Style Icon: Alex Sokol

Alex Sokol Surveying a scene of devastation in Pratt City. Billy Reid “Scout” shirt in red check; Hudson jeans, Ferragamo suede belt; Billy Reid “Buffalo D-Ring” loafer; iPad by Apple

Co-Founder and President, Alabama Forever

by Tracy Robinson

Photography by Chuck St. John

On April 27, 2011, like many Alabamians, Alex Sokol’s life was changed. Within 24 hours of the tornadoes that ripped through many parts of our state, Sokol was in his beloved Tuscaloosa, home of his alma mater and childhood memories of sporting events as part of a family with strong Crimson Tide ties. Within 48 hours, he had organized a supply drive with the help of The Pants Store in Crestline, where he was the manager. It didn’t take long for Sokol to realize he wanted to devote himself full-time to Alabama Forever, so he left his 6-year retail position. “Now, instead of listening to the needs of customers, I listen to the people of Alabama.” The non-profit’s mission is to reconnect and revive communities in Alabama, even after storm recovery is completed.

When friend Maxine Orange, an artist and graphic designer living on the Gulf Coast, read on Facebook about Sokol’s post-storm recovery efforts, she knew she wanted to help. Collaborating with jewelry designer Jennifer Boaz, the Alabama Forever necklace was created: a laser–cut plywood Alabama with cut-out heart on a sterling silver chain. “A lot of t-shirt ideas were floating around, but I wanted to do something unique and fashionable,” says Orange. The necklace is sold at local boutiques; 100 percent of the proceeds go to the charity.

The Alabama Forever necklace, designed by Maxine Orange Bern and Jen Boaz. Available at Soca, The Pants Store, Laura Kathryn & Bella Bridesmaid

Because Sokol’s new post often requires him to be active, comfort is key when it comes to wardrobe choices. “Like many Alabama boys, I thought I’d never get out of the frat–boy look. I may still only wear jeans and button-downs, but I like to think I’ve evolved.” Sokol describes his style as “laid back and casual with a contemporary Southern feel.” The looks offered by Billy Reid, GQ/CDFA’s 2010 Best New Menswear Designer of the Year who just so happens to hail from Florence, Alabama, fit his lifestyle perfectly. A college friend works for the designer and periodically sends boxes of goods to Sokol. “I keep what I want and send back the rest,” he says, “which makes shopping incredible easy. Plus, I feel good about supporting a business that shines positive light on our state.”

:Brotherhood of the Travelling Pants: these favorite Diesel jeans have been to, among other places, college, countless sporting events and concerts, and Europe three times. Thanks to patching and re-patching, they will continue to see the world “until they disentigrate.”

A recent project of Alabama Forever included a clothing purchase of a different kind: uniforms and pads for the Pleasant Grove youth football league, ensuring that this all-important, morale-boosting institution can continue this fall.

When not working to make Alabama a better place, Sokol enjoys concerts and sporting events. “I find interesting what certain musicians wear,” he says. “Jim James, the lead singer and guitarist of My Morning Jacket has a cool Southern rock style.”

The REAL DEAL: Coach Bryant’s actual houndstooth hat (“The Bear” is engraved in the well-worn inside), given to Sokol’s grandfather by the Legend himself. A cherished treasure, along with ticket stubs from the countless games Sokol has attended.

When asked if he has any style pet peeves, Sokol scratches his head playfully, “You mean other than Auburn shirts?” Thus, it is not surprising that to my inquiry as to a clothing item or accessory on his wish list, he answers with a wry grin, “A 14th national championship ring, of course.”

To learn more about Alabama Forever’s mission or to make a donation, visit

One Response to “Style Icon: Alex Sokol”

  1. Jarvan says:

    Excellent article Alabama forever even after a year !

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