Last week, Shoes on King had the pleasure of hosting one of Charleston’s most distinguished designers in the menswear industry, K. Cooper Ray. Along with an entourage of striking young men from College of Charleston’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, K. Cooper Ray took over the store space to showcase Social Primer Charleston’s unique and well-loved collection of bow ties, long ties, cummerbunds, and as of late, the label’s newest hero, The Charleston Blazer, which is now making its official debut.
K. Cooper Ray’s designs were styled to perfectly suit not only the well-dressed gentleman this season, but also the pulled-together lady! Social Primer Charleston is currently working on a lovely, tailored women’s version of ‘The Charleston Blazer’.
Social Primer blog was essentially born from Mr. Ray’s innate appreciation for timeless aesthetic with a touch of whimsy. Due to the Alabama native’s earnest dedication, along with his continuous ability to captivate readers through his writing and his creative take on the classics, he literally saw his dreams materialize when he was featured in The Wall Street Journal, thus becoming discovered by the all-American menswear retailer, Brooks Brothers.
K. Cooper Ray was then given the opportunity to design his own line of reversible bow ties that popped with color and pattern, adding a fresh addition to Brooks Brothers stores nationwide. Mr. Ray’s thoroughly documented passion for fashion, along with an extremely impressive resume, curated during his years as an understudy for some of the world’s top names in the industry, he had earned his “badge of excellence” long before Social Primer Charleston came into fruition.
Before collaborating with the large retailer, Mr. Ray interned for New York Fashion Week’s creator, Fern Mallis, and after that, his idealistic view on the necessities for the modern-day gentleman led him to document these ideals for not only dressing well, but living a well-rounded life. The book is entitled “Bill of Rites for the American Man”, and it ultimately serves as today’s lifestyle manual for the all-American gentleman.
This is one book that cannot be judged by its cover, however, K. Cooper Ray is loved for his savoir-faire, and appreciated for his genuine demeanor and carefree sensibility.
Not only were the accessories and clothing aesthetically charming but Mr. K. Cooper Ray’s immediate response to my request for a photo was just as colorful and charming. “Did someone request a photo with me?!” he warmly called after appearing from behind the navy curtain emblazoned with the ‘SP’ monogram. I instantly felt comfortable with his graciousness and relaxed candor.
After meeting him, it was evident that not only is he rooted with classic sensibility on dress and behavior, but he’s equally dedicated to expressing individuality through color, pattern and therefore charm … He believes in the overall lifeSTYLE, and not solely on the fashion alone. This is essentially what has taken his brand full circle to what it is today.
Given his love for Charleston, the culture, and the city’s casual sophistication, he’s happy to have settled into the city that helped start the pulse for the Social Primer brand. He was inspired, and thus, we can’t help but be inspired by him in return! Life is short. Live well!
* Written for Charlestoninsideout.com in April 2015