Western & English Today


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

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the company made a push into youth rodeo and bar- rel racing, and today, Charlie 1 Horse has become the choice of barrel racers. T e process to produce a Charlie 1 Horse is much dif erent than making Resistols and Stetsons, however. Creating one of these hats, Riggs says, requires a lot of handwork. "It's not a factory hat," Riggs says. "Once the hat has been shaped, it goes to its own special corner of the fac- tory, where one person hand-cuts leathers and makes the various pieces that go into the hat. It's not an exag- geration that each hat is unique. It's the only way to make the hats." "We look at where styles are headed in fashion inside and outside the industry," Riggs says. "We decide on themes for a hat and go from there. One hat may have a rock 'n' roll feel to it, or another might have a patriotic theme. We distill that down into the hat and make it f t within a Western concept. "It's time-consuming, but all the ef ort is worth it. It's gratifying to see people posting images in social media and people asking where they can f nd a hat like that." Since this is a fashion line, keeping up with changes is required. "Fashion changes fast in women's Western," Riggs says. "Much faster than men's. We always have our ears to the ground to see where fashion is headed. It's always a race to be there f rst. Our customers want to stand out but still stay true to that Western aesthetic. We will continue our of ering with the more casual fedoras and f oppy hats, because, like shoes, a girl can never have too many hats." T e straw line includes core Western and crushables – "lightweight and casual for any outdoor fun," Riggs says – while the felt line is adding bright colors, interest- ing color combinations. "Some styles are headed a little bit more core," Riggs says, "but mixed with bold colors." And the biggest surprise? "Fedoras," Riggs says. "We didn't think anyone would buy them at the level they did. T ey are perfect for our customers who aren't quite comfortable in a four-inch brim cowboy hat." Bolin says Hatco's brands plan to make a more aggressive push in stores and out, but the goal remains the same: to make hats in America and maintain that old-school reputation for quality and durability. "Whether it's a hat or an apparel piece, we want ours to be the best out there," Bolin says. "We think that the product will speak for itself. A wearer of many hats, Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Johnny D. Boggs is also a Spur- and Wrangler-winning Western novelist. His next novel is Top Soldier, due out in June. A hat being singed (top); a hatÕs brim being sanded (center); and hat bodies drying after being steam-blocked (left).

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