5 Designers Who Are Elevating Southern Style

Comprised of both widely recognized and soon-to-be-known names, this list showcases five Southern-based designers who, through their designs and approach to fashion, are showing us just what Southern fashion can and should be. These folks are writing their own chapter in American fashion. Designers of fashion apparel and accessories, they are bright stars in the growing galaxy of makers and designers outside of major hubs like New York and L.A. We share a bit about each designer as well as their answers to three questions about their brands and items they are currently coveting.

Ceri Hoover of Ceri Hoover

Founded in 2013 by Ceri Hoover herself, the Ceri Hoover brand focuses on luxury leather goods in the form of handcrafted bags and shoes. Using materials sourced from the world’s finest leather purveyors, American artisans handcraft leather pieces in Nashville, Tennessee. Ceri’s minimalist aesthetic has gained her recognition and placement in over 150 boutiques across the United States. Her background of interior design merges with fashion in a way that gives focus to colors, shapes and lines — and the harmony of these components together. The harmonious designs reflect her personal taste, which also carries over to her flagship store in Nashville.

FootwearNewsPic-600x900                   We wouldn’t mind slipping into a pair of these! Image: Ceri Hoover

LM6A5030-900x600                                                A bag for you, a bag for me. Image: Ceri Hoover

Kennon-WalnutSuedeBlkEdges-600x900Here is the Kennon (Ceri’s pick) in walnut suede. Image: Ceri Hoover

Stirling Barrett of KREWE du Optic

New Orleans native Stirling Barrett is creating some of the loveliest frames that combine a coolness and practicality we adore. First gaining acclaim for his sunglasses, Stirling’s brand, KREWE du Optics, quickly grew to be popular for their optical frames as well. It’s no surprise that KREWE serves up artful, iconic designs as Stirling is an artist before he is an entrepreneur. Stirling chose his hometown as basecamp for his company, and the character and charm of the city act as inspiration for his iconic designs. Now with three stores (the flagship is in New Orleans’ French Quarter, and the others are in Savannah, GA, and Dallas, TX), KREWE continues to thrive. Each outpost boasts the same cool factor as the original, which mixes the iconic and the modern — just as the frames do. But if you only have time to visit one KREWE location, make it The Tiny House, a 154.8-square-foot tiny home that travels cross-country to explore the notion of retail minimalism and share the KREWE story.

SB_FoundersPic-Web-copy-4-604x900             Meet Stirling Barrett! Image: KREWE du Optic

How would you describe the aesthetic of your brand?

I was born and raised in New Orleans, so the city has always been a source of inspiration for me. All of our frames are inspired by the city and designed in our French Quarter studio. That carries through in the naming, where each of our frames (and some of our plant-based acetates) are named after prominent streets, neighborhood districts and local fauna.

How do you want women and men to feel when wearing your eyewear?

With eyewear, the wearer should wear the frame, not vice versa. I want the person’s frame to showcase their individuality, and the style they choose to wear should complement that.

What is your favorite piece from your current collection?

I’m really happy with our newly released ST. LOUIS OPTICAL frames — they’re an update to our best-selling sun style — thoughtfully constructed with our standard premium materials and some technical updates.

What Southern designer do you admire?

I’m glad that KREWE is considered part of a fresh crop of designers who are putting the South on the fashion map. We’re excited to be a part of the roster of 2017 CFDA Designers, and we’re proud to work alongside other designers we admire, such as Billy Reid.

MG_2203-HDR-Edit-900x600Visit one of KREWE’s stores to see the frames in a minimalist setting where they are showcased as art. Image: KREWE du Optics

Conti-Zulu-HighResWhite-Front-900x600The Conti shades, named for the vibrant French Quarter street, pack a lot of character. Image: KREWE du Optics

Royal-Zulu18KTitanium-HighResWhite-Front-900x600The Royal optical frames are retro-inspired with updated characteristics to make them timeless. Image: KREWE du Optics

Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin

Back in her hometown of Florence, Alabama, Natalie Chanin is practicing what she preaches: thoughtful design, responsible product, good business and lasting quality. It all started with a t-shirt Natalie designed while working as a t-shirt designer in New York. After working in the Big Apple, she moved back to what was (at the time) the t-shirt capital — Florence, AL — and started Alabama Chanin in 2006. Her designs are dictated by tradition, dedicated to locally sewn garments, sustainable practices and an appreciation for cotton.


How would you describe the aesthetic of your brand?

We approach design — and life — simply and sustainably. Through contemporary design, we are able to lend modernity to traditional techniques and ways of making. We celebrate the beauty of everyday and pay attention to the details. Our dedication to sustainability shines through by creating well-designed, fulfilling and thoughtfully made garments and goods.

How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?

Alabama Chanin creates clothing that is comfortable, beautiful and sustainable. We want the modern woman (or man) to feel capable, elegant and empowered when they wear our garments — which are an accessory to their incredible lives — because they are making a difference.

What is your favorite piece from your current collection, and what item from another Southern designer’s collection would you pick to pair with it?

Hard to decide … I’m loving our new long coats, The Trench and The Moto paired with the Georgia Midi from Elizabeth Suzann. And our Annelise Dress paired with Elizabeth Suzann’s Florence Pant (of course).

26-Styled-26917-AC-74-26994-July-2017-Rinne-Allen-1-900x579According to the Alabama Chanin website, “We use 100% organic cotton jersey fabric in our designs, sourced sustainably from seed to fabric — along with repurposed and reclaimed materials.” Image: Alabama Chanin

6-Styled-26969-26971-AC-39-July-2017-Rinne-Allen-5-900x600Natalie holds a degree in environmental design. She and her team continue to dedicate themselves to education through The School of Making, an arm of Alabama Chanin. Image: Alabama Chanin

12-Styled-AC-74-AC-39-July-2017-Rinne-Allen-1-900x600Stylish, comfortable and sustainable — we’ll take it! Image: Alabama Chanin

Paul Trible of Ledbury

Paul Trible, alongside Paul Watson, founded Ledbury in 2008. The pair met in England, where they learned the art of shirt making. Upon returning to the States, they made the decision to infuse their recently acquired knowledge and Virginia and New Orleans roots into a luxury menswear line. Although based in Richmond, Virginia, Ledbury began partnering with 100-year-old textile mills and small European factories that have a generational understanding of quality and craftsmanship. In 2015, they used everything they had learned to revive one of America’s oldest bespoke shirtmakers in their hometown of Richmond. In the Richmond workshop, master craftsmen handcraft shirts, sport coats, pants, polos, shorts, ties and accessories.

342A8164_01-900x600Meet Paul Trible! Image: Ledbury

How would you describe the aesthetic of your brand?

Our aesthetic is a mixture of our background in the South and the time we spent in England — I suppose I’d call it Anglo-Southern American, for the lack of a better word. It may come off a little bizarre when we put a cutaway collar 120 poplin dress shirt next to a moleskin hunting shirt, but that kind of represents how we have always dressed and consequently informs what we like to make now at Ledbury.

How do you want men to feel when wearing your clothes?

Our clothes give our guy an understated confidence in his style. When people look at him, I don’t think they say “What a great outfit,” but rather “That man dresses well.” I had a customer tell me the other day he puts on Ledbury when dressing well matters. I thought that summed it up pretty nicely.

What is your favorite piece from your current collection, and what item from another Southern designer’s collection would you pick to pair with it?

At our core, we are shirtmakers, so my favorite pieces tend to be seasonal shirts. Right now, I am loving our Southgate Plaid. It is made with an incredibly breathable 100% linen fabric from one of my fabric Northern Italian mills. Linen naturally wicks water away from the body, so it helps keep you cool and dry in the summer. Everyone in the South needs a little linen in their closet.

I would pair this shirt with Peter Nappi‘s Babbo Due lace-ups. I find this is the perfect brown leather shoe that can be dressed up or down, just like a linen shirt.

170118_LEDBURY_11572-900x818Shop a selection of dress, business casual, sport, wrinkle-resistant, short sleeve, tuxedo and polo shirts at Ledbury. Image: Ledbury

170119_LEDBURY_2_12930-675x900A good-looking shirt on a good-looking guy! Image: Ledbury

170119_LEDBURY_12730-900x675In addition to shirts, you will find ties, jackets and more. Image: Ledbury

Abbey Glass

An entrepreneur and style-savvy girl from an early age, Abbey Glass took her knack for creativity and turned it into a career of creating timeless, tailored womenswear. Her time spent working under Marc Jacobs and Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein Collection gave her a running start in the world of fashion. An Atlanta native, it is no surprise that Abbey set up shop in Buckhead with a studio, full-service atelier and boutique-style showroom in which her designs are made and showcased. Modern meets timeless in the selection of designs.

1280_4D2vQaCGLZ71-900x600Meet Abbey Glass! Image: Catrina Maxwell of CatMax Photography for StyleBlueprint

How would you describe the aesthetic of your brand?

Our aesthetic offers a fresh spin on classic tailored clothing for women. We have a contemporary price point with designer quality.

How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?

We want our Abbey Glass girl to feel chic, comfortable and put together.

What is your favorite piece from your current collection?

The JoJo dress seafoam and Tulla tunic peony.

AbbeyGlass_001These wide-leg trousers and Maddie dress in soft and silky hydrangea crepe epitomize Abbey’s spring/summer collection. Image: Abbey Glass

AbbeyGlass-900x900Sophistication and style! Image: Abbey Glass


Fashion in the South only continues to grow. Keep your eyes peeled for new designers, and continue to be amazed at their novel approach to style.

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