Alabama's New Menswear ShopJanuary 24, 2013
Southern girl meets Southern boy. The two venture to New York, develop great careers (fashion and commercial real estate, respectively). Then comes baby, and thoughts of home.
This was the situation Reba Cunningham and Jason Miller found themselves in, bound for their hometown—Fairhope, Alabama—with their new baby in tow. The slower pace and comfort of family had lured them back, but they were reluctant about leaving their careers behind.
So they started Lyonstate, on online menswear store based in Fairhope. Equally rugged and tailored, high-end but approachable, Lyonstate sells clothing that any Southern man would feel at home in, whether he’s in Mobile or Manhattan. The store carries brands as familiar as Billy Reid, and as far-reaching as Ursa Major, a boutique men's skincare line out of Vermont. A new pop-up shop in downtown Mobile is their latest effort to bring their style to the Southern masses. We caught up with Reba to hear about her approach and inspiration.
G&G: How did you come up with the name Lyonstate?
RC: Lyons is a family name, my middle name. And the shop draws inspiration from my great Uncle, Herbert Lyons, who was a dapper Southern gent who lived in New York and wrote for the New York Times.
How do you define Lyonstate's aesthetic?
It’s a blend of traditional and modern sentiments, timeless pieces that share a rustic yet simple aesthetic. The brands we carry celebrate hand-crafted manufacturing techniques that bring a sense of history to each item.
What are your top 3 must-have items in the store now?
The Hill-Side Modified Herringbone Scarf is an amazing fabric woven by a sixth-generation weaver in Virginia. The Archival Clothing Rucksack is such a well-made bag, and I love the idea of passing it down and that it gets better with age. And the Wings + Horns Mac Coat has classic style with a button-out wool lining, but the color is what really brings it to life—a deep blue weather-proof grunge cloth.
What are your favorite menswear trends for women?
A clean double-breasted blazer. The key is making sure the silhouette is long and lean. And lace-up oxford boots.
What Southerner’s style do you most admire?
My husband’s. He always mixes textures so nicely.
What are your favorite up and coming brands, and why?
AMI. I love their classic Ivy League elements broken down in a casual, relaxed way.
What are the challenges or benefits of being a woman in the menswear business?
My style is pretty clean, so I identify with what wears well on men. I have an eye for editing and pairing things down, which is helpful when it comes to dressing men. My biggest challenge is not being able to try on the clothes and give my opinion on fit, but my husband, Jason, can.
What shops you draw inspiration from?
John Derian, Love Adorned, and the Future Perfect always have an interesting mix.
Your website is a success in-and-of itself. Why open up a pop-up shop?
We wanted to bring our aesthetic to life in a physical form, to let people walk in and immediately evoke the feeling of who we are.