Southern Saint is not only a brand created right here on St. Croix, but it’s synonymous with the St. Croix island lifestyle. The brand began as a shared vision by two resident entrepreneurs, Matthew Ridgway and Briana Casale Cox. The idea started simply: to create a line of boatwear unique to St. Croix. Since then Southern Saint has become a sustainable luxury island brand that aims to put St. Croix and the Virgin Islands on the design map.
Southern Saint’s Origin Story
Born and raised on St. Croix, Matt is the owner/operator of Caribbean Sea Adventures. Briana is a St. Croix resident, talented artist and owner of several Christiansted boutiques. Their partnership began when Matt approached Briana with the idea to create a line of boat wear branded with a unique logo that would represent St. Croix. The name would be “Southern Saint,” since the island of St. Croix is the southernmost island of the three US Virgin Islands (Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix). Briana put her considerable artistic talents to work and came up with the concept of using a mongoose as the brand’s logo; after all, the mischievous little creatures can be found all over the island and are an interesting part of St. Croix’s history. The brand started with a line of rash guards, sun shirts and hats, perfect for days spent outdoors, boating, lounging at the beach, and snorkeling at Buck Island. Briana even bought the established St. Croix Surf Company shop so they had a place from which to launch and sell the Southern Saint brand.
As happenstance would have it, Coral Hamilton moved back to St. Croix as Briana was looking to expand the Southern Saint brand. Coral was born and raised on St. Croix, but left the island to attend a prestigious design school in order to study swimwear design. She missed her island home and returned to St. Croix with the hopes of designing her own swimwear, making her the perfect fit for the Southern Saint family. Since they started collaborating, Briana and Coral have added new designs, new lines and new styles for the whole family! As the brand grew, it began to need it’s own location. In the Fall of 2021, the flagship Southern Saint store was opened on the corner of Queen Cross and Strand Streets. Now the Instagram-worthy shop offers something for everyone in the family, in all shapes and sizes.
Original Artwork and Designs
The dynamic design duo of Briana and Coral are creating a fashion empire built on local talent and a LOT of sweat equity. In addition to the Southern Saint brand, Briana and Coral design other uniquely St. Croix styles that have led to the creation of a second brand and boutique, Ginger Thomas. These designing women make clothes for the lifestyle they live: sustainable, comfortable, and luxurious. Inspired by the natural beauty, culture, and energy of St. Croix, Briana paints original artwork that is then used to create patterns and textiles. Coral designs swimwear, clothing and accessories using the fabrics and logos created from Briana’s artwork. The two then flesh out the final designs together, then order samples for fitting and approval. The entire design and approval process takes places in their Christiansted studio above the Southern Saint store, and their products are made with sustainable fabrics and non-toxic inks.
Southern Saint is already beginning to make a name for itself outside of St. Croix. You can find Southern Saint products at Big Planet on St. John, and their exhibition at the Orlando Surf Expo in 2021 earned them great reviews and generated lots of buzz. Their wholesale line is being marketed in a full color ‘lookbook’ featuring gorgeous photos taken here on St. Croix. What’s next for this fast-growing brand? Southern Saint will soon be offering a new pet line, a linen collection and new swimwear designs. Plus, there is already discussion of opening a second Southern Saint brick and mortar stateside.
The story of Southern Saint really highlights what it means to be the next generation of St. Croix businesses. This team of entrepreneurs is building a brand based on their mutual love of St. Croix, sustainability, family, fashion and the sea. Best of all, thanks to their business partnership with Matt at Caribbean Sea Adventures, they can event book a charter to take them over to the other islands to sell and deliver Southern Saint products! On a personal note, Southern Saint has brought both Briana and Coral full circle from their childhoods. Briana’s very first job was at a bikini store, and she grew up surfing, skating and attending surf expos. Now, she owns three boutiques and is exhibiting a brand she helped to create at the same surf expos. Coral grew up with a mother who owned and operated a local swimwear boutique. Now she is designing swimwear and helping to build a brand that will represent St. Croix at other swimwear boutiques.
Shop Southern Saint
If you’re here on St. Croix, be sure to stop into the Southern Saint flagship store. The employees of Southern Saint are friendly and helpful, and they will take excellent care of you! Before you ask, they don’t offer “local discounts” per se, but the prices at the Christiansted store are lower than the prices anywhere else to encourage residents to continue to support the local shop. You can also find Southern Saint pieces locally in the boutique at The Buccaneer Beach & Golf Resort, and be sure to visit the Ginger Thomas and St. Croix Surf Company shops in the Pan Am Pavilion too. You can also shop Southern Saint online, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook to watch for new products to drop. We look forward to seeing what Southern Saint has in store for us!
Taking the Fashion World by Storm
In 2023, Southern Saint made a splash at the Miami Swim Week Shows! In fact, Island Origins Magazine named Southern Saint one of the ‘6 Brands We’re Excited to See Take Center Stage at Miami Swim Week This July‘. If you missed them, Southern Saint will also be showcasing their fashion at the Charleston Fashion show on October 13th and 14th.
-Jennie Ogden, Editor