Get to Know: Red Fish Brand

Based in Hilton Head, SC, Red Fish Brand is a subtle reminder of timeless style, quality, and style.  The company was founded by Curtis Hart, who has made it his passion to replicate pieces that are built to last.  Red Fish Brand embodies that ‘top shelf’ mentality, giving us to acquire those aspirational, heirloom pieces that will last a lifetime.  Needless to say, Curtis knocked it out of the park, and he’s 100% genuine about it.  He takes it very seriously…he’s the kind of guy I can’t wait to go fishing with next time I’m on the Atlantic Coast.

Originally known for their Low Country Coat, they also produce a full line of clothing and accessories for the refined outdoorsman.  Give their catalog a look: it will remind of you of the nicest hunting and outdoor gear that you’ve seen; whether it be something your grandfather wore or something in an English hunting catalog.  It’s a standard that will be tough to be replicated.  Everything feels custom…these are the types of products that you buy once, and pass on to future generations.

Some of my favorite pieces are their handsome belt buckles, of fishing, hunting, and coastal emblematic examples, as well as engraved buckles for the monogram set.  Their selection is quite impressive.  There is something there for just about anyone that’s ever tied on a hook.  And of course they offer USA-made alligator straps, as these are the type of buckles that need one.

The full line of Red Fish Brand t-shirts are also a nice addition.  They use the ultra comfortable Comfort Colors shirts rather than the thin poly blends that have taken off.  Personally, I prefer the Comfort Colors because a) they last a lot longer, and b) they have a front pocket.  The designs are just right: they look like vintage labels rather than a fratty design.

They also offer good looking hats:

Curtis was nice enough to give us a look behind the curtain:

What is the history of Red Fish Brand? In the mid 1960s I acquired a “used” cotton canvas duck quail jacket. The coat was made in the 1930s by Duxbak. Some people have their favorite boots, shoes or hat, but for me, sense the first day I owned it, my favorite article of clothing has been this coat. Over the years friends started referring to it as my uniform because if you saw me you usually saw the coat! I wore it quail and dove hunting, caught winter trout standing on the side of Beaufort County bridges on cold winter mornings. I dug oysters in it and generally explored the Carolina Sea Islands as a teenager in it. About 7 years ago my wife noticed that the blood and dirt no longer would wash out and my days of wearing it out in public, at least with her, were officially over.  However knowing my love of the coat she encouraged me to find and purchase a brand new one. I found out very quickly that my coat was no longer available; in fact production stopped on them from some 5 different t companies in the early 1950s due to cost of “real” cotton duck sail cloth and production cost on a coat with as many individual pieces. Then nor today can they be sewn on a “production Line.” Being extremely stubborn and rarely taking no for an answer I found and purchased some U S A “real” cotton duck and removed every stitch from my coat, cut a pattern and had myself a new coat made fully intending for that to be that! As one thought will often lead to another I decided that If I liked it that much maybe someone else might also. After a 3 ½ year search of almost nonexistent fabric, pattern makers, and cut and sew tailors I began making the Low Country Coat. I made it as the original with absolutely no concern for fashion or design but as a tool for outdoorsman and watermen.

Why is it important to celebrate the “buy it once, buy it right mentality? One of my most favorite “sayings” and I am sure it would have to be southern in origin is “you get what you pay for. “ For me buy it right does not only apply to price but also to size, fit and intended purpose. In today’s economy, it is especially important for most of us to acquire those things that stand the test of time and “give us our hard earned money’s worth!

Why is Hilton Head the perfect back drop for Red Fish Brand? Hilton Head Island is located at the very heart of the South Carolina Sea Islands. It has a tremendous outdoor “heritage.” From the late 1890s through the 1950s Hilton Head Island provided the “ best of the best “ southern hunting , fishing and outdoor adventures on the entire east coast. Our very first offering The Low Country Coat was actually purchased and used during those early Island years. An early 1900’s island Plantation guest was quoted as saying “wildlife abounds as does serenity and peace of mind “

What Kind of guy is a Red Fish Customer? Without exception our customers would much prefer to be “outside” than “inside.” Not only do they have a tremendous love for our southern outdoors but a strong desire to preserve it for their children. Our customers appreciate true quality and the efforts that go into the making of fine “tools for the outdoorsman”. Our customers’ are usually very traditional not only in their life style but in their approach to everything they are involved in

What does Heritage mean to you? Like anyone who grew up in the Carolina Low Country Heritage, even at a very young age it becomes much more than a word. To some extent it becomes a “way of life” based on that which has come before you and that which you very much want to leave behind. For southerners Heritage is not only who we are but what we are; perhaps the words “ our patina” may describe it best.

What are some of you favorite pieces? The Low Country Coat will always be my favorite item that we make. It not only replaced my original coat but also provided the way for Red Fish Brand to get started. I especially like The Caines Brothers Decoy belt buckle. It celebrates a big part of our Coastal South Carolina Outdoor history. I personally enjoy, almost every day, wearing my engraved King Street buckle with my wild caught Florida alligator strap. From the lost wax casting process to the hand engraving and wild caught alligator hides it truly represents what Red Fish Brand quality is all about.

What do you like to do outside of running Red Fish Brand? I have always counted it a tremendous privilege just to wake up every morning in the Carolina Sea Islands An old friend always told me “when God painted the Earth, the best stroke of his brush was the South Carolina Low Country” and I agree. I am thankful every day! I enjoy Quail, Deer and Turkey hunting in the fall and winter months and salt and fresh water fishing pretty much all year around. Above all and far beyond anything I enjoy time with my wife Marian. We celebrate our 43rd anniversary this summer. You see me at my best when you see me next to her.

What is on your Spotify play list? I’m embarrassed to admit and show just how behind the times I really am, but I still use my original I Pod !! I love a mixture of Rock and Roll, Southern Rock, a lot of old Soul and Beach music from the 60’ and 70’s

Coming this Fall: a review of Red Fish’s aforementioned Low Country Coat.  This thing is awesome.  I want to put some miles on it and give you a full report.  This will be fun:

See the whole Red Fish Brand collection online, and follow their Instagram and Facebook pages.  Lots of good stuff coming from sea islands…


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