The ongoing pandemic and his own personal bout with the COVID-19 virus put Billy Reid in a pensive mood for fall. The continuing restrictions on travel and how that impacts the process of creating and marketing collections led to what Reid called “moments of reflection” as he worked on the line from a cabin in his home state of Alabama.
The designer also continued a journey that started in 2019 when he worked with a research firm to better understand his customer base. What he found is that they are seeking sophisticated, ageless and wearable pieces in innovative fabrics with a luxury hand and unexpected details. They also tend to gravitate to “legacy” pieces, such as his signature denim shirt, peacoat and leather-trimmed sweatshirt in men’s and washed leather jackets in women’s.
After more than 20 years as a designer, Reid said the tendency is to constantly increase the size of the “funnel,” and constantly add new pieces and categories. But he’s since learned that less is more. “That’s one of the keys to survival,” he said. “We need a business.”
That’s not to say that the heritage pieces are not evolving. So for fall, Reid offered a short wool and alpaca coat for men in a subtle plaid over a corduroy sport coat and trouser. Other key men’s looks include an officer’s coat in a wool/cotton blend with a removable nutria collar — the only fur he’ll use.
Other key outerwear pieces include a cardigan-weight wool-linen coat over a herringbone wool-silk suit and a washed button-down shirt, as well as an oversize bird’s-eye pattern outerwear piece in wool and alpaca over a boiled wool shirt-jacket. Reid also offered up a washed leather jacket in a jean jacket-style silhouette that he paired with a tweed button-up pullover and wool-silk trousers.
In the women’s lineup, fall sees him craft a focused collection inspired by Alabama folk art textures but updated for today. He leans into legacy pieces here, but unlike the men’s, her standouts focus on fabrications and silhouettes, with pieces made in raw silks, and buttery soft washed leathers. Outerwear included a leather motorcycle jacket and a cardigan-like topcoat, both tactile and subtly sophisticated.
The designer doesn’t wholesale his women’s line, preferring to sell it within his own channels, saying it contributes to the level of “specialness” of the pieces. Spring saw him introduce denim, which he called a “gateway,” and he is holding strong in the category. Another possible entry point are his polished suits, one in a peak-lapel blazer with a single covered button that he paired with wide-leg pants. At Reid, the devil is in the details, and this elevation of a tailored piece creates something she can wear day to night, and most of the year.