fresh says. “Nothing annoys me more than going into a store, looking at a $3,000, $4,000 suit, and I open it, and the lining is grey. It ain't even silk. It's just grey. I spend more money on the linings of my suits than I do on the fabric for the exterior because this is wearable art. My clients are all super fucking rich. Why would I not want to give them art?”
His long list of clients has included supermodel Iman, who once messaged him needing five suits. Fresh’s father used to sell cosmetics for Revlon, so he was aware of Iman before she placed the order and he flew to New York to fit her. Another client is John Legend. Fresh says he would consistently DM Legend’s stylist, and he was finally able to link with him. He worked on almost every suit Legend wore on the most recent season of NBC’s The Voice—Legend is wearing a pink suit Fresh made on a Sunset Boulevard billboard promoting the show.
“It’s just something surreal about driving and seeing your shit on a billboard,” says Fresh.
He’s also designed for Zaya Wade, Dwyane Wade’s daughter and Garbrielle Union’s step daughter, when she made her first red carpet appearance after coming out as trasngender. Zaya, Wade, and Union all wore custom Richfresh suits. Zaya donned a bright green jacket and black pants with a diagonal fuchsia stripe across the front. Wade wore a black and white colorblock suit with a fuchsia shirt underneath, and Union chose a black and white jacket worn over a green top. Fresh said he wanted to maintain their individuality but highlight the support and collectiveness amongst the superstar family.
“Zaya was like, ‘You know? I'm really feeling jade right now. I'm really having a jade moment,'” Fresh says about the design process. He only had four days to put together the family’s looks. “I was like, ‘What the fuck? What kid says jade?’ You know what I'm saying? I was like, ‘Zaya, you want jade? You're going to get jade.’”
Designing for children and showing at New York Fashion Week was never a part of his plan, but when Harlem Fashion Row reached out to see if he’d be interested in virtually showing during New York Fashion Week and collaborating with kid’s wear brand Janie and Jack (LeBron James’ daughter Zhuri wore a piece from the collaboration last month), he said yes.
“The CFDA and Harlem Fashion Row, they said, ‘We like this guy's shit. We want to invite him to participate in the biggest show on earth,’” Fresh says. “I’m so grateful, man. I live every day with so much joy and gratitude because none of this shit makes sense.”
Fresh, who is also in talks with Beyoncé’s stylist Zerina Akers, is young with an extremely impressive clientele and rolodex already—but there’s still a few people he wants to work with. At the top of the list are the Obamas. He also mentions Justin Bieber, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and Drake. He’s still waiting to dress LeBron James.
“I don't understand why I don't have LeBron yet. It's kind of blasphemous. I mean, I am Mr. L.A. How the fuck do I not have LeBron? His people need to really work on that, because it's not a good look, it's kind of a black eye on LeBron,” Fresh jokes.
Fresh’s energy, even over the phone, is infectious. The young luxury tailor exudes confidence, but not in a cocky, off-putting way. He knows his worth in an era when that might be more important than ever.
“[I’m going to become] the greatest to ever do it, man...the biggest brand that they’ve ever talked about—and it’s going to happen within the next five years.”