Atlanta’s Laura Slate Shope has made form and function her calling card, and it shows in her modern and minimalist collection of handmade bags.
The founder and background: She grew up in Marietta. She credits my parents (her mother is a seamstress and taught her to sew at an early age) and grandparents for her creative genes. She earned an industrial design degree from Georgia Tech and moved to San Francisco to work in the design trade for 10 years. In 2009, she and her husband moved back to Atlanta.
The company: Very Fine South started in Atlanta in 2013. Shope designs, cuts, sews and finishes the bags — from clutches and totes to bucket bags — in her Candler Park home studio.
The name: After a decade in San Francisco, she said she realized more than ever what an amazing place the South is. As a fifth-generation Atlantan, she believes we have a culture that is truly special.
What’s popular: The original bag, the Bette (a waxed-canvas cross body, $155), was the bag that started the business. It remains a favorite. In the newer Enso leather collection ($205-$435), best-sellers are the Bucket Tote ($435) and the Mini Bucket ($285), which adjusts to be a shoulder bag or cross-body bag.
Claim to fame: A couple of high-profile fashion bloggers and stylists carried her bags during New York Fashion Week. Their posts on Instagram put her designs in front of thousands of new eyes, and brought orders globally. She recently shipped the Springbok clutch ($525) to Australia.
What’s new: Metallic leather versions of a couple of the best-sellers, like the Mini Bucket, for the holidays.
Where to buy: www.veryfinesouth.com
Elizabeth Heard White never outgrew her childhood love of barrettes. The Georgia native still wears barrettes, but now she also designs sassy and classy hair accessories for women.
The company: Elizabeth Heard, a line of carefully crafted hair accessories for women, started last spring in Atlanta.
The founder and background: She grew up in Columbus and went to college at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. After graduation, she moved to New York City, where she worked in magazines and public relations. Her love of barrettes inspired her to take weekend courses at Parsons School of Design and to hone her skills crafting custom hair-wear. In Atlanta, she works in a studio at Strongbox West with the Factory Girls, an Atlanta-based fashion incubator.
Materials: High-quality leather, suede, agate and gold plates.
What’s popular: The elephant “Party Animal” and the pink “You’re A Gem” barrettes. Both are $34.50.
Other favorites: Hand-stitched bow barrettes.
Fun request: Bachelorette party favors and invitations.
Claim to fame: The barrettes are scheduled to appear on Allison Williams’ character, Marnie, in an upcoming episode of the HBO series “Girls.”
Where to buy: www.elizabethheard.com. In Atlanta, find Elizabeth Heard hair accessories at w.port, 3232 Roswell Road; Waiting on Martha at the Shops Around Lenox, 3400 Around Lenox Road; and on Dec. 5, at a pop-up shop at West Elm in Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce de Leon Ave.
Actress to shopgirl
Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon grew up in Nashville, Tenn. To honor her past and her Southern roots, she recently launched Draper James, a new fashion and lifestyle collection.
The company: Draper James started last May. The flagship store opened in Nashville in October.
The name: Draper James is named after her grandparents: Dorothea Draper and William James Witherspoon.
Reese’s pieces: They include polished and preppy fashions, accessories, gifts and home decor. Many pieces in the collection are made in the South. The denim jacket ($195) is produced and manufactured in Blue Ridge. The Orange Blossom candle ($42) is made by Votivo in South Carolina.
What’s popular: Totes Y’all tote bag ($165); Pennington Peacoat ($350); Clementine Embellished Short Sleeve Collared Shirt ($200); and “Hello Sugar” Sweatshirt ($125).
Other favorites: Georgia Windowpane Cape ($395) and the Grace Lace Dress ($375).
What’s next: A boutique in Dallas.
Where to buy: Draperjames.com
Best of the South
Do you have favorite finds from around the South that you give as gifts, buy for your home or rave about to friends? If so, please write me at: email@example.com. Find more Southern-made products at southernfinds on facebook or twitter@lindajerkins.