Relaxed Luxury, Inspired by Southern California

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Los Angeles isn’t just a place; it’s a state of mind, and this season is inspired by it, and by Billy’s time there in the late ‘80s. A Southerner abroad, in a sense, Billy paired his love of time-tested staples (from Bruce Springsteen to worn-in jeans) with what was happening in L.A. at the time. Grunge was ascendant, and Billy spent his days on the beach or in Hollywood, trying to make it as an actor. (Fortunately for fans of his design work, that didn’t work out.)

BW photo of the Rose Bowl in LA - taken on a trip with the Design Team.
Blue-toned scenic shot of Los Angeles with a vintage car in the foreground and palm trees.
Bird's eye view of Los Angeles
Picture of a graffiti-covered trash can on a beach in Los Angeles.

You can see that inspiration in this season’s Beach Blues, and in our worn-in takes on timeless classics like the leather jacket.

As Billy put it, back then, “If you had a great leather jacket, cool t-shirts, washed button-downs, worn-in jeans, a casual versatile sport jacket and some cool baggy shorts, you could get through.”

As Billy put it, back then, “If you had a great leather jacket, cool t-shirts, washed button-downs, worn-in jeans, a casual versatile sport jacket and some cool baggy shorts, you could get through.”

"From 88 to 92 I was living in Los Angeles - 3 guys in a rundown house in Manhattan beach, a 1970 BMW R75/5 motorcycle, the strand, the beach and pacific was our backyard. I was just a small town southern boy trying to find his way in a new world and soaking up life. This is a bit of the eclectic sound memories from my time in LA." - Billy

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"From 88 to 92 I was living in Los Angeles - 3 guys in a rundown house in Manhattan beach, a 1970 BMW R75/5 motorcycle, the strand, the beach and pacific was our backyard. I was just a small town southern boy trying to find his way in a new world and soaking up life. This is a bit of the eclectic sound memories from my time in LA." - Billy

You’ll find all those things and more in our Spring 2021 collection.

Scenic photo of a building in Los Angeles with palm trees and birds flying by.
Campaign photo of a male model wearing the Dover Crew and 5 Pocket Pants.
Campaign photo of female model wearing jumpsuit with chore coat.
Scenic bird's eye view of Los Angeles with palm tree fronds in the foreground.

Los Angeles: An Interview with Billy Reid

When was your trip to California? 
Billy: It was February 1988 when we left Dallas and drove cross-country. I had a 1984 Mustang at the time that I pulled a small U-Haul behind for the move. I was moving with my friend to Los Angeles. We thought we could be actors. I stayed there three years and we had some of the best years of our life. 

Who did you travel with? 
My best friend Kirk Wilson and I moved to LA without jobs and very little money. We were young and stupid and thought “What the heck, let’s move to California.” 

Where did you stay? 
Our first couple of nights we slept in our cars in the Marina del Rey beach parking lot, and ate free chips and salsa at the Baja Cantina. Then we stayed in a Days Inn for a few nights in Venice and eventually found a small apartment one block inside the Beverly Hills city limits. Hilarious to send home a 90210 return address when you’re broke, but this was not what you see on TV.


Scenic shot of beach in Los Angeles with surfers and people walking.
Detail campaign photo of cardigan inspired by windowpanes.

Where did you spend your time? 
We lived on Tower Drive. We waited tables at Chin Chin on Sunset Boulevard, where the big benefits were we could eat free and see celebrities. A few weeks later I found a job with Wrangler jeans as a sales trainee at the Downtown LA apparel market, and lucked into a great opportunity with Reebok a month later where I would spend six years with the company. Starting as a sales rep in California and later moving into design to work on the Greg Norman and golf collections. But we hung out at places like Gladstones in Malibu on Sundays, The Gaslight in Venice, Christie’s, a local bar near our apt, Formosa Cafe in Hollywood, El Coyote Mexican, and Duke’s for breakfast.

We heard you traded in the Mustang... 
Once in LA, and once I started working, I traded in my car and bought a 1972 beige boxy Volvo and an old 1970 BMW motorcycle. I couldn’t afford fancy cars, so I went for the old funky modes of transportation. The motorcycle was my preferred method of transport for sure.

Did you have a girlfriend? 
I did have some girlfriends during those times, a couple of serious ones, but obviously they didn’t stick. I moved to New York after four years in Los Angeles and that started a whole new life for me. 

Scenic bird's eye view photo of Los Angeles' Hollywood sign with palm tree fronds in the foreground.
Detail photo of Billy Reid holding a motorcycle magazine in his lap in his car during the Design Team's trip to Los Angeles.

What was happening there, style-wise? 
The onset of grunge, mixed with surf and California prep — they were all intersecting. I didn’t have a huge wardrobe, but if you had a great leather jacket, cool t-shirts, washed button-downs, worn-in jeans, a casual versatile sport jacket and some cool baggy shorts, you could get through just about all your activities. I was transitioning from a job at Saks Fifth Avenue in Dallas, where I had to wear a coat and tie everyday, to a brand new world on the West Coast. I was fortunate to have a few nice things from my days at Saks and was able to figure out my own individual style with some key pieces. 

What sports did you play? 
I played lots of beach volleyball as the court was in my backyard on the beach. Also tons of basketball and tennis, and golf occasionally. Reebok kept us pretty covered up with sports all the time. 

What music was in the air at the time? 
Man, there was KROC with Richard Blade playing all the New Wave: The Cure, Lords of the New Church, Echo and the Bunnymen, Depeche Mode, General Public and Nick Heyward. An influx of soul artists like Terence Trent D’Arby, Soul II Soul, Maxi Priest. Then we’d have our standard listens — lots of Bob Marley, Dylan, Springsteen, Lou Reed, Mink DeVille. I could definitely put an eclectic mix of what was happening from those days living on the beach.

Detail photo of female model wearing the Sea Oat cardigan.
Close-up photo of Design Team's inspiration photos.
Photo of Los Angeles at sunset.
Photo of male model wearing pink washed tee and a sample for SS21.