Fashion Capital of the South?

{LISTEN: Say La La by Keegan DeWitt}

After the disastrous tornadoes made their way through Alabama last week, leaving behind miles and miles of devastation, our state is dealing with loss like never before. But, as people turn out in droves to help their neighbors, I have found a very big positive in the wake of this tragedy: Alabamians are joining together, standing united, and working hard to recover. Although it has been hard not to be overcome by sadness, I try instead to look to the images of our first responders and volunteers committing tireless hours to help our communities. From the aftermath of the storms, I find such a strong sense of Alabama pride emerging from within.

There is no better time than now to introduce you to a few favorite parts of my Alabama home. You may not know it, but I live in a pretty awesome place. 

If you're a regular reader here, you know I'm in Florence, Alabama. You probably know we have beautiful blue skies, warm weather, and the lovely Tennessee River. But did you know that our small town of 39,000 also holds a treasure trove of high fashion icons, talented musicians, history makers and artists? Allow me to give you a little tour...starting with our most stylish people and places.
-Billy Reid and his flagship store-
If you don't already know of Billy Reid, shame on you. He's the designer and founder behind his namesake label launched in 2004, and he's best described as the talented guy who single-handedly brought true Southern style into the 21st Century. In 2010, GQ Magazine and the Council of Fashion Designers of America awarded Billy the Best New Designer in America Award. He counts Jake Gyllenhaal and Ed Westwick among his biggest fans. His flagship store on historic Court Street is filled to the brim with beautiful clothing, and decorated with an eclectic blend of Southern goodness: vintage mirrors, found objects, and even a display of Reid family memorabilia.

-Ye Ole General Store-
In Florence since the 1940's, this general store is located on Seminary Street in downtown. When you step into the bountiful and quirky confines of this true American gem, it's possible to feel utterly untouched by time. The sign outside boasts: "Dress & Western, Wicker, Sewing Notions, Work and Play clothes, Beaver Hats, Novelties, Gifts." With an advertisement like that, how could you not step inside? Ye Ole General Store was voted as one of "America's 25 Best Vintage Stores" by GQ Magazine in 2010. 

-Natalie Chanin-
One of the most innovative designers in fashion, Natalie Chanin is a former partner in Project Alabama who is now designing a collection called Alabama Chanin. In 2005, Project Alabama was a finalist for the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund, and was nominated for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for fashion. She has been featured in dozens of magazines, and she is happily based right here in her hometown. Chanin uses age-old techniques of embroidering, reverse applique, and quilting, to name a few, to create contemporary, sustainable, limited-edition products for home and individuals. 

Florence, Alabama, is admittedly the last place you would imagine finding a mixture of high fashion and unique vintage deadstock finds...but with Billy Reid, Natalie Chanin, and Ye Ole General Store calling Florence home, North Alabama is cementing it's place among fashion's elite.

(Alabama Chanin photos via)


Jennifer said...

Just in general, I think people are more fashionable in the south just in general....or at least from my travels! Maybe that's just what I like to think!

Melissa: Write it in Lipstick said...

I would have never thought Alabama could be so trendy and I am shamed I didnt know who Billy was.

Melissa: Write it in Lipstick said...

I meant trendy in that they have great Stores like this

Cara-Mia said...

What a great post! I'd really love to visit the south some day. )

Virginie's Cinema said...

Ashley, my thoughts and prayers and with all Alabamians, I'm so glad you and your family are safe.

Florence sounds amazing, I hope to visit it with you because that would mean meeting you AND shopping like crazy!

I hope you have a lovely day friend :)


Meri said...

Looks like you had fun! I love the vintage store hat haha! The weather sure is scary, I hope its all over!

sarah nicole said...

I've been thinking of you and your lovely state. So sweet of you to post this in support.



Megan said...

ugh Ash..just got back into the blogging world today after being out town..didnt even HEAR about the tornados until friday (the brits decided to do a 5 second shout out about it) SO SO SO glad you and your family are okay. sending tons of love and hugs and prayers to Alabama.

Lisa said...

Thank you Ashley for your sweet comments, they always make me smile! I hope you and your family are ok, it's horrible with the tornados. Sending lots of thoughts and well-wishes from London!

Ps. love this fashion post, you look great as usual!

Lisa x

Courtney B said...

Thank you for the tour! I hope to travel to Alabama someday..soon! :) I'm still praying for ya'll!! (Do you like how I threw in a little southern slang? :) Just practicing for my trip to Alabama..someday...soon!)

Mr. Southern Style said...

Well I do believe it was my Southern Florence Style that drew you to me. HA HA Great post and I am proud of our little town.

LOVE YOU and I might just have to get you that hat!

Brooke said...

Wow, awesome! I love that captains hat! :)

Liz said...

Well, what do ya know?! We're directly all the way south of Florence, and I mean all.the.way. What a fun trip! I'm so into day trips like this. If only the hubs and boys were into it, too...sigh. Places like these just make my tummy do flips, looks like a fun day!

Meredith said...

Well it must be because you rubbed your stylishness of on your town :)

Lynn {hearted girl} said...

awe Ashley, this is a beautiful tribute to your home and i've been thiking a lot about all the people who have lost so much during this heartbreaking time. natural disasters take years to build back and my prayers are with you and those who are going through so much at this time.

such a fashionating and fun tour of the hot spots and you are the best tour guide there ever was my darling. be well. xo ♥

Janette said...

Hey look up above! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Lynncakes! Hiya!!! And helloooo Ashley! Loving the collage action friend! It has a modern feel with a vintage tinge...I LOVE IT! I want to steal it some how... Anyway..Sorry for distraction...I like that (captain?) hat you are wearing.. You should wear it always...Yup. Don't care if you are just running to the grocery store in your PJs!

Janette, the Jongleur

PS. Praying for those poor people who lost everything...Sad sad sad :-(

Carrie said...

I totally love this post. It makes me miss the South, so I am super happy that I am going to GA for a wedding this summer!