Jack Sanders and Maura Grace Ambrose

Austin, TX

We believe there is a deep sense of community in the act of working towards a common creative goal. We are fortunate to have neighbors and artists close to each of our shops who also subscribe to that train of thought and are willing to share their craft with us. Austin-based artists Jack Sanders of Design Build Adventure and Maura Grace Ambrose of Folk Fibers are two of these kindred spirits who we are proud to call friends.

Earlier this month, photographer Matt Rainwaters directed a video for us in effort to capture Jack and Maura as they created art for our Austin home. (In case you’re wondering, the handsome guy in the overalls is Maura’s husband, Chap; Jack’s daughter, Mary Vance, also makes several cute crushing cameos in the film.)

Jack and Maura’s creation is part of an on-going artist series happening in our home on 6th Street. Their work has been on view for the past few weeks and can be enjoyed (or purchased) there through the end of the month. Swing by soon and enjoy this union of art and community.

K Swiss by Billy Reid Sneaker

As Worn by: Adam Roth

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Adam Roth wears a distressed bone hi-top from the Billy Reid x K Swiss collection. Photos by Nina Westervelt

This post is the third in our series featuring key pieces from the Billy Reid SS14 collection, worn by friends and customers of our New York City store and photographed by Nina Westervelt. This week’s installment spotlights a new selection from our ongoing collaboration with the American heritage sneaker company K Swiss.


Name: Adam Roth

Occupation: Director of Strategic Partnerships at the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America)

Wearing: Distressed bone leather hi-top tennis shoes from the Billy Reid x K Swiss collaboration. “I really love these sneakers. They’re so versatile and comfortable - I literally wore them from the office to Coachella!”

His style: “Whatever fits my mood at the moment - a great fitting blazer or a hoodie, my favorite jeans and high tops.”

Hometown: Ocean Township, New Jersey

Years in NYC: 13

Three words that describe his relationship with the City: Seamless, fresh, humorous.

His neighborhood and why he loves it: Hell’s Kitchen. “Grabbing coffee and walking around my neighborhood while listening to music is my weekend ritual.”

Last great “only in New York” experience: “Seeing the second to last ever LCD Soundsystem show at Terminal 5.”

Jan Frank

Craftsman

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Artist Jan Frank in his studio, just across the hall from the Billy Reid women’s showroom. Photos by Nina Westervelt

Born in Holland and raised in the Midwest, Jan Frank led a fairly peripatetic life before moving to New York in the early ‘70s. Even as his surroundings changed, his love of painting stayed consistent. “I’ve been painting ever since I was a little kid,” says Jan, who inhabits an artfully cluttered studio space next door to our women’s showroom on New York City’s Bond Street.

Jan says that his friendship with Billy is founded in their common impulse to create - Jan with paint and plywood (more on that below), Billy with fabric. “We have this odd dialogue that goes on, which I find unique actually,” he says. “As a designer, Billy has a whole different perspective on creativity. It fascinates me. He does some really neat work on a very simplistic but complicated basis. Like, he’ll study a certain fabric for a long period of time. To me that’s very interesting.

“Anything he puts together - it’s like building a painting almost. So I understand what he’s doing. For me it’s really great to have another perspective like that around.”

Jan has been part of the storied New York art scene for over thirty years, exhibiting at some of the world’s top galleries alongside legendary artists, many of whom he has called friends for decades. A few weeks after the wrap of his latest exhibition, held in Amsterdam, Jan was kind enough to sit down with the Journal in his studio, where over-sized plywood canvases line the walls and work tables are comfortably cluttered with used brushes and ashtrays, to discuss his coming of age as an artist, navigating the gritty creative landscape of early ‘80s downtown New York, and three decades of making art on Bond Street.

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The Chore Coat

As Worn By: James Burrell, II

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James Burrell, II wearing the Chore coat from the SS14 Billy Reid men’s collection. Photo by Nina Westervelt

This post marks the second in our series featuring key pieces from the Billy Reid SS14 collection worn by friends and customers of our New York City store and photographed by Nina Westervelt.

Name: James Burrell, II

Occupation: Attorney and “dealmaker”

Wearing: Our Chore coat. “It’s nice and light, perfect for a breezy day on a boat. In town, it can go from day to night without an issue.”

His style: “Classically trendy and tailored, yet timeless.”

Hometown: Columbia, MD

Years in NYC: 17

Three words to describe his relationship with NYC: Love. Hate. Volatile.

His neighborhood and why he loves it: Gramercy Park. “My favorite watering hole is the Rose Bar, because I can play a chill game of billiards with the ‘beautiful people.’”

Favorite recent “only in New York” experiences: “Learning about all of the services NYC offers through its public library and catching the Brancusi exhibit in Chelsea.”

CINDY WALL x MEN’S OXFORD SHIRTS

Well Worn

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Left, Cindy Wall’s impressive collection of Billy Reid Oxford cloth shirts; right, the author, in her favorite white shirt, a fine French scarf, and her favorite watch. Photos by Andrea Behrends

The Well Worn series gives our friends the chance to share the back-story of their special attachment to a favorite Billy Reid design. This week, Nashville communications guru Cindy Wall talks about her collection of Oxford shirts from our men’s collection.


I like variety and unpredictability in almost everything - in friends and vistas, film and art, what I listen to, what I read, and what I eat. I fancy myself a tangential thinker and do-er, always curious and usually open to the weird. Except when it comes to what I wear…

Lots of women say they’re striving for a uniform. “Simple” is the term I like better. Not fussy, not frilly, never of-the-moment fashionable. But always beautifully designed, well sewn, and made to last. I’m drawn to what I can wear everyday — simple and entirely predictable.

My Billy Reid shirts are among my wardrobe pole stars. I wear them, and wear them (and wear them). They keep company with other favorite constants: a good French scarf with a storied history, a fine pair of boots, and a gorgeous old-school watch. (The watch in these photos? One of my most treasured. I’d grab it first in a household fire.) I’ve had a closet full of Billy Reid shirts for so long I can’t remember which one came first. I wear them in all seasons, pack them for travels near and far, put them under sweaters and down vests and over t-shirts — and sometimes, wear them starched and ironed with many strands of lady-like pearls.

I love them all. But first among equals? Always, the white Oxford. It’s my “aspirational” shirt — when I’m aspiring to a mash-up of Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Georgia O’Keefe, Carolina Herrera, James Dean, Harper Lee and Julia Child. On last count, I have about a half dozen of Billy Reid’s white Oxfords from the men’s collection. They’re perfectly made, and so perfectly suited for a French scarf or a mess o’pearls when you pop the collar. They never shout, “I’m wearing [insert Brand X here].” Those shirts, a stack of my favorite scarves, a couple of sweaters, a watch and a bangle, and some lovely jeans and boots — and I feel ready to forget my wardrobe and concentrate on what’s far more interesting in the world at large.

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Billy Reid X Saks Fifth Avenue

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Billy Reid, in front of his display at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, one of the eight location now carrying his men’s collection. Photos by Henry Busby

Last week marked a homecoming of sorts for Billy Reid. Almost three decades after taking his first job in fashion in the men’s tailored clothing department at Saks Fifth Avenue in Dallas, Billy was back, this time at the New York flagship, where he was guest of honor at an event celebrating the debut of his menswear collection in the famed department store.

The highlight of the evening was a Q&A led by Nick Sullivan, Esquire magazine’s fashion director, who shared his personal first impressions of the Billy Reid brand, which happened not long after he moved to New York from London in the early 2000s. “The first time I saw a Billy Reid collection I could tell they were good, simple, well-made, well thought-out clothes,” Nick said in his introduction to the talk, which also included Eric Jennings, Saks’ men’s fashion director. “Billy Reid isn’t about razzmatazz and runway shows; it’s about clothes that men really want to wear.”

The conversation between Billy, Nick and Eric is excerpted below, edited in some parts for length and clarity.

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Lumiere Tintypes

Austin Shindig 2014

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Robert Ellis and band members sit for a portrait following their set. Photo by Lumiere Tintype

Last week, the city of Austin hosted SXSW, a music, film and interactive festival. Each spring, the event attracts thousands of visitors who descend on the Texas capitol to celebrate each of these creative pursuits.

For the last four years, during the music portion of the festival, Billy Reid has joined in the fun by hosting a version of our annual Shindig celebration, which happens in Florence each summer. Our Austin Shindigs are a rare chance to gather many of the musicians we call friends in one place and share with our community the music that inspires us and which has become part of the fabric of our spirit.

This marks the second year Billy Reid has been lucky enough to partner with the fine folks of Weather Up Austin, who hosted Shindig at their beautiful bar and outdoor space on Cesar Chavez, just a few miles from the Billy Reid store on 6th Street. Weather Up’s large yard and comfortable outdoor hangout space provided the perfect Texas backdrop for two days of music and fun, not to mention food, cocktails, coffee, ice cream and fellowship.

Mother Nature served lots of sunshine and comfortable breezes as musicians rotated through sets. Our friends at ATO Records curated the lineup of artists who performed for the crowds on Wednesday, while Thursday’s lineup featured nine bands with which our company has developed special relationships, interspersed with performances from bands playing from Third Man Records’ Rolling Record Store.

We were thrilled to have Adrian Whipp and Loren Doyen, the husband and wife team behind Lumiere Tintype spend both days on site, photographing the musicians of Shindig. Many of the individual artists and groups who played our stages sat for their portraits in the side yard at Weather Up, and were able to view the development process in the traveling Lumiere darkroom following their performances. The results are both beautiful and startling.

We’re honored to debut Adrian and Loren’s hard work on the Journal this week. Accompanying each tintype is a short Q&A, wherein we asked our friends to share some of the ways they make life on the road a bit more appealing. Additionally, check out our Rdio channel for a special Austin Shindig 2014 playlist, a mix featuring some of our favorite songs by the same talented artists.

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The Sadie Mini

as Worn by: Annie Dean

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Annie Dean wearing the Sadie mini from the SS14 Billy Reid women’s collection. Photo by Nina Westervelt

This post marks the first in a series featuring key pieces from the Billy Reid SS14 collection worn by friends and customers of our New York City store and photographed by Nina Westervelt.

Name: Annie Dean

Occupation: Etiquette expert and founder of AnnieDean.com

Wearing: Our Sadie mini skirt. “The leather is gorgeous. And I’m a sucker for absolutely anything with a high waist.”

Her style: “Less is more.”

Years in NYC: “Seven - just three years shy of being a fully-fledged New Yorker!”

Her neighborhood: “Bond Street - home of our favorite neighbor, Billy Reid. It’s my favorite block in New York City, and I feel so lucky to live there. Bond Street is a little cobblestone haven stuck discreetly in the middle of the chaos of Broadway, Lafayette and Bowery where artists, families and cool-kids artfully intersect.”

Why she loves the City: “Despite being raised as a Connecticut girl, New York City is my hometown now. It’s a character in our life and a family member. It’s part of our story.”

Her favorite “only in New York” experience: “There are moments in New York that really leave an impression on you. At the end of my pregnancy, I was on the subway heading to Wall Street with a bunch of men in business suits. I was standing. I’d ridden a few stops without anyone noticing I was pregnant, but there was a man, very small and thin, wearing beat up jeans covered in cement dust and shoes that didn’t fit him. He looked exhausted. He saw me and immediately and wordlessly gave up his seat. Even though there was such a dichotomy between the different people on the train, and his lack of wealth was obvious, he was a man who had such a clear sense of values and such an obvious sense of self. The gesture meant nothing to him but it filled my heart. It was a gesture with so much dignity. I think of him often.”

The Sideroom, Austin

Video by Tyler Crelia

We like to think each of our stores has a shine about it - something unique that suits their location and community and distinguishes them as active members of their neighborhood. In our Austin home, one of these unique aspects is The Sideroom, a 1,000-square-foot space adjoining the store that frequently hosts art shows, musical gatherings, conversations, and other community happenings. It’s a comfortable venue that we share with friends in an effort to draw like-minded creators together to collaborate and trade ideas.

As the Austin store gears up this week for SXSW, we thought it was appropriate to share a video that tells the story of an evening in late January when art and music met in this common space.

Caleb Owen Everitt and Ryan Rhodes are the design duo otherwise known as LAND. They operate a community-minded design/art studio, and source salvaged materials to incorporate into their work, which they happily describe as occupying a weird middle ground between design and art. For this particular evening at The Sideroom, the LAND guys displayed original art printed on the back of used shooting targets.

Shakey Graves is an Austin native with a big voice and arresting presence – the perfect complement to the art of LAND. A solo artist who pounds tunes out of multiple instruments, Shakey’s performance added to the creativity of that January evening, as he charmed the crowd with his unique sound.


Up next at The Sideroom: A joint show in April featuring artwork by Jack Sanders of Design Build Adventure and Maura Grace Ambrose of Folk Fibers. Follow us on Facebook, where we’ll post information as it comes available.

The Crowley Jacket

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The Crowley jacket is a smart investment piece from Billy’s spring 2014 collection.  Photo by Fred Mitchell

Billy remembers his first major leather purchase well. “It was a Bill Robinson zip-front jacket - a very simple dark-brown track jacket,” he recalls. “It was easy to wear and could be worn anywhere.” At the time he bought the jacket, Billy was a young man working in his first job, at Saks Fifth Avenue – a timely fact, as select Saks stores across the country introduced the Billy Reid spring/summer 2014 men’s collection this month.

The lines of our Crowley jacket echo Billy’s early Saks purchase. Made in the U.S.A. from slightly distressed cowhide, it features antique brass zippers on the front and chest pockets, the shape of which is inspired by a handbag design that Billy admired. The jacket’s custom navy silk and cotton jacquard lining is covered in a medallion print developed by our in-house design team.

When choosing a leather jacket, Billy recommends looking for one that fits well and has a timeless design. “A leather jacket is an investment piece, so fall in love with the one you choose.”