ALPINE – For home decor designer Bryan Keith Parker, there’s no straight line between Union County and New York City.
But come late February, his named line of classic-modern bedwear will make its way straight to the shelves of 800 Macy’s department stores nationwide and into America’s homes.
“I think of my style as ‘industrial chic,’” the 40-year-old said Monday as he sat comfortably in faded jeans and a pumpkin-colored sweater on an off-white overstuffed chair in his remodeled home where his grandparents once lived 10 miles east of Guntown.
“It’s a designer’s dream to get your own brand.”
His stepmother, Kathy Parker of Guntown, was more direct: “He can write his own check.”
Parker – whose bedwear will carry the “Bryan Keith” label – gauges his potential success by fashion legend Ralph Lauren, whose luxury line covers a variety of products, such as men and women’s clothing and fragrances, as well as bedding and housewares.
“He’s built a lifestyle line,” Parker said, “and he does everything possible in the category.”
Parker’s modern designs would look great in a big-city loft or a small-town bungalow. Continued acceptance across time, like Lauren, will mark true success, he says.
His first two designs are named Portland and Aspen.
Portland’s comforter is black silk embroidered with linking circles in gold and silvery taupe, reversible to a gray-taupe stripe.
Aspen’s is a subdued blue-green with a taupe-gray aspen-leaf embroidered motif, reversible to gray with the same embroidery in the aqua.
In mid-summer he’ll present Malibu and Stockholm. Then he’ll venture into bath towels and shower curtains.
Brown and aqua are favorites, the colors of the silky label that bears his name and “Only * Macy’s,” one of America’s best known retail outlets.
Parker’s attention to detail goes all the way down to the substantial plastic-bag container for the bed ensemble of two standard pillow shams, two Euro shams, comforter, tailored bedskirt and three toss pillows, retailing for $149.95/Queen.
The designs will be available online at www.macys.com.
“My goal is to go into other categories … to be affordable,” said Parker, who earned a marketing degree from the University of Mississippi, after two years on photography scholarship at Northeast Community College.
A fifth pattern, yet to be named, will be available by 2010′s end.
Perhaps, he said, his interest in bedding came from his daily childhood requirement to make up his own bed.
“I’d look at it and say, ‘This is so ugly.’ Why can’t they be something nice?”
Parker got his retail start from V.M. Cleveland at Tupelo’s National Men’s amp& Ladies’ Wear. From there, his career bounced in a self-described “semi-charmed life” from K-Mart management in Arkansas, back to Tupelo, through American Eagle in Birmingham, Ala., then to several years with Nautica in California and ultimately to New York City and various design posts.
Today, through a twist of tales, he’s sitting pretty as vice president of Creative Product Development for Victoria Classics, based in Edison, N.J. His Big Apple apartment affords a stunning view of the Statue of Liberty, awaiting his return from farflung buying trips around the world.
“I am so blessed,” Parker said, as he looked around his Union County country house with its dark bamboo floors, gleaming white kitchen, comfortable living room with grey-blue walls and bedrooms decorated in shades of taupe.
“I can’t believe I’ve gotten to travel to these places and they’re paying me.”
Unforgettable was meeting Oprah Winfrey on her Chicago TV show set as he helped mega-designer Nate Berkus prepare to introduce his new line, which Parker developed.
In the beginning, he said he almost held back to start his career, afraid he couldn’t make it in the hustle and bustle of big-city life.
“I really feel like that in conquering your fear,” he said, “you really can do anything.”
Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal