Tag Archives: Fashion Week 2013

A Wood Story

From the time I was a small sapling, I had dreams of one day making it big! You see, in my world, as a tree, I wanted to be beautiful, admired, treasured. I never imagined, however, that my humble beginnings would see such an exciting end!

Each year as I grew taller and stronger, I could see myself as a fine piece of furniture sitting in the home or office of someone important, perhaps famous. Growing up in a large forrest, I was always surrounded by those trees who seemed destined for greatness. While the other trees were chosen, one by one for important tasks, I was left. I would hear tales of how many ended up in the hands of a master craftsman who lovingly turned their wood into hand carved mantels, beautiful flooring, carved furniture and strong entry doors. Just when I thought my dream would never become a reality, the loggers returned one last time and I was among the last to be chosen. However, my dreams were dashed, for I did not end up in the hands of an artist, but instead was taken to a sawmill. My beautiful trunk was cut into rough boards which were then nailed to the exterior of a small barn. Here, I sat for well over a hundred years, enduring countless rain storms, strong winds, droughts, snow and blistering sunlight. My weathered skin began to age and crack. Eventually, the barn itself was neglected and reached a state of dis-repair. I heard rumor of other wood barns that were in a similar state being burned down so their owners would not have to maintain them. Just when I thought my dreams of becoming a masterpiece were being diminished… I was rescued!

This is one of the many barns salvaged by Southern Accents.

This is one of the many barns salvaged by Southern Accents.

A group of workers unexpectedly showed up. One by one my boards were pulled from my frail barn structure and transported to a huge warehouse. Here, the rusty, time worn nails were removed. Many years of dirt and grime were brushed away. I was neatly stacked out of the weather and given a chance to dry out. Unfamiliar faces would show up at this warehouse where other wood was also stored and they would comment about my beauty and patina. I felt secure and protected. One day, unbeknownst to me, I was once again chosen for a very special purpose. My boards were cut into small blocks. At first, I was unsure why, but it all began to take shape as the blocks were carefully placed together. Like pieces of a puzzle, each small piece was meticulously selected by a craftsman. As the artists worked together to turn the small pieces into a “wood-brick” wall, I heard talk of a city called New York and a designer by the name of Billy Reid. Before I knew what was happening, I was whisked away and traveled many hours where I became an integral part of an exciting event called Fashion Week. I served as a backdrop with magnificent crystal chandeliers which provided lighting on each wood block. As beautiful models graced my presence, cameras flashed, and the onlookers loudly applauded. I felt I had been given a second chance to be a masterpiece, even if it was for only one night!!

Salvaged wood blocks were used to build this stunning backdrop for Billy Reid's Fashion Week 2013 show. Picture used courtesy of Billy Reid.

Salvaged wood blocks were used to build this stunning backdrop for Billy Reid’s Fashion Week 2013 show. Picture used courtesy of Billy Reid.

The night ended too soon, but there was one last surprise in store. The following day I was loaded back on a truck and began the journey to what would become my final resting place. I was placed in Billy Reid’s boutique in Georgetown. Unlike the role I played in Fashion Week, this time I was installed in their showroom as a floor. Each day important customers walk across me as they admire Billy’s latest designs. From a humble barn to an upscale showroom, my dreams have been fulfilled in a way that far surpassed my wildest imagination.

The wood-brick wall now serves as the floor in Billy Reid's Georgetown retail location. Picture used courtesy of Billy Reid.

The wood-brick wall now serves as the floor in Billy Reid’s Georgetown retail location. Picture used courtesy of Billy Reid.

Southern Accents goal is to rescue, restore, and protect architectural elements of historical significance. The salvaged wood used to construct the backdrop for Billy Reid for Fashion Week 2013 is but one small example of how we work to save architectural materials that can be re-purposed or designed into works of art. You can visit us online at http://www.sa1969.com or visit our showroom and warehouses located in historic downtown Cullman, Alabama to find your own work of art!

Wall built by Southern Accents from salvaged wood blocks.

Wood-brick wall built by Southern Accents from salvaged wood blocks.

Written by: Lisa Jones
Edited by: Garlan Gudger, Jr.


A New York State of Mind

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.

Southern Accents helping construct the set for Billy Reid during fashion week in NYC

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!

Southern Accents at Fashion Week in NYC with Billy Reid

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.”

Southern Accents with Billy Reid in NYC for Fashion Week

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.

Southern Accents Owner Garlan Gudger, Jr. working on Billy Reid's set for Fashion Week in NYC

Southern Accents Owner Garlan Gudger, Jr. working on Billy Reid’s set for Fashion Week in NYC – February 08, 2013

“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

Garlan Gudger, Jr. and Billy Reid admiring the finished set in NYC during fashion week.

Garlan Gudger, Jr. and Billy Reid admiring the finished set in NYC during fashion week – February 8, 2013


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