The Oyster Print
Billy Reid custom prints are one way our design team imparts their unique vision into each collection. Every print is designed in-house and reproduced on fabrics woven by carefully vetted mills known for their superior quality. The process can be laborious; it begins with inspiration, a mood board, and original artwork created by our Digital Design Specialist, Drew Botts. The Oyster Print was 18 months in the making, finally debuting online and in stores this month. It has already become a favorite.
The Oyster Print appears on several pieces in both men’s and women’s designs in two renditions. The first is of a watercolor painting, the second an abstract of the painting re-shaped into a single monotone image on the men’s Crew Sweater. The oyster first entered the design team’s conversation a couple of years ago when our team was developing pieces to support the Southern Foodways Alliance and Alabama Gulf Seafood. Billy had long wanted to bring such an element into play, as a bit of a nod to his childhood in Amite, Louisiana. “Amite hosts oyster festivals early in the year, and they have always had a fond place in my heart,” he says.
A photo of a pile of empty shells captured the colors and textures of the discarded mollusks, and it prompted Drew to sketch some ideas. “I made watercolors of it because that medium gives a nice wash and really pulls out those oyster shell colors,” he says. “After a few attempts here and there, we landed on the right blend.” The painting translates seamlessly onto the women’s Kassan Blouse and Roebling Skirt, and the men’s S/S Tuscumbia BD Shirt and Pocket Square.
Oyster prints aren’t common, in part because it’s a great challenge to capture the subtle beauty of the thing itself. “It is not always an easy print to accomplish,” Billy says. “The oyster pattern was in the works for a year and half before we finally nailed it to make the collection.”Shop the Oyster Collection in stores and online.