Billy Reid is an American fashion designer. His clothing is known for its classic styles in high quality fabrics, but with unusual accents – “low-fi Southern-bred luxury.”
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 out of doors, 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.
Reid’s first collection launched in Spring 1998. He received the prestigious CFDA “Best New Menswear Designer award” in 2001, but economics forced him to close his business shortly afterward in Spring 2002. Reid moved to Florence, Alabama.
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.
Today, Billy works out of his flagship shop and studio, Pickett Place, in Florence. That antebellum home, built in 1833, furnished with Reid family heirlooms, serves as a lodestar for his other boutiques, each furnished in much the same way. His company headquarters is in downtown Florence, Alabama in a turn of the 20th century bookstore. Downstairs is his flagship shop and upstairs is his design studio.
There are also shops on Bond Street in New York City (opened Fall 2008), also in Fall 2008 Billy added a capsule women’s wear collection to complement his core work in men’s clothing and accessories.
Highland Park Village in Dallas, New Orleans, Nashville, Charlotte, Charleston, Houston and Atlanta. The stores are notable for their atmosphere of faded elegance, for example the New York store has faded chairs and carpets, an antique chandelier, mounted deer head, and antique apothecary cabinets.
His clothes are sold in many Bloomingdales stores across the US. There is also a line of K-Swiss/Billy Reid sneakers.