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Two iconic brands are making beautiful music together. Designer and fashion entrepreneur Billy Reid and guitar purveyor Gibson have teamed up to create The Hummingbird Collection, a capsule collection of styles for men and women launching on August 19.
The collection is Gibson’s first collaboration with a fashion designer and is inspired by the iconic Hummingbird guitar, favored by such musicians as Keith Richards, Sheryl Crow, Thom Yorke and Lenny Kravitz.
“Billy’s passionate pursuit of ‘lived-in luxury’ combined with his love of the extended music community made this a natural fit,” says Gibson Brands CEO and president James “JC” Curleigh, who notes that Reid had the “creative liberty” to choose from a wide array of Gibson design and gravitated towards the acoustic guitar. “He liked the authentic connection to acoustic guitars as the initial inspiration and then he honed in on the Hummingbird,” Curleigh says. “It surprised us at first, but when we saw the first design concepts it all made sense.”
For Reid, a musician himself, the collection was an organic extension of his brand—which has its roots in Alabama.
“I’m a long-time guitar player, dabble in songwriting, and own a vintage Gibson Southern Jumbo,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I have been a huge fan of the brand and their iconic Hummingbird guitar for decades. When we began designing our Fall ’22 season we were inspired by the singer-songwriter. The Gibson Hummingbird was one of the first tear sheets on the mood board. This was before the Gibson collaboration came to be, so when we received the call from them it was such serendipity.”
The Hummingbird, as it turned out, was the perfect pairing for Reid’s classic Americana-inspired aesthetic designer took six Hummingbird motifs that Gibson has used on its guitar pick guards in the past, and combined them into one pattern. That became a starting point for the collection, which is comprised of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear as well as guitar accessories.
The men’s collection includes a leather café racer jacket, western style shirting, sweater, sweatshirt, and T-shirt along with select accessories. The women’s collection includes a Hummingbird midi-dress, cardigan and bandana tunic dress, with a women’s mohair winter coat will be coming this fall. Guitar accessories include a guitar strap and picks, all decorated with the exclusive Hummingbird print.
And since fashion and music have always gone hand-in-hand, it made sense for the brand to partner with Gibson artists for its visual campaign. Performers Margo Price, Aaron Lee Tasjan and Abraham Alexander were the perfect ambassadors for the brand’s rock and roots vibe. The two all-American brands introduced the artists as the faces of the collection at a star-studded launch party Thursday at Nashville’s Gibson Garage.
Price, who has worked with Reid in the past, was excited to come onboard for the new collaboration.
“As soon as I saw the mood board for this collaboration there were so many amazing pieces that spoke to me,” she says. “I have a sweater that I have been living with since I got it and I have been a fan of both Gibson and Billy Reid for a really long time,” she continues. “There is a lot of tradition in this collaboration, but it also has a modern feel. Billy Reid and Gibson symbolize tangible things that represent music and South, two things that are close to my heart.”
For Grammy-nominated Tasjan, the chance to collaborate with the iconic Reid/Gibson duo on a new creative endeavor was appealing—but the meaning behind his involvement was even more important.
“I’ve always used clothing and songwriting as conduits to express the arc of my human experience. So, coming together with Gibson and Billy Reid for this project felt right for me,” he says. “Most important to me was the chance to collaborate with two classic American brands. As America continues our journey to be more honest about our history and thoughtful about our future, it’s important to me, as a queer person, to see an honest representation of who Americans really are. The opportunity to see a major campaign by brands like Billy Reid and Gibson have that sort of representation means so much to so many, myself included.”
For singer-songwriter Alexander, the collaboration portrays a powerful pairing of industry-dominating forces.
“Gibson symbolizes prestige. Gibson has brought forth musicians that continue to influence my artistry and if it wasn’t for them, I would not be playing. Every time I play a Gibson, I feel I am channeling the greats,” he says. “Billy Reid is known for quality just like Gibson and Billy Reid’s name is synonymous with incredible designers and excellence.”
Each artist has a favorite that feels as personal to them as the music they make.
“The hummingbird itself is an ornithological representation of hope and good fortune as well as a symbol of a cherished loved one close by,” says Tasjan. “The twin hummingbirds on the back of Billy’s gorgeous sweater remind me of how closely I hold my dearest loved ones to my heart each day of my life.”
“There is an embroidered Western Shirt that is hand-crafted embroidered and to me that speaks so many volumes on how much they care about these pieces,” adds Abraham. “To know that someone used their hands to stitch this shirt and then to hold a Gibson guitar, which is also handmade, with your hands—it just feels right.”
The Billy Reid x Gibson Hummingbird Collection retails from $68 to $1,498 and will be sold at select Billy Reid retail stores and at the Gibson Garage in Nashville, as well as online at billyreid.com and on gibson.com starting Aug. 23.