Billy Reid Goes the Extra Mile to Make Menswear in America

billy reid made in america interview reid0985 edited

The best menswear takes a bit of extra effort. Just ask Billy Reid, the lauded American designer who’s doing things the old-fashioned way by focusing on making plenty of garments right here in the States.

It’s an approach that brands have shied away from in recent years for a variety of reasons. “It’s not always easy … it is a little bit of a puzzle,” Reid says. But that made-in-America approach, which includes fall-ready pieces like the standout denim shirt, has benefits for the consumer, both in matters of style and substance.

“I guess it started in the beginning [of the brand] – I was making many things in the Garment District in New York,” Reid said by phone from his brand’s Florence, Alabama, headquarters recently.

Reid has carried over many of those same close-knit garment-district relationships into the present day, partnering with smaller, family-owned businesses to produce gear that every guy can appreciate, including the American Woolen Company. The company develops all the textiles for Reid’s handsome suits that are so stylish and easy to wear that any guy can dress each individual suit piece up or down. It’s true American versatility at its finest. 

Other unique American companies like GIL Sewing, a minority, women-owned business of out Chicago produces the brand’s rugged workwear shirting, while NYC’s Studio One Leather Design makes pieces like the edgy, seriously cool Blake Leather Jacket.

Other surefire staple pieces, such as the brand’s excellent garment-dyed slim jeans – which we’d pair with a white Oxford shirt and a navy blazer – are timeless, investment-worthy additions to any wardrobe, complete with the added care of being made in the U.S.

So, why do things the hard way?

“That’s really more of a personal thing,” Reid said. “The longer you work with someone, the better it gets.”

That continual advancement is evident both in terms of construction — the Denim Shirt, for instance, is exceptionally well-made – as well as the variety of styles Reid offers. The crisp, cleanly designed Msl 1-Pocket Shirt is but one example of a piece that can be worn with anything, consistently — all the better given that you’re spending some hard-earned cash on it.

Does Reid have a favorite from his American-made offerings, though? 

“They’re sort of like all your children,” he joked. “We’re making beautiful textiles with these people.”

The brand, Reid says, is all about “true American luxury” – that’s a stance we can get behind, and that approach isn’t changing any time soon. “We kind of live it every day – it’s hard to get away from it.”

You can check out all of Billy Reid’s Made in America gear from shoes to candles to socks to suits at the designer’s official website.

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