What is Southern style? For a long time, the answer to that always conjured images of stuffiness with a strict adherence to tradition and exclusivity, think monogrammed cloth napkins, your great grandmother's dishware, and family heirlooms prominently displayed on top of a handsome warm wood mantle; ladies in pearls, men in bowties. While elegant and refined, none of these are meant to be touched. These things do have their place in Southern design, and trust me, there’s nothing wrong with a good hand-me-down, but my coast-to-coast travels as an interiors photographer and stylist have brought to light a new rising trend that is debunking the notion that Southern design is unapproachable, the don’t-actually-sit-on-the-sofa type of design.
What I’ve been noticing is a shift toward a fresher aesthetic, with unfussy materials like rough-hewn wood and natural linens, cleaner lines and color palettes, less of a focus on what’s “precious” and more of a focus on living your best life right now. It’s a return to the basics, a nod to the parts of the South’s culture that make it an inspiring place to be. This “New Southern” is spreading beyond the Deep South.. literally from Seattle to New York, and there’s a group of emerging interior designers, hoteliers, artists, and entrepreneurs who are leading the charge from coast to coast. The New Southern is not only capturing the current creative economy, but it’s also giving a voice to the strong female pioneers that are defining the shifting landscape.
Here, I’ll be highlighting 12 creatives, one a week, each a rising star in their field and an advocate of the New Southern style and design. You’ll get to know each, take a peek into their studios, hear the stories of how they took an idea and turned it into a business, and what it means to them to be Southern while sprinkling a little southern comfort all over the country with their creativity. Xx