5 Questions for Social Primer’s K. Cooper Ray

Apr 2 2013

by Shani Gilchrist

New Englanders and Wisconsinites tend to romanticize the South at this time of year. It’s no wonder when in March our friends in Charleston are donning seersucker and sandals while our friends to the north are spending the morning trudging through thinly-frosted mud puddles. An extra supply of warm days affords a longer social season, which men like to jazz up with a hint of additional creativity in the wardrobe. Such creativity is deftly shown in K. Cooper Ray’s (the man behind Social Primer) debut collection of men’s clothing for fall. SP Smoking extends the sartorial reputation of well-heeled, party-circuit Southerners by taking the traditional elements of social menswear and adding a distinctive splash, Smoking jackets in varied hues are thrown over camouflage pants or paired with duck boots. Young men who divide their time between the hunt club and the gala circuit might gravitate to these items if they are looking for some extra flair for the season’s events.

K. Cooper Ray has an impressive résumé that shows keen exposure to style and substance. Before becoming widely known for his statements on style and etiquette or his Brooks Brothers-partnered bow ties he enjoyed a career at Bottega Venata and was an ambassador for Dom Perignon. I recently asked Ray a few questions about this latest venture and the state of modern social interactions. Here is what he said:​

In the past, Social Primer has provided commentary on modern etiquette, sport, and play, and gone on to include bow ties in the brand. Was this new line of clothing a planned progression?

No, it wasn’t planned but a natural next step. I’m motivated to design what I’m unable to find. I created my own line of bow ties because that was what I wanted to wear. The next step is evening wear.

What inspired this collection of clothing?

I’m always inspired by the men in Charleston. The uniform is the Charleston tuxedo (navy blazer/ white button down/ bowtie/ khaki and loafers) the idea of SP Smoking is the Charleston tuxedo done in evening fabrics.

You’ve lived around the world. What made you decide to settle in Charleston?

Charleston is my favorite city. It’s southern but also east coast, practically speaking. Romantically and passionately speaking, it’s the most beautiful city in America.

Social interactions and gatherings have changed so much in the past several years, even in havens of “graciousness” like Charleston. Have social media changed the way people approach social events?

Yes absolutely, I’ve known and met people on social media long before I met them in person. It’s always interesting when you get a chance to meet.

Are men more or less gracious than 20 years ago?

Less. By a long shot. Gracious men are an endangered species. Gracious men a.k.a. gentlemen should be heralded, nurtured, and applauded.

This post originated from CamilleMaurice.com. For more great conversations, insights, and style visit the blog here.


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2 responses on “5 Questions for Social Primer’s K. Cooper Ray

  1. cherileavy

    This interview made me even more excited about Cooper as our keynote in May at #tscsummit! Can’t wait to meet you on Jekyll Shani! So glad you are coming!

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