Friday Jam: Dirty Guv’nahs “Walk With Me” (Live)

Big weekend planned over in Birmingham…looking forward to catching up with these guys tonight:

See you there?

1000 Words: Southern Proper Fall 2015

Fall is coming, and I think we can all agree that it is more than welcome.  It has been hot this summer.  The ladies at Southern Proper know how to welcome a season…feast your eyes on their Fall 2015 collection.  Great, functional pieces that are big in style and long in good looks.  And the icing on top: A great ladies collection.  Take a look:












And last but not least: probably the best looking jacket of the season:

College Needlepoint Giveaway with Smathers & Branson

College Football is close, folks- only TWO more Saturdays until toe meets leather.  To celebrate, the good folks at Smathers & Branson have teamed up with us here at Red Clay Soul for a collegiate needlepoint belt.  That’s right – one lucky winner will get an in-stock collegiate belt of their choice.  What’s even better is that they have updated quite a few colleges, so check ‘em out…

Tell us which one you would choose… Me? Even though I have no connection to Tulane, but that Green Wave belt is mighty fine…

Here are the details: Leave a comment to this post with an email address and your choice of belt to enter.

For additional entries:

+1 (2 Total) ‘Like’ Smathers & Branson on Facebook
+1 (3 Total) ‘Like’ Red Clay Soul on Facebook, and share the giveaway to your friends
+1 (4 Total) ‘Follow’ Smathers & Branson on Twitter
+1 (5 Total) ’Follow’ Red Clay Soul on Twitter
+1 (6 Total) ‘Follow’ Smathers & Branson on Instagram
+1 (7 Total) ‘Follow’ Red Clay Soul on Instagram
+1 (6 Total) Tweet the following about the giveaway ‘It’s college football season! I entered to win a needlepoint belt from @SandBBelts & @redclaysoul Enter here:’

Entries must be in by midnight on Monday, August 31st. I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, September 1st around lunchtime.

Special thanks to Smathers & Branson for providing the goods for the giveaway…

Back To School With East Dane

“Back to school” can be taken literally and figuratively.  For those undergrads, you are starting one of the greatest four (or five) years of your life.  For us post-graduate folks, it’s much more of a feeling.  We’re lining right up with Fall, triggering a wardrobe transition.  The sweltering heat is on it’s way out, and the cooler, less humid, football-filled season is within focus.

This Fall, we’re going to continue with value buys – in case you don’t remember: buy quality that will last, and take care of your stuff.  Everything below is of good quality, and will treat you as well you treat it.  Second, let’s keep it cool during this back to school season.  No need for neons (is there ever a need for neon?).  Primary colors and plaids work in a wide range of outfits.

We’ve teamed up with East Dane to put together a great back to school look…upperclassman style:

From Top Left:

1. Filson Original Briefcase:  A bit of a rugged, minimalist look.  This bag is as much of an investment piece as it is a functional bag.  It’ll hold more than you think.  Approved for Macbook Air users.  Oh – and Otter Green will break in very nicely.
2. Gitman Vintage Chambray Oxford Shirt:  Skip the non-iron stuff.  For the most part, they all look a little plastic-y.  Opt for a basic blue oxford with a great fit.  You’ll need to fire up the iron for this one, but it’s worth it.  No drying required.
3. Ray Ban Original Wayfarer:  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  That’s some advice you don’t need a college to tell you.
4. Carhartt WIP Baker Shirt:  The Holy Trinity of a fall shirt: good plaid, great fit, school colors. Please, tuck this in. Same goes for the oxford above.
5. Cole Haan Plain Toe Tumbled Leather Oxfords:  The tell-tale sign of an upperclassman: dress shoes that aren’t some sort of driver/kiltie/tasseled rubber sole things.  These are a great mature look that will work with jeans, khakis, and natural dress pants.  Polishing, brushing, and shoe trees required.
6. Daniel Wellington St. Mawes Watch:  A nice looking watch at a great price point.  This will get you through your senior year, an internship, and your first couple years on the job.
7. Rag & Bone Rugged Brass Belt:  A versatile belt that brings the outfit together.  Matches shoes in leather and suede.
8. Fred Perry Slim Fit Twin Tipped Polo Shirt:  You know, for casual Fridays.
9. Apolis Standard Issue Chinos:  Pay attention to khakis this time of year.  They should be worn like jeans but treated like dress pants.
10. J.W. Hulme Co. Continental Duffle:  Traveling to away games shouldn’t look like an episode of “Road Rules.”
11. Levi’s Made & Crafted Tack Slim Fit Jeans:  Time to add another dark pair of jeans to the lineup.  The ones you bought last year are plenty broken in, but you need a good, dark pair for Friday night.
12. Loake Kempton Chukka Boots:  A much dressier option than the typical work boots or cowboy boots.  You are an upperclassman…time to tighten it up.

Live Tonight: Alabama Shakes @ Verizon Amphitheater

Pumped. See you there.

George Vlagos of Oak Street Bootmakers: Human (Video)

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of Oak Street Bootmakers. I have a few pairs, and wear them to death. Over the years, i’ve gotten to know founder George Vlagos, and can speak from experience in that he truly loves his craft. There is something to be said for American craftsmanship, and Oak Street Bootmakers embodies all that is good. George recently teamed up with Uproxx to produce a “Human” film on him and his company. I’ll let it speak for itself:


Now, tell me you aren’t a fan…

Blankenship Dry Goods: Behind the Curtain

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Blankenship Dry Goods over the past year.  Tory Lenzo, their founder and CEO, really has a great vision for his company.  The lineup is strong: a great fleece pullover, pants and shorts, oxford shirts, and this incredible hat.  What’s great about about this outfit?  All made in the USA and 5% of all proceeds go to Wounded Warrior Project.  The USA thing is big for me.  The Wounded Warrior donation is even bigger.

I had a chance to catch up with Tory to get an understanding of his business.  Enjoy:

What is the Blankenship story?  Blankenship Dry Goods’ successes are largely due to embracing the hustle of NYC. I began the brand as a Freshman at NYU with no industry experience. My two feet and mouth were my greatest assets – 99% of life is showing up and connecting. I used to walk around for hours, day after day, and talked to people that all held a small piece of the puzzle.

The learning curve was steep. Every wrong turn was an expense and added frustration. Just when I thought I had something figured out on the manufacturing or sourcing end, everything would unravel.  As someone that loves making progress quickly and traditionally has had difficulty waiting, I can sincerely state that nothing has ever tested my patience like running this brand. Nothing worth having comes easy.

Eventually, I got things right. By placing myself in an environment to learn, I had the chance to grab at opportunities as they presented themselves. Nothing just happened because stars were aligned. Persistence and hard work got the brand where it is today. For these reasons, I believe that my brand exemplifies on the micro level the American Dream. The process is ongoing but I strive everyday to continue to make forward progress.

I am furthermore most proud of being able to assist other entrepreneurs, both young and old, in their own ventures in an external consulting role because of my experience running my brand.

What made you want to start Blankenship?  I really found issue with looking at the label of my shorts and not reading “Made in America.” I wanted to create a brand that took pride in where, how, and what was produced. This inspired the Freedom Shorts – our first design.

What type of guy is a Blankenship customer?  A guy that respects classic American style but prefers more contemporary cuts on his garments. He doesn’t need a brand on the exterior of his garment to define his style or associations in society. He loves America, is appreciative every day of the opportunities that exist in this country, and is humbled by the sacrifice that our service people have made to protect his Freedoms. Aesthetically, his patriotism is subtlety brought to attention by the American Flag motif detailing our garments.

Where do you get inspiration for Blankenship Dry goods?  I design in the heart of the fashion district of NYC. The city is a melting pot and you see so much to derive inspiration from on a daily basis.  Much of what gets designed is based on trends I have seen in the places I have in my life. This includes the contemporary vibes of the NYC prep world, traditional styles of New England, and believe it or not Italy for from fitting and comfortable cuts.

Fine garments need no branding and that’s what we aspire to create. We want our quality to do our bidding. Never should there be a point that I can sell something because I threw an elephant on it and called it a day.  All product color ways are inspired by American History, Natural Beauty, and Icons.

What is your favorite piece in the Blankenship line?  The Tailgater is too cool a garment not to be my favorite. It is attractive and has amazing functionality. Our canvas coozie technology has been a hit for years and does not interfere with the garment wearer when not in use. Our redesign incorporating canvas details, handcrafted canvas coozies, and metal snaps into the Tailgater has made the piece extremely durable and crisp. We are dropping our first line of Fall color ways September 15 (2 currently on preorder online) and 7 heavier weight Tailgaters in early October that include the Aspen and Sun Valley patterns that did so well for us in the past. If last year was any indication, they will be sold out quickly this year. We are also really excited about our limited production “Black Hawk” color way that will donate a royalty of every sale to the Navy Seal Foundation.

What is the best part about running your own business?  People I get to meet and what I get to learn.

I’m a pretty focused individual. Having this endeavor to sink my teeth into has allowed me to channel my energy and commit to it fully. I have been fortunate enough to make amazing connections and learn from those that know significantly more than myself. I intend on continuing to be a sponge and roll with each and every punch.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  I try to learn as much about other industries as I can. As I briefly mentioned, I have worked in a freelance consultant role for other ventures in many industries and in venture capital. These experiences have allowed me to look at business from a different yet equally important angle.

Who are three people you’d like to drink a beer with?  First, Mitt Romney – Shrewd businessman, involvement in consulting (Bain), great family man, true leader.  Second, Ralph Lipschitz – American icon in the fashion industry – could certainly shed some important insights onto my business.   Lastly, Michael Bloomberg – Would love to hear about what it takes to become the mayor of NYC.

What’s on your Spotify playlist?  I listen to Bloomberg Radio (reference q 8).