Louisiana-raised Billy Reid's métier is Southern swagger: His models look like well-groomed Creedence roadies, and his clothes split the difference between rugged and refined, where moonshine meets the mint julep. This fall he's smuggling bursts of color and pattern into otherwise restrained ensembles. Reid is based in Florence, Alabama, a little town that offers huge inspiration: "When we moved into our building, we found old newspapers in the walls. I pulled one out from 1946, and it said, 'Florence: The Cultural Jewel of Alabama.' It was happening then, and it's happening now."
Brighten the Corners
"Men shy away from color – they have blacks, browns, grays, and that's it – but I'll see a color for our women's line and throw that into the men's. Shirts are a good way for guys to pull off color. Stripes help, too. Pop a gold in there, and ground it with a more typical guy color."
"Florence, Alabama, which is on the Tennessee River, has an incredibly rich cultural heritage. Muscle Shoals is nearby, where Aretha Franklin recorded, and where the Black Keys made Brothers. A rural, redneck thing comes to mind when you think of the South, but there's the aristocratic society, too, and it all gets along harmoniously. You see that in our clothes."
Surf the South
"I love visiting Charleston. The food scene is off the charts. A lot of the chefs started their own farms: 'I know exactly what we fed these hogs to get them to taste like this.' Take a day trip to Folly Beach – there's a surf scene and an unbelievable Mexican place called Taco Boy. Drink margaritas, eat fish tacos, walk the beach."
One Pot per Party
"When my wife and I entertain, we stick with one-pot recipes, like shrimp étouffée. We'll use the good china, but we keep it simple. Do one thing well. Have someone else bring salad or dessert. It takes the pressure off."