A Pineville-based clothing line suits those who are refined yet relaxed.
A former engineer and project manager, Blake Moore combines his love of travel and adventure with functional fashion.
PHOTOS BY ROMERO & ROMERO
It's no surprise that Blake Moore is a former engineer and project manager. The native of Pineville approaches his creative endeavors as if marching in lockstep to the rhythm of a problem-solver. And with his new line of travel wear, that rhythm is turning into one sick beat.
"I have a tendency to want to redesign or create something when I feel it is unsuitable," Moore says. "I realized that there was a need for unbranded casual menswear that could be worn in many settings, from the office to the tiki bar to getting out on the road, and my first thought was 'I can fix this.'"
"Why can't I find a great shirt without a giant brand logo on it? How can I help encourage people to seize the day, to stalk adventure like a wild animal?"
These were the questions Moore had as a fashion-conscious Louisianian who loved to travel, didn't mind getting dirty, and had grown up and grown tired of the Deep South's more preppy traditions. He hopes to addres s these questions loud and clear with Bourbon + Blue, his new line of clothing and travel accessories that launched this spring.
"I decided to move into the fashion industry all because of the search for the perfect short-sleeve button-up, and I was also overwhelmed with all of the 'Southern prep and collegiate' brands on the market," Moore says. "It became a struggle to find apparel that was not branded in some way with a logo placed on the chest. I did not want to be defined by the logo I was wearing. So I set out to start a brand with the intentions of being refined, but never defined."
By contrast, most of Moore's products are not branded on the outside – instead letting the design, the feel and the individual emerge. Hopefully, the Louisiana Tech alum says, this occurs on the go.
"We want to make an impression on people who don't get out and experience life," Moore says. "That is the number one ideal of Bourbon + Blue, and all of the br and was built around that idea."
Moore says the brand moniker was a distillation of Man's dual nature. Bourbon – yes, Moore is a fan – represents a refined, determined side, while Blue evokes a certain relaxed playfulness, a love of adventure. Think clear skies and waves.
Product names like "The Hemingway" and "The Surfcomber" probably say more about the brand's vibe than any overly wrought descriptions of color or fiber, though the overall look is certainly a blend of Southern charm and SoCal sand. It's an aesthetic that each of Moore's nine collaborators hold steadfast at Bourbon + Blue. The brand headquarters is in Pineville, though the disparate collective often meets at co-working spaces in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Moore assembled his team over the course of two years, a brainstorming phase he says was essential before going into production last fall. As a startup founder, though, he still wears a lot of hats.
"[What my title is] is a good question that I ask myself every day," Moore says with a laugh. "At the stage our business is at and as the founder, I wear do a lot of different things – from accounting to graphic design."
The line is available for purchase from the brand's site and at select events, festivals and fairs across the South. Moore plans to roll out more products slowly after evaluating the feedback from Bourbon + Blue's initial customers. Most importantly, he is focused on building a new era of adventure-seekers.
"We want to create a community of dreamers and creators, people who live by similar rules, and have similar values," he says. "We believe it is important to design the life you want, live it, share its tale and inspire others to do the same."
Q & A
What other designer are you really admiring right now? My newest obsession in the fashion world is Faherty Brand. I really like the story behind it and their rustic, work-inspired style.
Are there any unexpected influences in your line? Absolutely! We are influenced often in ways we never expected, and that changes our perspective and approach. We are so inspired by the personalities of the team we have been able to put together. Also, the mindset of the millennial generation has been hugely influential and has changed my approach to the work/life balance.
If you could only wear one outfit every day for the rest of your life, what clothes would you pick? Board shorts, the Beachcomber – our updated version of the short-sleeve button-up with cuff details – and flip flops. Better yet, no shoes at all.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given? Everyday in this business there seems to present another mountain to climb. The best advice I received was to take one day, and each battle, at time. If not, you will drive yourself insane. Another great piece of advice that we have been following is to stay true to yourself and what you believe in. That way you will never have any regrets.
What do you like to do for fun when not working? I have always enjoyed listening to music, playing guitar, and hanging out around the beach. Recently I've become obsessed with snow skiing and surfing. I'm learning to surf. Really, I also travel as often as possible, and I like exploring the local food scenes at all of our Bourbon + Blue destinations.
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