Meet Up Mondays: Billy Reid

Of the ever-growing pool of American menswear brands today, few are as deeply authentic and modern as Billy Reid, with its air of unstudied cool, soft tailoring and energy from the South. But probably what we love the most about its designer Billy Reid is that for all the freestanding stores and accolades—from 2010-12 GQ, the Council of Fashion Designers of America as well as the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awarded their highest honors to the designer—the man still calls Florence, Alabama home and is as refreshingly down-to-earth as the day he launched the brand in 2004. We recently checked in with the designer to learn more about the stunning new Heirloom collection, featuring bespoke and hand-tailored processes and Italian fabrics, and the workwear companion line MSL-ALA (standing for Muscle Shoals, Alabama) as they made their debut at Saks Fifth Avenue from coast to coast.

For those of us who dont know Heirloom well, tell us what the line is about, why you launched it, and what pieces youre particularly proud of.  

Heirloom is a collection and assortment of pieces that grew from our shops. Tailored clothing, hand knits, experimental pieces, luxury developed fabrications, etc. that grew to form its own Made in the USA collection.

Theres definitely a heightened sense of sophistication about this collection vs. the main line and even your previous collections. For one, you had mentioned recently that you were working with a lot more European fabrics. Do you think guys in general have just become that much more sophisticated now and therefore more challenging to design for?

There are so many good options and at many price levels. We make clothes that we want to wear and hope that folks want to make them their favorites pieces in their closet. The customer is becoming more particular and knowledgeable and he is looking for something real and lasting, and that’s a good thing.

As a result, what plans do you have for MSL-ALA and the main line?

The various collections are really family, but with subtle personality differences. MSL focuses on denim and fell seamed constructed garments and spans into various categories all within that mood. Main line links well with that and reaches out to classic-inspired wovens, knits and jackets. In the end, all should feel like the same house.

meet mondays billy reidPart of Billy Reids charm, of course, is understanding good taste and not overdoing natty so guys can look polished but not overly done up. What advice can you give to guys about shopping, say, for work clothes?  

Find your favorites pieces and build around it. Know what you feel comfortable wearing and be cool with yourself.

And for the summer? We feel like Southerners just know how to dress for the weather and still look sharp.  

There are those images of cotton suits, mint juleps and all those romanticized thoughts and clothing associated to it. What’s great to see is how to make that idea fresh and more global. Over-referencing it works for some in their wardrobe, but making it look modern is always great to see.

Summer is coming but almost always difficult for designers to enjoy, what with having to design for the following year. Do you have a favorite getaway spot for the summer and what are we likely to find you doing there?    

Love to go to the Apalachicola area near Cape San Blas, Florida to get away. It’s Florida before it was Florida and so chilled.

And what else do you do for fun that most people might not know about?  

My spring and early summer is booked pretty solid with coaching little league baseball. It’s one of my favorite things I get to do.

Can you recall the last book you enjoyed reading?  

I’m not an avid reader but love art books. I can’t sit still very often, so images are better for me. The last book I read was an Eames-style cabinet-making book that illustrated the process of furnishing and building a house using built cabinets and mixing materials. Not exactly a mind blowing read for most.

Finally, we know Billy Reid loves his bourbon. Tell us how you make your favorite drink.  

Ice. Bourbon. Put in a glass.

Food & Drink

What Is Baijiu: 4 Brands to Try Right Now

Baijiu is one of the most-consumed spirts in the world. It's time to learn why.

Every Kid at Heart Needs This Hot Wheels Coffee Table Book

Three hundred pages of Hot Wheels history and a personal homage from Mario Andretti make up this new tome.

6 Best U.S. National Parks to Visit in the Winter

Smaller crowds at some of the more popular parks are just one of the benefits.

Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018: The Best Gear of the Year

Get ready for knitting machines that eliminate scrap waste, hiking boots made from algae, and biodegradable down.

L.L. Bean Teams Up with Main Craft Breweries for New Beer and Boot Collab

You can win a free pair of boots by simply enjoying some beer. Incredible, we know.
Fashion & Style

Gear Up for Winter With the Best Fleece Clothing for Men

You definitely won't get "fleeced" when buying one of these great fleece, including gloves, sweatshirts, and pants.
Fashion & Style

Must-Have Winter Accessories to Get You Through this Year’s Cold Season

If you're warm, you're ready for the frigid days ahead.
Fashion & Style

Strike the Perfect Balance With the Best Yoga Pants for Men

Keep your chi centered and your goods comfortable with the best yoga pants for men — no matter the position.
Fashion & Style

Transition from Fall to Winter Seamlessly with These Stylish Shirt Jackets

With an aesthetic that draws inspiration from early 20th century work and soldier wear, this garment is cozy, strong, and resistant to the wear and tear of the everyday.
Fashion & Style

10 Best Men’s Watches Under $500

You don't have to break the bank to own an awesome timepiece.
Fashion & Style

The Snow Peak Pendleton Wool Blanket Is Camp Comfort Done Right

One of our favorite outdoor outfitters meets our favorite blanket maker in one killer collab.
Fashion & Style

Shop the Hottest Men’s Thermal Shirts Before It’s Too Cold

Thermal shirts are the best casual basic to throw on during a weekend at home.
Fashion & Style

Say Goodbye to Down with the United By Blue Bison Puffer Jacket

Bison fiber is also remarkable for its laundry list of benefits — it regulates temperature, it’s hypoallergenic, and it’s actually warm when wet. 
Fashion & Style

The Best Work Pants for Men That Are Both Sturdy and Stylish

Work pants aren't just for the outdoorsman, but if that happens to be you? All the better.