Western & English Today

MAR 2015

W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.

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EARLY SPRING 2015 Western & English Today 13 LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Which explains why fashy boots don't sell well at Pearl Snaps, a retail store in Angleton, Texas, near Houston. "Our market is kind of boring," says Hunter Henry, who opened the store with daughter Adrienne Doner three years ago. "Tis is a real conservative community. When they have a little extra money to spend, they'll buy some caiman or some ostrich, but they're not doing anything crazy." Women, Henry says, are more fashion-forward but want more "back to the basics." "Don't get me wrong," Henry says. "We sell a ton of Corral, but they're not crazy fashy, completely blinged out. But if you go 30 miles, the whole market changes." Or go 1,900 miles northwest, where Atomic 79 in Dillon, Montana, sells Hondo, Lucchese, Olathe, Stallion brands, among others, as well as Nick's Custom Boots and Schwarz Custom Boots. "Even in Montana, it's hard to fnd a boot store with good boots anymore," says John Cieslowski, who partners with custom bootmakers Dan and Julia Schwarz. "A lot of people have gone the route of inexpensive plastic boots, ones that are mass produced, without a lot of attention to the ability of repairs or traditional bootmaking." While some companies report a downward trend in women's fashion, others – like Bed|Stü, Double H's Sonora label, Durango, Gypsy Soule, ARIAT launched two new men's lines, Traditions and Benchmark. "Too much women's boots around," Old Gringo founder Yan Ferry said. "It's a good time to get into the men's line." Which brings us to the question: Is women's fashion, which has been a driving factor in the Western boot industry's upward trend for several years, slowing down? "It's changing," Dan Post designer Dan Ponder says. "It's not cooling down. You have to stay fashionable, so we're coming out with more sophisticated looks, diferent leathers, diferent treatments of leathers." Tat hasn't stopped Justin Boots from expanding its ladies fashion line beyond typical cowboy boots, including the launch of Valewood, a new English-crossover line. Says Mark Claver, national sales manager for Ferrini USA: "A lot more women are wearing tights with a lot of color as opposed to jeans, and they're going back to basics with that rather than a lot of clashing colors. But there are still girls wearing jeans that still like to wear a little pop." Alison Borris, marketing and public relations manager for Ariat, agrees. "Te classic American is coming back that's a little quieter, a little more classic looking, not so loud, less glitter. But in the high school young audience, I think you'll always see bright colors and stitch patterns. I think they love to stand out, be diferent, and have something to make them be more noticed. "It depends on the area of country you live in. Tat plays a big role in what styles are popular." LUCCHESE ANDERSON BEAN OLATHE a C b c h a DOUBLE H

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