5.24.2011

Showing Today | Billy Reid

William “Billy” Reid grew up Amite, Louisiana, just south of the Mississippi line, where, in his grandmother’s onetime home, his mother operated a women’s clothing boutique. He lived his boyhood outdoors, in the company of his father and friends in the Southeast Louisiana wetlands. To earn walking- around money, he worked in his mother’s shop learning what eventually would become his trade.
His early academic career (as a P.E. major) included stops at Southeastern Louisiana University and L.S.U. He found his calling at the Art Institute of Dallas where he studied fashion design and merchandising. While there, he began a four- year stint with Saks Fifth Avenue. Starting as a salesman in men’s suits, he was mentored by tailored clothing veterans and rose quickly through the ranks to become, at age 21, one of the youngest executives in the firm.

Next came a six- year hitch with Reebok International. From positions in Los Angeles, New York, and Boston, Billy traveled worldwide to develop and launch the Greg Norman collection. He returned to Dallas in 1995, where he founded his own fashion design and marketing company. His diverse client base included, among others, Fruit of the Loom, PGA Tour, Neiman Marcus, Reebok International, and JC Penney.
In the spring of 2004, friends approached Billy with the idea to re- launch his collection by way of a new business model: to build a designer brand around his authentic lifestyle and establish retail shops that reflect his upbringing, his personality, his aesthetic. The collaboration married Billy’s creative direction with a group of talented retail entrepreneurs, well versed in finance, merchandise projections, operations, production, and real estate.

Billy Reid, now fully realized, is a collection with roots in a specific Southern past. The collection boasts a sense of place and it is reflective of its creator. Billy Reid is a son of the South, who designs his collection in Florence, Alabama and employs artisan factories in Europe and America to realize his dreams.

In Fall 2008, Billy added a capsule women’s wear collection to complement his core work in men’s clothing and accessories. GQ and the Council of Fashion Designers of America awarded Billy the Best New Designer in America Award in February 2010. The annual award gave Billy the opportunity to design an exclusive capsule collection in collaboration with Levi’s that will be sold at Bloomingdale’s. In July 2010, Billy was named a CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund finalist for his namesake collection.

Today, Billy works out of his flagship shop and studio on North Court Street in Florence, AL. The store is furnished with Reid family heirlooms, serves as a lodestar for his other boutiques, each furnished in much the same way.

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