This past week Southern Accents was fortunate to be able to collaborate with Billy Reid in New York City for the unveiling of his 2013 Fall/Winter collection. This was the second time we have had the honor of working with Billy Reid during fashion week. Garlan Jr. helped Billy create a backdrop for his fashion exhibition in 2010. When Billy commissioned us for this year’s famous runway show, we wanted to construct a set that would showcase not only Billy’s incredible fashion sense but also showcase our creativity with the use of Southern salvage. Being second generation business owners, Garlan and Billy combined their knowledge and experience in their respective fields of architecture and fashion to produce a memorable show. Working together in New York with Paper Mache’ Monkey, the end result was a magnificent display, yet to be seen in New York City during any fashion week.
The idea for the backdrop started when Roger Long, our resident artisan, came up with a byproduct of a small wood tile making use of salvage wood drops that would otherwise be tossed in the garbage or burned in our incinerator. His thought was to cut the pieces into 4″ x 8″ wood tiles that could then be used for ornate flooring, wall or ceiling coverings. Billy spotted a pallet of the wood tiles during one of his frequent visits to our showroom. He loved the texture and color of the wood tile, but was not sure at the time how he could utilize them. Two months down the road he called with the idea of using the tiles to create a backdrop for his upcoming New York fashion show. Our challenge was to produce the backdrop keeping the woods natural patina that would reflect both the warmth, as well as the rustic-vintage look, of Billy’s clothing line. The contrast of our salvaged wood tiles with the elegance of the lighting from our antique chandeliers set the bar high, even for a New York City runway!
Billy Reid recently spoke of his visits to Southern Accents in an interview. “Every artist at times gets exhausted from constantly producing new material while keeping true to their own personal tastes and style. When this happens to me, I enjoy showing up at Southern Accents on occasion, unannounced, to view the work of other artists who have created pieces of building art 100 years or more ago. Southern Accents is like a museum of antique building art that gives me inspiration and rejuvenates my creativity.”
The backdrop, along with several of the chandeliers, will be moved to Georgetown where it will find a new life as floor and wall coverings in Billy Reid’s newest store at 3211 M Street NW, Washington, DC 21930 opening in late April, 2013. The combination of Billy’s creativity and Southern Accents salvage was not only used during Fashion Week, but also in most of Billy Reid’s retail stores located in Nashville, Charleston, New York, Atlanta, Houston, Austin, Dallas as well as his home base in Florence, Alabama.
“We look forward at Southern Accents to share our passion of historic preservation in a collaborative effort with any artist or anyone that has a concept of using architectural salvage. Just like fashion week with Billy Reid, that ended in a huge success for all involved,…. it all starts with a simple idea.”
Garlan Gudger, Jr. – Owner