Denim used to be peculiar to the workingman, a symbol that put the blue in blue collar. Today, its story has grown from those roots of utility and labor, and it’s found just as often on the runway as it is on the field. Lately, however, menswear has bent romantic, favoring the words like “heritage” over “modern”, seeking tenets of tradition and authentic craftsmanship. Alabama-based designer Billy Reid is a leading proponent of this sentiment, and nowhere is it clearer than in his MSL-ALA collection of vintage-inspired luxury workwear.
Reid is known to strive for a personal connection between himself and those who wear his clothes, often placing family heirlooms in his boutiques around the country. The MSL-ALA collection is perhaps his most intimate yet, named after the city of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, just across the Tennessee River from Reid’s base in Florence.
MSL-ALA originated as a denim concept, and the denim remains its standout achievement, featuring both slim and standard fits available in a range of different washes — including dry, 6-month and 12-month fades. The latter two are indicative of what the dry (unwashed, raw denim) pair should look like after respective months of regular wear. Created in collaboration with Billy Reid’s senior menswear designer David Sunderland, the collection emphasizes the duo’s enduring love of denim culture, and the meticulous detailing that goes into every pair of jeans.
The mid-weight 12-ounce selvedge denim, sourced from Japan, is loomed on traditional shuttle looms. This process has vanished from the U.S., inspiring a global dependence on Japanese denim manufacturers who still uphold the practice. The pairs themselves are hand sewn domestically in small artisan factories in Northern California, reinforced with full-felled seams, bar tacks, and extra fabric in the waistband and back pockets for increased durability and longevity.
True to the Billy Reid brand philosophy of quality craft, the MSL Denim Collection is further detailed with custom hardware, finished in cherry-tinted brushed copper. Reid here demonstrates that he’s not one to skimp on the details. One look at the collection will be enough to convince that you shouldn’t either.
Fits: standard, slim
Washes: dry, 6 months, 12 months
Fabric: 12-ounce Japanese selvedge denim
Hardware: brushed copper