Saddle up guys and dolls we are heading into the wild wild west.
In episode 18 we are focusing on vintage western wear because we have found someone who is a keen collector.
By day Chris Gibson is a researcher at the University of Wollongong and by every other moment he is a collector and lover of vintage western wear.
It started with necessity a little bit.
We’ve all been there. Newly out of home, studying at college or university and with not much money to spare. So when you need more clothes or furniture where do you go?
A thrift store! But op shopping in the 1980’s was a little different to today. Gone where the hipsters and folks like us looking for that vintage bargain, buying it up and re-selling it on Etsy if we don’t wear it ourselves.
Chris says the thrift stores were full of amazing vintage items! And this is where he found his first vintage shirt.
And then the rest they say is history!
From there Chris started scouring vintage, thrift and second hand stores for vintage western wear.
But it didn’t stop there.
His academic mind started turning and eventually Chris was able to combine his day job with his passion.
He has written a number of academic papers on the history of vintage western wear. Taking a look at the economic, social and historical relevance of this fashion style from the past.
And it has taken him around the world to meet and speak to some incredible people!
From boot making warehouses in El Paso that are still using leathers from the 1940’s and 1950’s.
That have been owned throughout generations of one family and are still making boots that are meant to last for decades
To western wear stores across American in Texas, Colorado and everywhere in between.
Chris even managed to sit down with the CEO from Rockmount Ranch Wear who still use patterns and styles that were developed in the 1940’s.
Of course travelling and learning more about the history of this era in America and Mexico only inspired Chris’ love of the boots and shirts more.
He know has over 100 vintage western shirts in his wardrobe and in storage. And some pretty impressive pairs of boots.
But he also lives by a rule that he collects by.
He has to be able to wear it!
So nearly every day his students get a little bit of western in their university lectures. And even when he has to wear a suit Chris tries to wear a more subtle western shirt underneath or it wouldn’t feel right.
Of course some rules are meant to be broken!
And some shirts are too good to give up or give to someone who might fit them.
So Chris did admit to having a few pieces that don’t really see the light of day.
It was so interesting to learn more about the industry and the history of vintage western wear.
You can do that to in the latest episode of the podcast.
Thanks for listening!