Billy Reid (fashion designer)
Billy Reid is an American fashion designer based in Florence, Alabama. His line includes men's, women's, accessories and eyewear. His clothing, self-described as “lived-in luxury” and "broken-in luxury", is known for its classic styles in high quality fabrics with unusual accents and Southern influence. Reid summarizes up his brand's concept as "American luxury built to last." Reid, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Michael Kors are the only fashion designers who have won 3 or more CFDA Awards.
Early life and education
Reid grew up in Amite, Louisiana (// ay-MEET), just south of the Mississippi border. He helped his mother operate a women’s clothing boutique located in his grandmother’s home. Reid's hobbies included outdoor activities in the surrounding Southeast Louisiana wetlands. Originally wanting to become a football coach during his youth, Reid attended Southeastern Louisiana University and then the Art Institute of Dallas to study fashion design and merchandising. While still at the Art Institute, he started working for Saks Fifth Avenue. After his time at Saks, Reid worked for 6 years at Reebok International, travelling across the globe for the first collections of Australian golfer Greg Norman. He later did freelance design for Fruit of the Loom, Neiman Marcus, and J. C. Penney.
Reid launched his men's collection under the William Reid label in March 1998; his women's collection launched a few seasons later. When Reid started the business in 1998, it was a one-man operation; he lived in the Garment Center, while a room at the Chelsea Hotel served as an office, studio and showroom. The William Reid brand was focused on wholesale account partnerships rather than directly-owned retail stores; the Fred Segal and Stanley Korshak stores were the main wholesale partners (Stanley Korshak also carries Kiton, Isaia, Brioni, Belvest, Brunello Cucinelli, and Ermenegildo Zegna). Reid received the CFDA Best New Menswear Designer award in 2001. Economic effects arising from the September 11 attacks forced him to close the business in Spring 2002. Reid then moved to Florence, Alabama, his wife's hometown, where she grew up in a household of nine children. Florence is just across the Tennessee River from Muscle Shoals, famous for its recording studio, where The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and others have recorded.
Reid's post-9/11 business model built up a small namesake chain of shops which reflected his "personality and his aesthetic" - loaded with antiques, family heirlooms and reclaimed architectural materials; they "took on a very personal, warm and hospitable environment." In 2004, Charles Moore, legendary photographer of the Civil Rights Movement, shot the first photos for the brand.
Wholesale still accounts for about half of the brand's revenue. His company headquarters is still in Florence, Alabama in a historic bookstore. Downstairs is his flagship shop and upstairs is his design studio. The brand operates a total of 13 directly-owned stores which have an atmosphere of faded elegance: well-worn chairs and carpets, antique chandeliers, mounted animals, and antique apothecary cabinets. Reid has said: "We're based in Alabama and work in New York; It's the balance of those two worlds that our aesthetic is about." Reid cites Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis as influential American designers, and has named Bill Robinson as "one of [his] biggest influences." Vogue noted the brand's "relaxed charm and rolled-up elegance." In early 2017 Observer magazine called Reid "perhaps the most likable player on the American menswear scene." The Washington Post has described Reid's aesthetic as "worn luxury". and W magazine named it "Southern Gentleman sartorialism".
In the US the brand is sold in Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdales. The brand held a month-long pop-up shop in Culver City, California in summer 2017 inside menswear store Magasin; the popup included Reid's made-to-measure service.
The garments are almost all made in USA and made in Italy, using French, Italian and Japanese fabrics. In May 2012 Billy Reid and Natalie Chanin planted a 7-acre field of organic cotton for use in their clothing lines.
Billy Reid eyewear is designed in collaboration with Eponym's design team, and made in Japan. The Optical collection includes a version of Reid’s signature personal frames made from sustainable buffalo horn. Sunglasses and optical frames have details such as leather, ultra-light titanium nose pads, Italian acetate, and gradient lenses. The eyewear collection was debuted in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Rosenbaum House in August 2017 as part of the annual Billy Reid Shindig.
Reid has stated that his production philosophy is: "to make less things, better things, more special things, more meaningful things."
The Fall/Winter 2017 collection included shirts with Yellowhammer embroidery, and the bird became a de facto symbol of the brand. As the state bird of Alabama, the subspecies of Colaptes auratus is known by the common name "yellowhammer," a term that originated during the American Civil War to describe Confederate soldiers from Alabama. The bird has black and gold striping on its wing that is similar to the Billy Reid Signature Heirloom Ribbon, a black and gold ribbon with a bias stripe.
Actor Daniel Craig purchased the Bond Peacoat at the Billy Reid Nashville store while shopping with Kings of Leon, and a few years later wore it in the 2012 film Skyfall; this exposed the brand to a wider audience.  The coat was named after Bond Street, the location of the brand's flagship store in New York City. In Spectre, actor Ben Whishaw as Q wore the Billy Reid Astor Coat. Mike Faist, John T. Edge, Ethan Hawke, and Idris Elba are also fans of the brand.
Each summer, Reid hosts "a multicultural weekend of fashion, art, food, music & friends" in Alabama called Shindig, which started as an informal gathering of close friends and was held for the 8th year in late summer 2016. That year, attendees included musician Jack White, musician Alison Mosshart of The Kills, model Matthew Mosshart, the band Dawes, Tony Award winning actor Alex Sharp, musician John Paul White and The Watson Twins, jewelry designer Pamela Love, Chef John Besh, Chef John Currence, Master Brewer Roy Milner of Blackberry Farm Brewery, former Bloomingdales men's fashion director Josh Peskowitz, and designer Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin. Shindig #9 was held in Muscle Shoals, Alabama on the weekend of August 25-27, 2017. Guests at Shindig #9 included Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Jack White, Ron Gallo, Russ Pollard, Cedric Burnside, Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket, Del McCoury Band, John Currence, and John T. Edge. At Shindig #9, Tesla Motors provided vehicles for Shindig guests to test drive, following Reid's collaboration with Tesla to install an electric car charging station on the campus of University of North Alabama in Florence.
Billy Reid monobrand stores are located in:
- Atlanta (Buckhead and Westside Provisions)
- Austin, Texas
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Chicago (Fulton-Randolph Market District)
- Dallas (Highland Park Village)
- Florence, Alabama
- Houston (Westheimer Road)
- New York City (Bond Street in the SoHo Cast Iron Historic District, and West Village)
- New Orleans (Magazine Street)
- Washington, DC (M Street NW)
Multi-brand boutiques that carry the brand include Brigade in Cleveland, Ohio; Tenet in Southampton, New York; DLM Supply Co. in Dallas, Texas; Sy Devore in Studio City, California; Rothman’s in New York; Carriere in Westlake Village, California; Garmany in Red Bank, New Jersey; Rodes in Louisville, Kentucky; Sebastian’s Closet in Dallas, Texas; and Weitzenkorn’s in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.
Every year the designer produces a limited line of K-Swiss/Billy Reid co-branded sneakers. While all other Billy Reid shoes are Made in Italy, the K-Swiss co-sign sneakers are entirely made in America; they are produced in Batavia, New York in the second-oldest shoe factory in the US. The K-Swiss/Billy Reid co-branded sneakers have been produced since 2011.
Reid, Derek Lam, Reed Krakoff, Simon Doonan, and other fashion industry experts form the advisory board for the Cadillac/CFDA Retail Lab mentorship program, which provides a $75,000 grant along with business development, marketing, and PR assistance for six up-and-coming designers annually.
The GunRunner Boutique Hotel in Florence, Alabama has a Billy Reid Suite featuring a ladder and sleeping loft, and is curated with items rotated in and out on a regular basis. As a part of designing the space, Reid personally built the bed for the room.
Billy Reid hosts an Austin Shindig at SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. In 2015, the brand partnered with Third Man Records for the event, which included shows by Natalie Prass, Steve Gunn, Bully, Laura Marling, Broncho, La Luz, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Gill Landry and Olivia Jean.
On March 17, 2016 Reid and Newport Folk Festival hosted Austin Shindig No. 6 during the annual SXSW festival at Weather Up in Austin, Texas. The lineup that year included country music singer Kacey Musgraves, American funk/soul/R&B singer Charles Bradley, and Muscle Shoals native and artist, Dylan Leblanc; American alternative country musician, “Jonny” Fritz was the MC at the event.
Billy Reid is a corporate sponsor of the Southern Foodways Alliance, and the brand produced a capsule collection of T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps and chef aprons to promote the member-funded nonprofit organization; 20% of proceeds from the collection benefited the Southern Foodways Alliance.
Following the catastrophic inland flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, with economic losses estimated at between $70 billion to $200 billion, Reid hosted a warehouse sale at his Austin store and sent all proceeds to members of the Greater Houston restaurant community, and donated all proceeds from a custom created t-shirt to relief efforts.
Awards and honors
- 2001 CFDA Best New Menswear Designer (as William Reid)
- 2009 New York Magazine Best Men's Store in New York
- 2010 GQ/CFDA Best New Menswear Designer in America Award
- 2010 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Prize 
- 2012 CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year
- 2017 Observer American Menswear Power List #1
Reid is a fan of the New Orleans Saints, and designed a custom black and gold football from Louisiana wild alligator leather for an NFL Super Bowl 50 charity auction. Reid is also a "huge LSU fan" and has "probably listened to or watched every game that's been on in [his] lifetime."
- Al Urbanski, RECon Report: New times, not end of times, for physical retail Chain Store Age, May 26, 2017
- LAUREN SHERMAN, Seeking Comfort at Billy Reid: The designer aimed to entertain his weary audience with more than just clothes. Business of Fashion, JANUARY 31, 2017.
- Alex Badia, Billy Reid Men’s Fall 2017 Women's Wear Daily, January 31, 2017
- Jean E. Palmieri, Billy Reid RTW Spring 2018: The collection featured soft, easy silhouettes in lightweight fabrics. Women's Wear Daily, September 11, 2017
- Lee Carter, SPRING 2018 READY-TO-WEAR: Billy Reid Vogue magazine, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017
- Laurie Brookins, MADE IN AMERICA: FOUR FASHION DESIGNERS ON WHAT IT TAKES TO DO SO 7/20/2017
- Past Winners CFDA.com
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
- Justin Abbott, Meet the Designers: Billy Reid blogs.nordstrom.com AUGUST 19, 2013
- Alex Hoyt, Steel Magnolia: The rugged charm of Southern fashion’s prodigal son, Billy Reid Rhapsody Magazine, July 2016
- LAUREN SHERMAN, 10 YEARS IN, BILLY REID TALKS EXPANSION AND WHAT THE CFDA/VOGUE FASHION FUND MEANT FOR HIS BUSINESS fashionista.com JAN 9, 2015
- Billy Reid on Facebook
- KATHRYN O'SHEA EVANS, Insider: Billy Reid’s Guide to Florence, Alabama Surface, March 10, 2016
- Guy Trebay, Political Fashion Statements at the Men’s Wear Shows The New York Times 2017/02/01
- billyreid.com About
- The Store stanleykorshak.com
- Council of Fashion Designers of America, Billy Reid Accessed 6/17/2016
- billyreid.com Remembering Our First Shoot November 4, 2014
- RACHEL DODES, Designer Fashions a Comeback Without the Usual Pattern THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Feb. 9, 2006
- Fashion New York Times 2009/02/19
- The Shortlist: Billy Reid Elle Decor, October 2013
- Richard Nalley, Fashion Designer Billy Reid In His Own Words barrons.com December 6, 2016
- LEE CARTER, Vogue, FALL 2017 MENSWEAR: Billy Reid JANUARY 31, 2017
- Zachary Weiss, Meet the Men on Observer’s 2017 American Menswear Power List 01/31/2017
- Robin Givhan, The fashion world was rattled by the election — and you can see it on the runway The Washington Post February 5, 2017
- Michael Slenske, Inside Frank Lloyd Wright's Forgotten Masterpiece in Florence, Alabama W magazine, August 30, 2017
- Saks Fifth Avenue: Billy Reid
- Billy Reid at Neiman Marcus
- Billy Reid | Nordstrom
- Bloomingdales | Billy Reid
- Kari Hamanaka, Made for L.A.: Billy Reid Sets Up Shop at Magasin Women's Wear Daily, May 12, 2017
- Richard Nalley, How Billy Reid Built a Hollywood Following from Alabama: Laid-back Billy Reid makes suits that effortlessly look elegant barrons.com December 10, 2016
- RINNE ALLEN, Billy Reid and Alabama Chanin’s Homegrown Cotton New York Times, SEPTEMBER 5, 2014
- Aria Hughes, Billy Reid Signs Eyewear Licensing Deal With Eponym, Women's Wear Daily January 12, 2017
- Designer Billy Reid to Launch First Eyewear Collection Invision, 8 JANUARY 2017
- Bethany Biron, How Eponym is carving out a niche in the luxury eyewear market Digiday/Glossy, MARCH 22, 2017
- Stephen Garner BILLY REID INKS EYEWEAR DEAL WITH EPONYM Mr Magazine, January 17, 2017
- Bleiberg, Larry (June 7, 2015). "10 Great: Frand Lloyd Wright Homes". USA Today.
- Russ Corey, Billy Reid Shindig: Exhibit debuts spring collection, eyewear Times Daily, August 27, 2017
- JONATHAN EVANS, Menswear Designer Billy Reid Wants to Make Less Stuff Esquire magazine, September 1, 2017
- John T shirt
- "Alabama State Bird". Alabama Emblems, Symbols and Honors. Alabama Department of Archives & History. 2006-04-27. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- Record, James (1970). A Dream Come True: The Story of Madison County and Incidentally of Alabama and the United States. Huntsville, Alabama: John Hicklin Printing Company. p. 128.
- About billyreid.com
- Skyfall elevator scene on YouTube
- Bob Carlton, Florence fashion designer Billy Reid outfits Daniel Craig in latest James Bond film AL.com November 06, 2012
- GQ.com James Bond Gets His 'Bama on in Skyfall Thanks to Billy Reid, Matt Sebra, October 18, 2012
- JAKE WOOLF, How James Bond's Peacoat Changed Billy Reid's Business, GQ Magazine November 5, 2015
- Justin Fenner, This Fall, the Peacoat Is Better Than Ever GQ, September 29, 2016
- Billy Reid Astor Coat
- Matt Bell, GET PERFECT JAMES BOND STYLE IN JUST TWO COATS, November 6, 2015
- billyreid.com David Zaritsky November 4, 2015
- STUART EMMRICH, Young Tony Nominee of ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Gets Ready for His Big Day The New York Times 2017/06/04
- KIM SEVERSON, A powerful, and provocative, voice for Southern food New York Times News Service, MAY 23, 2017
- Valeriya Safronova, Billy Reid’s Fashion Hootenanny Morphs Into a Dance Party The New York Times Feb. 1, 2017
- JACOB GALLAGHER, A Dixie-Style Shindig for Manhattan’s Fashion Crowd: The Alabama-based designer Billy Reid threw a post-fashion-show bash at the Beekman hotel with southern charm—plus grits and jazz—to spare Wall Street Journal, Feb. 8, 2017
- Stephen Garner, BILLY REID CELEBRATES FASHION, MUSIC AND ART WITH EIGHTH-ANNUAL SHINDIG mr-mag.com September 2, 2016
- Daniel Kreps, Jack White Plays in Alabama Celebrity Baseball Game Rolling Stone August 27, 2016
- fashionnstyle.com Jack White, Alison and Matthew Mosshart And More At The Billy Reid Shindig No. 8
- vogue.com Billy Reid’s Southern-Charm Shindig AUGUST 31, 2016
- Josh Peskowitz, Fashion Designer Billy Reid Puts his Community First Cultured, May 2017
- Shindig #9 @billy_reid on Instagram
- Adam Gold, Jason Isbell Returns to Muscle Shoals for Cathartic Hometown Gig: Billy Reid's Shindig in the Shoals, held in Alabama's culturally rich region, also attracts Jack White, Preservation Hall Jazz Band Rolling Stone, August 28, 2017
- Monica Collier,JOHN CURRENCE: Big Bad Breakfast Shindig style Times Daily August 16, 2017
- Shindig #9 billyreid.com
- Monica Collier, Billy Reid: Shindig all about the people Times Daily August 25, 2017
- Jennifer Edwards, UNA gets electric car charging stations Times Daily, August 26, 2017
- Official site, Stores
- Lauren Sherman, The Rise of Luxury Strip Malls: Outdoor shopping centres are drawing in customers who long ago wrote off the traditional mall experience through a modern mix of food, fashion and practicality. businessoffashion.com June 12, 2017
- Nick Grant, The 50 Best Stores in the World, Complex, August 2013
- MIKE ALBO, Dressed to Impress, With a Southern Drawl New York Times, February 18, 2009
- DLM Supply Co.
- CAITLIN CLARK, 5 Stores for the Modern Dallas Man D magazine, April 2017
- Nasdaq, Nordstrom Opens 3rd Store in Toronto at CF Sherway Gardens September 18, 2017
- K-Swiss Billy Reid Collection
- Mikelle Street, Billy Reid Wants to Take His Shindig Festival On the Road observer.com 03/22/16
- Christian Allaire Billy Reid & K-Swiss Collaborate Again For Fall 2016 footwearnews.com February 4, 2016
- K-Swiss billyreid.com
- Our Mission pwminor.com
- MASTINE-FROST, JUSTIN (August 16, 2017). "Billy Reid Collaboration Brings Luxe ‘Made in America’ Twist to the Classic Sneaker". Robb Report. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
- Cadillac, The Council of Fashion Designers of America and Cadillac announce the next class of Retail Lab designers 2016-09-07
- ALISON S. COHN, Public Access: Dream of being dressed by your favorite buzzed-about designer? This NYC "retail lab" brings the labels you love up close and personal. Elle June 9, 2017
- Nicholas Tamarin, Gensler Collaborates with Cadillac and CFDA on New York Flagship interiordesign.net June 1, 2016
- Robert Palmer, Boutique hotel taking shape, to open midsummer Times Daily, May 24, 2017
- Robert Palmer, Shoals' first boutique hotel holds open house Times Daily, July 23, 2017
- Billy Reid Suite gunrunnerhotel.com
- Third Man Records + Billy Reid Announce SXSW Austin Shindig Diffuser
- Stephen Garner, THE SCENE AT BILLY REID’S AUSTIN SHINDIG LAST WEEK MR magazine, March 23, 2016
- Billy Reid | SFA Cap
- Billy Reid + SFA
- "Harvey Death Toll Rises To At Least 70". CBS News. The Associated Press. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- Joel Achenbach (August 27, 2017). "FEMA director says Harvey is probably the worst disaster in Texas history". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
- "Storm costs nearing $200B; contracting opportunities surge". Mary Scott Nabers. 2017-09-01. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
- Matthew Odam, Free Olamaie fried chicken biscuits at Billy Reid sale Thursday to support Houston restaurants Austin360 September 7, 2017
- New York Magazine Best of New York 2009 • Best Men’s Store
- GQ.com And the Winner Is… February 12, 2010
- fashionista.com GQ names Billy Reid Best new menswear designer in America February 2010
- Billy Reid wins 2010 CFDA Huffington Post
- Marc Karimzadeh, Billy Reid Named CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Winner Women's Wear Daily November 15, 2010
- MATT SEBRA, Billy Reid, CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year GQ, June 5, 2012
- Zachary Weiss, Meet the Men on Observer’s 2017 American Menswear Power List, Observer 1/31/2017
- JOHN BIALAS, Saints fans, fashion designers unveil special Super Bowl 50 footballs for charity The Sun Herald, JANUARY 22, 2016
- 10 Essentials: Billy Reid GQ Magazine
- SHARI GAB, CLOTHES & PERSONAL: BILLY REID A few lessons on the art of dressing sharp and living well InsideHook 7 FEBRUARY 2017
- Jennifer Edwards, Baseball, coaching an escape for Billy Reid Times Daily, July 23, 2016
- FLORENCE, ALABAMA’S ROAD TO ABERDEEN RIPKEN BASEBALL 7/26/2016
- Florence 12U heads to the Cal Ripken WORLD SERIES in Aberdeen, Maryland Quad Cities Daily, July 28, 2016
- 10 Essentials: Billy Reid GQ Magazine
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