The life of Florence, Alabama-based womenswear and menswear designer Billy Reid is so insanely beautiful, authentic and inspired it’ll have you wanting to decamp to some sleepy town in the Deep South…if only to prove that it isn’t so sleepy after all. Florence Alabama alone, which the New York Times dubbed the fashion capital of the deep South (never mind that moniker only shows up in the Google search, and never in the article itself). Florence alone is home to Billy Reid and filmmaker turned designer Natalie Chanin’s Project Alabama, (since re-dubbed Alabama Chanin), the fashion house that found its place in the fashion firmament by combining high fashion with a community revitalization project that employs local women ages 20 to 70, former factory workers, retired teachers, widows, stay-at-home moms, and secretaries who help sew Alabama Chanin’s one-of-a-kind, handmade garments. Alabama Music Hall of Fame is just down the highway, and if you stop on in, you’ll learn a thing or two about Alabama native son Hank Williams and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, which influenced the sounds of Aretha Franklin and so many more. You’ll even find a Frank Lloyd Wright house right there in Florence, the only one of its kind open to the public in the deep South.
But I digress. There’s a whole world of riches in the Deep South — and just about any place if you look with an open mind. But this is about Billy Reid. Billy’s life is a living example of what a fully realized life can look like — and a reminder that sometimes our best life can only be accessed by riding the stormy waves that life sometimes brings until it carries us to some new shore. Billy rode his wave to Florence, Alabama, where he hosts his annual Shindig each year. One of these days, Billy Reid is going to invite me to his Shindig. Until then, I’ve got this video from Nowness.com, one of the most inspired destinations on the Web.
3 REASONS TO LOVE BILLY REID:
One. Because, when his business failed on the heels of an economy turned south, Reid and family packed up and moved his family to that deeper, sweeter South.
Two. Because Reid created a new reality — and invited us all along.
Three. Because, in rebuilding his business, Reid rose like a Phoenix from the ash.
VIDEO BY Nowness.com
PAULA PURYEAR is a Lawyer, Film & Television writer, HuffPoster and Founder of Revel In It Mag.
Tags: AUTHENTICITY, Billy Reid, Billy Reid's Shindig, Fashion Designers, Florence Alabama, Frank Lloyd Wright House, Nowness, Profiles, Project Alabama. Alabama Chanin, Realized Life, THE FULLY REALIZED LIFE, The People