Mr. Billy Reid: King of the South | A Continuous Lean.

Mr. Billy Reid: King of the South

Jun 28th, 2010 | Categories: Americana, Men's wear | by Michael Williams

The Billy Reid design space and office. Photo via Mr. Brandon Capps

Over the past two years, Billy Reid (the man and the company), have organized a party dubbed “The Shindig” which takes place during the first weekend of June at the company’s home-base of Florence, Alabama. The booze soaked weekend is a combination of good food, music, nice people and of course good looking clothes. Basically, all I could ever ask for. The party was so much fun it took me a month to actually say anything about it and put this post together.

If you have ever been to Northwest Alabama, it is the picture of laid-back, down-home Southern living. The type of living I could get used to. A group of six of us took a big plane from New York to Atlanta, then a tiny wobbly-scare-the-shit-out-of-you-propeller-plane straight into the Northwest Alabama Regional Airport. As you can imagine it is not a massive airport (on our way home we arrived about 10 minutes before our flight departed), but it gets the job done. The airport serves “The Shoals,” an area made up by four cities: Muscle Shoals, Florence, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. Prior to Mr. Reid’s arrival to the area and subsequent American-fashion-domination, the Shoals were most famous for The Swampers (who are known for a song or two) and all of the the music that has been recorded at Fame Studios.

Mr. Reid on the guitar. Photo via Mr. Brandon Capps

To spend time with Billy on his home turf was beyond great. He invited us over to his house for Gumbo (he’s from New Orleans originally — his wife is from the Florence area) and drinks before heading to his store / company HQ for more drinks and live music. The next day we spent the day on the Tennessee River (which was been dammed up by the TVA during the New Deal and afterward apparently became a lake or a reservoir. I’m still not clear how to refer to that thing) relaxing, drinking and hanging out with Billy, his guests and friends. It was an amazing crew of people — everyone was interesting and super friendly. But none were more hospitable and cordial than Mr. Billy Reid himself. If you are like me, you visit a designer’s store, you check out their website and read about them in magazines — you rarely know what the people behind a brand are really like. It is for these reasons that I was so happy to get to spend time with Billy Reid in Alabama. Not only is he nice, the man is hugely talented, personable and humble. A combination not often found. [Billy Reid]

The Civil Wars perform at Billy Reid HQ.

Mr. Brandon Capps. at the home of Billy Reid. (Photo via Mr.Mordechai S. Rubinstein).

Photo via Mr.Mordechai S. Rubinstein. Don't call him Mort.

Downtown Florence during a brief rain storm.

Ye Old General Store had a lot of American made goods.

Messy Missy: vodka, cran-apple juice, 7-Up and lemon.

Home made ice cream.

Comments: 17

17 Comments to “Mr. Billy Reid: King of the South”

  1. Tintin
    on Jun 28th, 2010
    @ 5:16 PM

    Long way from a war zone. Great pics. That’s the best shot I’ve ever seen of Mr Rubinstein. He’ll blow it up to 16×20 and put it on his cubicle wall.

  2. if i had a cubicle i would do
    on Jun 28th, 2010
    @ 5:20 PM

    what a beautiful country club that was

  3. Dave
    on Jun 28th, 2010
    @ 5:25 PM

    Wow. I’ve driven through Alabama but sadly, never through the Shoals. Those shots make southern living just so dog-gone desirable. Makes me want to retire at 37, relocate thereabouts, pour myself stiff whiskeys and put my feet up on the porch full-time.

  4. Brett
    on Jun 28th, 2010
    @ 5:34 PM

    lord they get me off so much…pick me up when I’m feelin’ blue.

  5. flocker
    on Jun 28th, 2010
    @ 5:44 PM

    I am from the south, and have hung out with a lot of people cooler than me, but i have never, ever seen a dude in overalls, palladium boots, and a fedora on the tailgate of a truck. awesome.

  6. AB
    on Jun 28th, 2010
    @ 9:20 PM

    “…a lake or a reservoir. I’m still not clear how to refer to that thing.”

    I used to go fishing about an hour from there. We always called it the waterway.

  7. Heath Holden
    on Jun 28th, 2010
    @ 10:20 PM

    Yay! I made it onto Continuous Lean! I’m the in picture of The Civil Wars. Great story on Billy Reid. @flocker- The guy in overalls is Butch Anthony from the Museum of Wonder in SEALE, Alabama.

  8. Ted
    on Jun 28th, 2010
    @ 10:44 PM

    Beautiful post ! Thank you.

  9. Ryan
    on Jun 28th, 2010
    @ 11:05 PM

    I really respect what he’s doing-there’s few parts of this country that maintain their historic flavor without feeling contrived or touristy.

  10. Sheryl
    on Jun 29th, 2010
    @ 2:42 AM

    Feel like I’ve made a trip back home! Thanks for this feature.

  11. Steve
    on Jun 29th, 2010
    @ 9:37 AM

    The South is nothing like that….really. There are just a bunch of hillbillys down there. No need to see the best kept secret in the USA. (It is actually just like that which is why I am proud to be from the South).

  12. A.J.
    on Jun 29th, 2010
    @ 9:55 AM

    “…a lake or a reservoir. I’m still not clear how to refer to that thing.”

    I grew up in the Shoals (Tuscumbia, to be exact…across the Tennessee from Florence) and we called the high-side (east of Wilson Dam) “the lake” and the low-side (west of Wilson Dam) “the river.” I have no idea why.

  13. Thomas Weishaupt
    on Jun 29th, 2010
    @ 5:32 PM

    Interesting to note how the interior of Billy’s house relates to the interior of his stores. How does one get invited to something like this?
    -Tom

  14. Gordon Ye Ole General Store
    on Jun 29th, 2010
    @ 6:16 PM

    Michael, Glad you had a good weekend, in Florence. Thanks, for stopping at Ye Ole General Store. Very nice pictures. Hope to see you next time.

  15. TJ Reid
    on Jul 5th, 2010
    @ 6:05 PM

    Thanks for the kind words about Billy. In the south we try to raise good ole boys right, and I am one proud MAMA!

  16. Mike Tyer
    on Jul 14th, 2010
    @ 6:23 PM

    Michael,
    Thanks for featuring Fox River’s Original Rockford Red Heel Classic American Sock and the Original Sock Monkey made in the USA since 1900. We proudly manufacture these socks in Osage, Iowa and are sold in thousands of locations nationwide like the great Ye Ole General Store. Be sure to stop there and check out all the great things they have in stock or find a retailer near you at foxsox.com.

    Thanks again for the great photo essay!

  17. Shivs
    on Jul 16th, 2010
    @ 7:14 PM

    I’m tempted to start a blog dedicated to porches, porches are so underappreciated . Anyway, those were some very nice ones.