Free of the Rat Race

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Housed in a former Starland District barber shop, The Rat on Bull offers garments and accessories designed for living out loud. Since opening its doors in summer 2018, the atelier and apothecary has been dedicated to dressing the modern gentleman juggling family, career, passion projects and a social life.

“Guys don’t want to spend more than ten minutes getting ready. Our clothes reflect that,” shop co-founder Stephen White says. “They’re easy to wear, they’re casual, they’re young and they’re forward-thinking in where they come from, how they’re made and how they’re styled.” 

Proprietors Tony Thomas, Courtney Broaden and Stephen White. Photo by Andrew Von Goellner

From cheeky patterned button-ups to luxury soaps, fashionable fellows will find high-quality goods from local and regional brands in The Rat’s welcoming space. Savannah’s Southern Gothic-inspired brand Shrimp Sauce has created custom denim jackets for the shop, and Savannah College of Art and Design Fashion alum Keller Corbitt designed an exclusive men’s capsule collection of unique pants and jackets. The boutique is also in step with global trends — note the covetable and multi-hued Res Ispa loafers, crafted from upcycled Turkish rugs.

“Our guy’s not afraid of color and isn’t afraid to push boundaries,” White shares. 

Grooming essentials from Savannah-based Peninsula Trading Company. Photo by Andrew Von Goellner

While goods may arrive from far and wide, The Rat on Bull’s core inspiration comes from its neighborhood. Co-owners Courtney Broaden, Tony Thomas, who made The Hostess City home after serving in the Army, and White, who got to know Savannah while working at The Florence, felt a unique vibrancy on Bull Street that no Broughton Street chain store captured.

“You can watch the street style of Bull Street run the gamut of someone dressed to the nines like a ’90s Ralph Lauren model to someone looking really slick in a leather pant,” Thomas observes. “I’m excited about the fashion of Starland because it’s pushing the envelope. It’s SCAD students, but it’s also the Army guys going into Bell Barber Co. wearing cool silhouettes.” 

Thomas in Res Ispa loafers. Photo by Andrew Von Goellner

In addition to helping Savannahians look their best, The Rat creates a community feel through gallery shows and apothecary workshops.

“I’m all about experiential retail,” says White. “I wanted a place where we could teach people something and have a platform for experiences they wouldn’t seek out on their own.”

White dons a Zesties romper. Photo by Andrew Von Goellner

In its first few months, The Rat has already grown, earning praise for its beautiful interior design, offering a curated women’s collection and selling out of in-demand products. But it’s not about the ring of the cash register: The Rat on Bull is White, Broaden and Thomas’s chance to give back to the town they love — in style.

“We want to be a place where people can learn something new and change their routines,” says White. “It’s not just about selling clothes. It goes far beyond that.”