When most people think of relaxation, they envision swimming or laying out on the beach catching a tan. Now the beach can be brought to the boardroom with clothing from a newly launched apparel company. Louisiana-based husband and wife duo Blake and Halie Moore recently created Bourbon+Blue, a new startup that focuses on the individual who embraces life, discovery and adventure.
Bourbon+Blue is a lifestyle brand that officially began as a business over a year ago, but has been in the making since 2013. After graduating college in 2010, Halie Moore went straight into medical sales while her husband Blake worked in petroleum engineering. In 2013, the couple came up with the idea to launch a fashion brand after becoming constrained to corporate life.
“We wanted to find freedom with doing a project,” Moore said. “And after seeing the market flooded in the fashion industry with all the southern prep and collegiate brands, we wanted to bring a new face and a new style at a more progressive pace to southern fashion for men.”
According to Moore, she and her husband wanted to tailor their brand towards men who are looking for a more relaxed, casual style that could also be transitional. With this “boardroom to beach” concept in mind, Bourbon+ Blue was created as a fashion-forward alternative.
“When we jumped into the corporate world, we realized quickly that those guys needed not to be defined by a logo of what they were wearing on their shirts,” Moore said. “Just a more relaxed, casual styling, but that could still be associated with a type of lifestyle.”
This lifestyle is the apparel company’s design ethos, focusing on achieving the perfect balance of refined and relaxed, which led to the company name. According to Moore, bourbon was selected as the term that was an appropriate image of southern refinement, while blue was the more relaxing term that called out pictures of the coast. The finalized name is the key component to the company’s designs.
“We’re refined, but never defined,” Moore said. “It’s blue by day, bourbon by night. So, we have pieces that are very transitional to fit the bourbon and blue lifestyle.”
According to Moore, the company is more than just a brand, but a movement of dreamers and creators.
“We want to encourage discovery over the monotony of being tied down to the same thing every day,” Moore said. “We want the public and our consumer to join us on a journey to design the life they want, live it, share its tale with others who don’t have that opportunity and inspire those guys to do the same. This can be done through your occupation, your lifestyle or the way you dress.”
Currently, the company works with a fashion designer based in Nashville, Tennessee. To bring a trendier vibe to the south, the clothing is designed by updating traditional pieces with modern lines and prints while keeping it classic. Inspiration comes from attending trade shows and working with modern boutiques, but also from visits to museums such as the World War II Museum to find inspiration that was vintage and update it.
“We try to incorporate things we are inspired by,” Moore said. “For instance, it may be traditional Ginghams, but to make sure it has a wooden button that makes it more relaxed to give it that Bourbon+Blue vibe. Or taking an old classical concept and redesigning it.”
Photos courtesy of Darian Tarver, Brandon baker and Collette Baker
The company currently offers cut and sewn men’s woven short and long sleeve shirts, novelty tees and graphic tees. Their most popular item is their beachcomber, a short sleeve, fitted, woven shirt that was redesigned with a classic but fun print.
“When we launched our beachcomber this past May, we quickly sold out of a couple of our styles,” Moore said. “It was a very popular piece for us.”
Moving forward, the company plans to expand their products with outerwear, knitwear, hybrid shorts and eventually add bottoms to their lines.
Products are available for purchase in Carriages Fine Clothier and The Garage in Baton Rouge along with retailers along the Gulf Coast ranging from Texas to Florida, and North Carolina to Arkansas.
One of the most significant challenges for the company is wanting to stay traditional, but also wanting to be a progressive southern brand and help show their target demographic there is more they can choose from in their fashion selections.
“Consumers are looking and wanting something different, and we want to make sure we are filling that gap in the marketplace,” Moore said. “It’s a balance of not being too fashion-forward and traditional.”
Because of their passion for living life to the fullest as well as their fondness for the Gulf Coast, the husband and wife duo decided to do something more meaningful with their company than merely sell apparel by donating proceeds to the Dream Foundation as well as ocean cleanup efforts.
“Anytime we have online orders through our e-commerce website, we take a percentage of those proceeds and donate it to these organizations,” Moore said. “These people that are chronically ill, they have the opportunity to live one more adventure, something they’ve always dreamed of doing because that has a lot to do with our brand. Part of our proceeds also go to clean up ocean efforts.”
Down the road, Moore says she would like to work with local cotton farms in the manufacturing of their products as well as have their own storefront set up in historical southern landmark locations.
“The brand is about living life to the fullest, not being scared to take that next step, and living life outside the box. We’re striving to become a voice for the new lifestyle and point of view emerging from the south. We want to be the go-to for the guy for casual and business wear. We want to be able to fit their needs in the whole market.”