My great-grandfather on my mom's side,
William Lewis Allman.
I always called him "Papa."
(Pictured below: Papa with my mom, Janet)
"Allman" is a project that I've been working on for a long time. I've dabbled here and there in menswear, making a few things that I'd take to craft shows to sell. But finally, I've sat down long enough to put together a one-of-a-kind collection just for men, all inspired by my great grandfather, William Lewis Allman.
I was lucky enough to grow up with two generations of grandparents on both sides of my family, but I spent the most time with my mom's side who lived just a few minutes down the road from us. After my grandfather died when my mom was just 15, her mother's parents moved in with her. The three of them lived together - Aileen, Granny, and Papa - forever after.
Many of my summers and afternoons after school were spent at their house, playing in the yard, watching TV, and helping out in the kitchen. Papa would always be waiting on the porch for me when I got off the school bus, and most days, we'd walk to the post office together to check the mail and to Moose Drug for a cone of ice cream. We'd pick up pecans in the back yard and on the weekends, walk to the auction house with Granny.
My mama has always told me that Papa loved me more than anybody, though I have a strong feeling he really loved her the most. She got to know Papa in a way that I never did. Papa lived just until I graduated from high school, so I was lucky to have him for quite awhile, but Mama got to know the much younger version of our grandfather. She knew the man who was a machinist at the cotton mill and fixed radios and TVs in his backyard shop in his spare time... the man who raised roosters and hunting dogs and kept bees.. the man who helped build the Baptist church.
When I look back at old black-and-white photos of Papa, I see a young man that exuded such a masculine confidence, an ease of being, and downright coolness. I love imagining what he must have been like back then, back when my mom was growing up. And I love that I can create something that brings this mood and that era of his existence back to life. Recreating this vintage clothing helps me to recreate him, and I am so happy to share that with the people who will end up wearing it.
Below is a preview of the collection, which features men's button-ups, sweaters, jackets, neckties, and hats. You can expect to see much more in the coming months as I continue to photograph the line. And each piece comes with a handmade tag featuring a reproduction of one of those old black-and-whites. My great-grandfather is the one pictured on the far left.