Hook & Gaff was introduced to me by Jamie Clayton, who shot these photos. His brother, Gash Clayton, is a self-taught artist and designed one of the watch models. His 2nd, 3rd, and 4th are coming out soon. When Jamie sent these, it was mostly to brag on his brother, but I fell in love with the images and the watches and knew they’d make a great feature.
Man in charge:
Spartanburg, South Carolina. I’ve lived all over the state, from the edge of the Blue Ridge to the coast in Charleston.
West Columbia, South Carolina.
This idea transpired because I couldn’t find what I was looking for in a timepiece. Hard to believe! The trend in the industry right now is to go bigger and bulkier, specifically the ones targeting fishermen and outdoorsmen, and that just isn’t my style. I was determined to make a watch that was functional, durable, and had an aesthetic quality that reminded people of a luxury watch. These are built for the boat, but nice enough for fine dining.
I spent several years researching, building a business plan, and contracting others to do design work for prototypes and logos before I had an epiphany to call my buddy Gash Clayton (also from Spartanburg). I knew he was a great artist and wanted his help sketching a logo. He’d spent several years doing graphic design work in Charleston, and to top it all off, he is somewhat of a watch enthusiast. He designed our logo the first night we spoke. We spent the next few days talking business and touching up the watch design for another prototype, and a partnership was formed.
The design for our first watch had to meet our construction criteria. The case is constructed from ultra-lightweight titanium for durability and functionality. The glass is sapphire crystal, extremely scratch resistant, and this keeps our watch looking like new for years. It’s water resistant to 200m for our guys and gals who spend time in the water. We also have flipped the crown to the left side of the watch and we’ll continue to do this for the majority of our models. This is unique, but it became a necessity for me because the right side crown irritated the back of my left hand when I was fishing or playing golf. Our first Sportfisher also features a moon phase mechanism, letting you know when fish may or may not be feeding, especially pelagics. The dial design is a throwback to some vintage moon phase watches that were produced in the 1950’s, but we’ve modernized it a bit and have given it a very classy look.
We are bucking the trend to go bigger and bulkier. Instead, we are targeting active outdoorsmen with this sales pitch: “Hey, we’ve got a watch that is lightweight, thin, but extremely durable. And the best part is, you can wade into the flats wearing it, fillet a flounder, rinse off and wear it to dinner that night.” Our watches are assembled right here in the U.S. Our first Sportfisher is an entirely Swiss made watch, but beginning with our second model that we’ll roll out soon, we partnered with a watchmaker who takes our Swiss movements and assembles the watches in North Carolina. We’re very excited about creating a watch business with production based here.
Favorite spot you’ve fished:
Well now, I can’t reveal my favorite spot now can I? Every fisherman knows that’s a recipe for disaster! I have a few inshore spots in Charleston that I really love. I gravitate towards inshore fishing because I enjoy the hunt. Finding fish is just as fun for me as reeling them in. When it comes to offshore, I’ll have to take you down to Tuna Town – Venice, Louisiana. Venice is awesome. Fishing the Gulf is so much different than fishing the Atlantic. Everything is different, even the style of the boat and the equipment. Fishing the oil rigs versus trolling temperature changes, weed lines, or ledges. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed fishing in Venice the few times I’ve been, and I have to plug my boys at the Mexican Gulf Fishing Company. If you want to put tuna in the boat, they can do it. Love those guys!
Thanks to Michael Sims for the fantastic interview!
Go shop Hook & Gaff.
Micah Dalton, aka, Dwayne Shivers, has now made 3 appearances here (Part I, Part II). Dwayne Shivers is his new project and he answered a few questions for y’all to explain the sound and switch. Don’t skip the video at the bottom for The Love List Presents, filmed by The Reason.”Harlem Hill,” performed in the Green Room at The Earl, is my favorite from the EP. The take left us all jaw-dropped with no other words than “your voice!”
Tell everyone who Dwayne Shivers is:
Dwayne Shivers is an indie blues ensemble. I was tired of playing solo all the time and wanted to work more consistently with a band. Some of the songs from my solo records had the same tone / feel and felt like they’d be sung by a guy named Dwayne Shivers more than Micah Dalton.
Why the switch:
It was fueled by wanting to try something new – to have a new musical start, dropping old associations, and to collaborate and write from a more pure place.
What most inspires the sound:
All sorts of things inspire the sound – the guys that I invite into the recording / performing process have sensibilities that I admire and a musical vocabulary that I don’t have. So, in short, my friends. The sound is born first by a great song – then, the treatment should illuminate the lyric and melody. Since I’m first and foremost a songwriter, I need to be personally sincere with the lyric before sound crafting is entertained. That said, I started this project to do more that is musically ambitious and energetic in a live setting.
Photographed in Atlanta, GA
Argosy is currently my favorite burger. For quantity, obviously Ann’s Snack Shack.
Best concert is whenever Marshall Ruffin or Cleveland P. Jones sings and I get to hear them, which I have a handful of times this year.
Musician Micah Dalton, whose music was featured here a few years ago. He has since changed his sound and name and I’ll be featuring that new project on our next Music Monday.
- Atlanta Crackers hat, gifted from a friend. The Crackers were Atlanta’s home baseball team until the Braves moved from Milwaukee 1966.
- Club Monaco shirt.
Poler makes so much cool stuff. I often get lost on their site lusting over all the good #campvibes and wishing I was on an epic adventure decked from head to toe in their gear. So, when Huckberry put The Napsack on sale, I quickly added it to the Back Down South Shop. This this would’ve been (and will be) an essential additional to future Glamp Outs.
The Napsack has zippers at the shoulders, so you can stick your arms out, and a cinch at the bottom so that you can open it up and stick your legs out. Hike it up, cinch it, and wear it like a puffy coat around the campfire (or while standing on a log), and then crawl right back into your tent without ever having to leave the warmth of your bag. Plus…it has pockets, making it the coziest jacket ever.
To quote Socality Barbie (my new favorite Instagram account on the planet): “I just ‘happened’ to bring all my coffee gear on this hike. Might as well make a cup on this mountain top like any normal person would do.” Thanks to The Poler Napsack, drinking said cup of coffee while leaning on a fallen tree was super easy.
LABOR DAY GIVEAWAY
Summer forever, but Fall is almost here. To celebrate crisper air, changing leaves and laughter around fires, we’ve teamed up with Huckberry to give one away!
Head over to this Instagram post and ‘like’ to enter! A winner will be chosen at random and announced (via Instagram) on September 12th.
Photographed in Auburn, AL at Acre
I started a candle company because I have always loved what candles to do a room but never felt comfortable burning a chemical latent, kitschy smelling candle. There is also a gap in the marketplace in regards to men and candles. You either have what folks call “man candle” or “mandles” – which are BBQ, Grass, and Bikini Babe (I wish I was kidding) scented – or you have the opposite spectrum of candles mostly marketed to women. I wanted to create a candle that was both beautiful in design and safe for any room.
The Red Cedar Essential Oil candle. It is a very timeless fragrance and really adds to the room.
Meet Jake Carnley, founder of Great Bear Wax Co. We had the pleasure of meeting him in Opelika recently and bonded over our mutual love of Garth Brooks. We also bought two of his candles – Tobacco Bay and Grapefruit – and they’re amazing. Use code backdownsouth to get 10% off your purchase! Go shop.
To be honest, this collar may be nicer than the majority of Mark’s belts. They’re made with genuine American leather and silk sourced from England. Each collar, leash and belt (for you human readers) is hand-sewn onto each product in Burlington, Vermont. We are truly impressed and continue to be less cool than our dog.
Photographed in Jasper, GA
In your opinion, what’s the most underrated spot in Nashville:
Local Honey Vintage. The place has amazing stuff and is way cheaper than NY and LA.
Currently listening to:
Anything Max Martin touches.
Now would ya look at that:
Musician Matt Wertz, whose music I’ve been listening to since 2002. He’s got some rad stuff in the works and we’ll be sharing some when it’s released in a few months. Until then, if his is a new name to you, get familiar.
I’m so excited to finally announced a “pet project” by all definitions that Jess Graves and I have been working on for months…
This is a photo and writing project featuring the South’s most interesting men and women – chefs, musicians, writers, makers, designers, etc. – and their canine companions.
I’m so proud of the portraits we’ve created up to this point and there is so much more to come! We’ll continue to photograph, interview and update the site as we go (words by Jess, photos by me). Go check out the site for the collection thus far with photos and anecdotes by some of our favorite southernern fokls (some short, some long, some serious, some silly). And make sure to follow us on Instagram for more photos and outtakes!
What we love most about this house: It’s just as they describe it above. We love how eclectic it is and vouch for it being quite inviting, especially when being offered a glass of wine upon entering. And of course, the bedroom turned closet.
Front door wreath created by Christina and Maricarolyn’s mom.
Their gallery wall is a collection of trinkets from all their travels. The picture of red & gold dress is a sketch of Allyson’s mother’s coronation dress that she wore when presented during Fiesta in San Antonio, Texas in 1975-ish. The over-sized porcelain lamps belonged to Christina and Maricarolyn’s great-great Aunt whom they believed had impeccable taste.
The deer mount is Christina’s first shot and first kill. “We have named him Hank, and he is the man of the house.”
Chinese Calligraphy Paintbrush with Jadeite Handle – hunted down in Round Top, Texas.
The blue, green, yellow floral painting was a gift to Maricarolyn, found at Round Top Antique Show.
Another object hunted for at the Round Top Antiques Show – the brass pineapples.
The bar is an old armour that they installed lighting in to showcase our obsession with barware. The silver goblets were a gift from an estate sale. The etched Mexican wine glasses and hand-blown, beer glasses were purchased in Cabo San Lucas. The Martini glasses and champagne flutes were purchased in a pinch before an improptu NYE gathering.
The mini liquor bottles are a “vintage” collection bequeathed to the bar by Christina and Maricarolyn’s dad.
Built in’s with various books, picture memories and knick-knacks. “Also where we sit, sip coffee and watch the news every morning.”
Hop-Scotch down the hall “because Allyson is the best, most fun roommate ever!”
“The closet came to be one afternoon when my mom was in town and I was lamenting about the size of the closets in ‘this old house’. One particular frustration I was having was that I felt as though I was not wearing as many of my clothes as I should be, simply because I could not see them. As I am sure most every girl can relate, we had been creative with storage for shoes, jewelry, special occasion pieces, etc. But that often meant they were in boxes way up high in the closet or stored under beds…out of sight, out of mind. As ideas tend to escalate quickly with me and my mom, we soon began to lay out what merging my bedroom with Maricarolyn’s and transforming what was my bedroom into a “walk-in closet” would look like. We thought it looked pretty good, so with a quick call for MC’s approval, the re-arranging began. A few rolling racks, jewelry bars, and an ottoman later…we had ourselves the closet room. It also didn’t hurt that Maricarolyn and I can share clothes, so although our pieces were kept separate, we were really able to combine our wardrobes into a space where we could see most all our options at once! We think it’s brilliant and it certainly makes getting ready in the morning a little easier!”
The old door was found at an antique store and now serves as a display for Marcarolyn’s necklace collection.
Photo of Bill Cunningham: Taken by Caroline Fontenot (hey, that’s me!) on a trip to NYC. “Mr. Cunningham is a legendary street photographer whose passion is capturing the fashion that really comes to life on the street and off the runway. When I saw this picture, I thought what great inspiration to have in the closet room…to be encouraged and challenged to get dressed every morning with the idea that you just might capture the attention of someone so keen on fashion. After all, as Mr. Cunningham says: ‘fashion is the armor to survive everyday life’… and I agree.”
Charleston, South Carolina
- Hudson Sutler Oahu Weekender Duffel. Their Commuter Duffel is in our Huckberry shop for $85!
- Trask sandals (the only shoes I packed).
- Our perfect Airbnb apartment.
- The Gin Joint.
- The Rarebit.
- Saint Alban‘s coffee soda.
- Wedding at The Cedar Room Cigar Factory.
- Successfully not allowing myself to steal the Porsche below.