x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Style File: Billy Reid

The family-centric American clothing designer with a cosmopolitan take on his Southern roots shares his mellow approach to life.

"I´ve got a couple of different guitars, but my 1969 Gibson acoustic is my favourite."
"I´ve got a couple of different guitars, but my 1969 Gibson acoustic is my favourite."

His US deep-south home is a long way from the hipster dwellings of the Brooklyn urbanites who love his clothes, but Billy Reid is no hillbilly. The designer, whose menswear collection has just become available for the first time in the UAE via MrPorter.com, grew up in Amite, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans, which he describes as "the most European city in the USA". Obsessed with the music, food and style of the south, and determined to share them with the world, he launched his first label, William Reid, in 1998, winning a Council of Fashion Designers of America award for Menswear Designer of the Year.

The post-9/11 downturn forced him out of the fashion business until 2004, when he launched Billy Reid. Since then he has offered up his take on classic southern style - think Atticus Finch meets Kings of Leon - as well as a womenswear line; collaborations with iconic American brands such as Stetson, Levi's and K-Swiss; and support for music events such as the South by Southwest shindig. He talks to Gemma Champ about his pared-down approach to life and style.


I ALWAYS TRAVEL WITH... a jacket. Or I'll take a suit and wear it three or four ways.


THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS... respect everyone. Use your manners. Never stop learning.

FIVE WORDS TO DESCRIBE ME ARE... father, husband, son, friend, designer.

I WOULD MOST LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED BY... the clothes, and making the things we want to make. We put our heart and soul into it and we hope that comes through in everything we do.

I MOST ADMIRE... my mother is generous beyond, and I respect that so much about her. My father's honesty is something I've always admired and I love to see people who do not give up, and bounce back from adversity.

THE AMBITIONS I STILL HAVE ARE... to continue building our company, and our role in our community in Alabama. I want to continue making clothes and other things. I feel fortunate to work with so many great people and to do what I love.