Southern take: insights from the charlotte market

by Karen Alberg Grossman

Like the area’s famous and fabulous Southern hospitality, there is definitely something unique and special about menswear in the South. More color, more lightweight fabrics (seersucker suits, tropical weight wools), more casual sportswear and more emphasis on collegiate, on Modern Prep, on hunting and fishing…

Retailers attending last weekend’s Southern Clothing Market were extremely pleased with their findings. Affirms Larry Davidson of Davidson’s in Roanoke, “I spend a week in NYC focused on tailored clothing and collections to give me a universal overview. I then use the show in Charlotte to round out sportswear, furnishings and accessories and to provide a more regional viewpoint. I was looking for fresh color and pattern to continue moving toward a more relaxed sportswear attitude with updated fit. Items of particular interest at this show: spread collar washed linen from Mine Apparel, vintage prints and clips on washed linen from Borgo 28 and Aqua from Toscano, and soft washed tees from Minerals.”

According to Charles Spurlin at The Shirt Shop in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (who started his 37th year in business this past August 1 and who opens his doors every morning at 7:00 a.m.), there seems to be a nice resurgence in suits and sportcoats, especially among young guys, and especially American-made ones. “I bought some really nice tropical worsted wool suits and sportcoats from Hart Schaffner Marx and some great hopsack poly/wool blazers ($195 retail) from Hardwick. Peter Millar looked as good now as it’s ever been, especially their knits (under $100 retail).”

A few of MR’s favorite picks from the show (see the slideshow below):

  • Great cotton neckwear in fresh Liberty prints, made in Brooklyn, at Trumbull Rhodes. Suggested retails on ties, $69.50.  (Richard Bragdon and Carl Bottomley)
  • Made-in-America cotton belts (to size 64!) in golf, fish, skull, collegiate motifs at JT Spencer. $42 cost for an $85 suggested retail.
  • Beautiful Turkish kilim bags and handmade shoes from Res Ipsa, a company founded by two creative lawyers: Josh Moore and Odini Gogo.
  • Atlantic Drift, a hunting and fishing-inspired collection started by two preppy brothers. Tees retail around $30, wovens around $80, also outerwear and accessories.
  • Martin Dingman leathergoods at Jimmy Richerson, who is showing the line to Rosenblums’ fourth generation.
  • Fabulous digitally printed swimwear at Michael McClung, $41 cost. Some of the same prints on beautiful linen shirts, $62.50 cost, and very cool espadrille-inspired footwear.
  • The quintessential denim shirt (also available in army green, $66) and unlined utility vest ($184) from Survivalon, shown by Bob Jordan.