The History of the Cowboy Boot State Is More Complicated Than You Think

When the Nepalese American fashion designer Prabal Gurung wanted to make a statement about American identity and inclusiveness at his New York Fashion Week show in September, he partnered with Dallas-based bootmaker Miron Crosby to create a line of cowboy boots in such materials as mirrored rose-gold leather and paraded them down the runway on an ethnically diverse cast of models.

This came about three weeks after “Old Town Road,” by the cowboy boot–wearing hip-hop artist Lil Nas X, finished its record-setting nineteen weeks atop the Billboard singles chart and became the unofficial anthem of the so-called yeehaw agenda, a pop culture movement that highlights the history and aesthetics of the black cowboy.

 

Models walk the runway during the launch celebration of the Miron Crosby boot line designed in partnership with Prabal Gurung.
Cooper Neill/Miron Crosby x Prabal Gurung via Getty

Cowboy boots are, as they say, having a moment. There are boot start-ups, like the Austin-based brand Tecovas, whose Dallas-raised founder, Paul Hedrick, moved back to Texas from the Northeast to apply one of the hottest business models of the past decade, direct-to-consumer e-commerce, to the staid old boot trade.

A small procession of Tecovas imitators has now, inevitably, popped up in its wake. Tecovas itself has begun opening brick-and-mortar stores around the state. For established boot purveyors, times are also good: Cavender’s, the biggest boot seller in Texas, plans to open three to six stores per year for the foreseeable future. Overall, the Western boot market is expected to grow a whopping 50 percent by 2025, to nearly $2 billion in annual U.S. sales.

A Presidio County cowboy, circa 1900.
Marfa Public Library/University of North Texas Libraries/The Portal to Texas History

 

In Texas, of course, we need no reminder of the powerful appeal of the cowboy boot. It is as much a part of our heritage as horses, cattle, and, well, cowboys and cowgirls.

(Read the full article Here)

 

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