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.
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]