Even after having lived in many other cities and towns, I can never forsake my Southern roots and love for Southern indie fashion brands. Most of us who hail from the South — not unlike anyone who loves the place they were born and raised in — are proud of the things that make us who we are: A warm sense of hospitality, guzzling gallons of sweet tea, and great Southern fashion.
There's a certain unwritten fashion code for most Southern women that includes a whole lotta bright colors and florals and monogrammed everything. Despite these stereotypes, however, there are many great indie brands putting out truly unique clothing, accessories, and footwear that are bound to appeal to those in other geographical areas of the country.
Hailing from the great states of Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas, I've rounded up seven brands — ranging from one-person designers to group efforts, and specializing in everything from wallets to denim to boots — that you can gush over. You might even find yourself saying, "Y'all, look at this," to your friends and feel the sudden urge to say hello to everyone you pass walking down the street. OK, maybe not. But you'll certainly want to get your hands on the fabulous American-made looks. Welcome to the "Dirty South," y'all.
1. Warfield Supply: Nashville, Tennessee
Lynelle Clutch Wallet, $175, warfieldsupply.com
Specializing in handmade and custom leather wallets, bags, and clutches, Warfield Supply is an operation by Nashville-based couple Ricky and Jazmin whose premise for the company began in 2012. Their exquisite line of leather accessories is also accompanied by snazzy (and trending, mind you) bolos, patches, and key hooks that scream Americana.
2. Raleigh Denim Workshop: Raleigh, North Carolina
Surry High Rock Rinse, $198, raleighworkshop.com
Husband and wife duo and fashion designers Victor Lytvinenko and Sarah Yarborough founded Raleigh Workshop in 2007. According to the site's "About" page, it has now grown from a workshop in Raleigh, North Carolina to a flagship store in New York City.
The couple has recently been accepted into the CFDA, and their denim is sold in multiple states across the country. They still make the jeans in small batches, numbering and signing each pair, because of their high attention to detail and design. The styles are also named after North Carolina counties to preserve the historical nature of the denim long made in the Southern state.
3. Loggerhead Apparel: Greenville, South Carolina
Bellweather Polo Dress, $88, loggerheadapparel.com
Loggerhead Apparel is the child of two South Carolina natives: One from Charleston, the other from Spartanburg. The idea, according to the site's "Our Story" page, was to start a company that honored the textile industry of the state and the wildlife of the coast. Ten percent of profits from their products go to support the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, which is an endangered species on the South Carolina coast. The brand focuses on a classic, preppy Southern look offering polos and printed tees that impress.
4. Teal House Collection: Charlotte, North Carolina
Stacked Arrow Necklace, $32, tealhousecollection.com
Fun and flirty jewelry and accessories are the name of the game for Charlotte, North Carolina native Landis Elam, whose designs are always trendy yet affordable. Her pieces are all available online (as Teal House Collection is an e-boutique), but she does do trunk shows for interested locals.
5. Helm Boots: Austin, Texas
Donahue Blue Moccasin Toe Boot, $485, helmboots.com
Helm Boots are designed in Texas but actually handcrafted with American-made materials in Maine. The company prides itself on the connections made between other American brands to manufacture the end product of its stunning leather boots. Started by one Joshua Bingaman out of a sheer passion for shoes, this designer has become the model for folks who wear Helm Boots: A driven yet compassionate person with a diverse set of skills.
6. Tchoup Industries: New Orleans, Louisiana
Olive Mini Backpack, $80, shop.tchoupindustries.com
Tchoup is pronounced "Chop," paying homage to Tchoupitoulas Street, one of the oldest in New Orleans. The brand promotes all natural and repurposed materials in its quality bags and backpacks. Patti Dunn, designer and creator of Tchoup Industries, has seemingly pioneered a new path for the products with her spirit of exploration and curiosity for the world around her.
7. Collared Greens: Richmond, Virginia
Collegiate Quad Bow Tie, $55, collardgreens.com
With a witty pun on the traditional Southern culinary dish of collard greens for its brand name, this Virginia based menswear company has another connection to the greens: It places big value on environmental conservation to boot. Specializing in classic menswear, there's a surefire nostalgia to the line that keeps grandpa's style looking trendy.
When it comes to Southern fashion — just like Southern culture overall — there's a little bit of something for everyone. Quality, style, and that almost sickeningly sweet charm run over by the bucket load in this great region of the States.
Images: Helm Boots; Courtesy Brands