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Jun 26, 2024

Sweet Grass Meets Sweet Life

Amy Bartlett

Photography By

Courtesy of Spartina 449
Spartina 449 Introduces its Callawassie Collection

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Around these islands there are names we know as well as the tides. Names, families, phrases, brands – familiar words that play like lyrics to our Lowcountry theme song and ring a sensory bell of Southern charm. These are words we recognize as chapter headers in the stories of people, place, and peaceful pace. 

Spartina 449 is a little bit of all the above, telling the whole story in the story behind its name.

Jana Crochet Dress in Coconut Milk 

Daufuskie-originated Spartina 449 – the women’s brand that “embodies the true spirit of island living” – was created on an island for an island lifestyle. If ocean breezes could be your personal stylist, if the Lowcountry islands had a tartan, it would all be Spartina. 

Their brand story plays out in collections like a charm bracelet of favorite sights, sounds, destinations, and towns, named for things that are our icons – Lighthouse, Calm Waters, Marsh Hens – and spots on our geographical treasure map, like Atlanta, Blue Ridge, Charleston, Historic Savannah, and of course, Hilton Head Island.

Now they’ve added a new leaf of a neighboring locale with the creation of the Callawassie line of clothing and accessories named for the sea island situated just 10 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, at the confluence of Callawassie Creek and the Little Chechessee, Okatie, and Colleton rivers.

Spartina 449 Island Fringe Dress Sugar Damask Cream 

The Spartina brand, named for the area’s spartina grass, was built on imagining a regionally reflective look where “linen and leather married with colorful patterns and timeless island stories.” Continuing in that refined spirit of reflection, the tints, tones, and textiles of Spartina’s Callawassie line pay a bright and lively homage to the beauty that lies just beyond its trademark causeway.

The connection between Callawassie and Spartina is more than just a random pairing of two local legends. There’s a longstanding relational history with the brand’s founder and CEO Kay Stanley to both the island community and residents. After Stanley visited the island years back as a guest speaker for the Callawassie Island Women’s Club, she connected with member Claire Parkinson, who inquired about getting a few fellow islanders involved with events like Spartina’s well-known Friends and Family and Warehouse sales. That partnership of participation between local Spartina lovers serving a locally owned business grew from a handful the first year to a thriving “Callawassie Crew” in subsequent years, and a symbiosis was established. 

It was through this spirit of connection that the seed was planted for Spartina to design six collections named after Callawassie. In creating the inspiration pieces for the line, Spartina honored Callawassie’s continuous “focus on connecting its community to its natural surroundings.” 

Callawassie is an island whose residents have been committed to conservation and stewardship both historically and as a key component in the contemporary brand behind the exclusive resort community built on “warmth, balance, and connection.” On Callawassie, there isn’t a seat in the house that doesn’t see what on the island came first – the wildlife, the waterways, the wonder of it all. 

That’s where Spartina creators turned for the look of their new line, describing the new textiles thus: “Our Callawassie collection features warm floral patterns and signature Lowcountry icons, inspired by the flora and fauna of the island.”

The connection between Callawassie and Spartina is more than just a random pairing of two local legends. There’s a longstanding relational history with the brand’s founder and CEO Kay Stanley to both the island community and residents. 

Earlier this spring, the line was featured at a fundraising fashion show on its namesake Callawassie Island, with standing room only and a great deal of excitement by those who had played an ongoing role in the budding relationship. Parkinson has continued to celebrate the line with on-island publicity: “In their Spring-Summer catalogue are all the Callawassie collections, which are all available at the [Callawassie] pro shop. When you first open the catalog, you immediately get a description of Callawassie and where it’s located. I recommend reading the descriptions behind the different names: Calm Waters, Hamilton, Callawassie, River Club, Marsh Hens, and Sugar Mill. The history of the island is so well depicted, and the people of the island are mentioned.” 

That description reflects the personal intentionality Stanley infuses throughout her brand. 

Right: Sunita Linen Dress Callawassie Coral Embroidery  Left: Liza BiStretch Skort Callawassie Jacobean, Keira Zip Tank in Peony Pink 

“I was told by Kay when I emailed her about having a fashion show here after hearing about the line, that she wanted to honor the women of this island who have done so much to promote her business,” Parkinson said. “Plus, the ticket sales revenue for the warehouse sale is distributed to various charities. A few years ago, Spartina even gave the Friends of Callawassie Island a sizable donation. I was impressed and pleased when we received that, but feel especially honored as a resident here that she developed this whole line which is the largest, most comprehensive line they’ve developed so far.”

The fashion show itself was a raging success, with lunch provided by the community’s celebrated Executive Chef RJ Dye and island representatives working closely with Christy Sheets from Spartina. Whereas that was a one-day event, the here-to-stay release of the Callawassie Collection is something to celebrate by the brand’s broad audience, year-round with any of the 100-plus items that bear the island’s name. Shoppers will find dresses in hibiscus stripe, seafoam flowers, palmetto patterns from neutrals to succulent blossom reds, pink pineapples and khaki cane prints – and you can’t get much more Carolina isles than the straw basket handbag selections, in every size and style from crossbody and drawstring to wristlet and tote. 

When the sweet swaying splendor of Spartina meets the calm waters of Callawassie, what grows from that pairing is a line of perfect peace you can wear on your sleeve. With a brand as innovative as the one created on the “bridgeless island” in cottage No. 449, there’s always a new look, a new line, a new love, and it usually comes with a matching bag. 

View the new or tour them all at to shop the “relaxed-luxe” look for yourself and live lavishly in the lush look of the Lowcountry.   

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