Thanks to celebrities like Beyoncé and Dua Lipa who’ve propelled the theme, Western trends are taking a stronghold in the mainstream.
In this report, we highlight the current state of the market, key pieces to build out Western merchandising stories and how to take the trend into 2022.
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Celebrities are driving the hype
The latest Ivy Park x adidas collaboration included a rodeo-themed campaign video featuring denim corsets and matching chaps to purple and brown cow print. According to Lyst, less than 48 hours after the promo video was released, searches for “cow print” and “rodeo” jumped collectively 64%, while page views for cowboy hats increased 26%. The icon wore pieces from this Western edit on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar’s September 2021 issue, bringing the Wild West theme to the fore.
Image via Instagram – Beyoncé
The host of the viral show Cooking With Paris posted a picture in leather and fringe as she went grocery shopping. A black wide-brimmed hat and rhinestone high-heeled booties completed the look.
On a recent flight to New York, the singer paired a fire-engine-red suit with white cowboy boots. Cyrus also wore this type of shoe while promoting her latest clothing drop via Instagram.
Dua Lipa’s ‘Love Again’ video starts with a cowboy hat floating and landing on the singer’s head while she’s riding a mechanical bull. Her outfits include a cow-printed bikini top and longline coat, a bolo tie and cowboy boots, while scenes feature quintessential Western-themed activities like line dancing, bull riding and lassoing.
T-Pain and Kehlani’s video for ‘I Like Dat’ is set in a town in the Wild West. Kehlani’s costumes include a denim corset dress, a front lace-up corset top and white pants with side fringe. Women in the saloon scenes don Western shirts, long gloves and corset dresses with full skirts.
Both mass and luxury brands are stocking the trend
French luxury brand Isabel Marant is the top-stocked retailer of footwear and accessories described as “Western”. Additionally, this brand made it into the top eight most stocked for Western-characterized apparel. Saint Laurent is another luxury name that has launched rodeo-inspired jackets and shirts, while mass market e-tailer boohoo and trend-driven Nasty Gal landed the first and third most stocked apparel items. Pure-play denim labels G-Star, Levi’s and Wrangler Jeans are also retailing a plethora of styles.
Fabrication is a focal point for product names
Due to denim brands housing a significant amount of apparel with “Western” in the description, “denim” was found in 6% of Western-labeled products. “Suede” was used to describe dresses, skirts, outerwear, and footwear, making up the same percentage as “denim”. “Leather” was the most common fabric used in product names, ranging across apparel, footwear and accessories, while “belt” emerged as the fifth most popular word, with the accessory often designed with a large sterling silver buckle.
How to tell the story
For the minimalist customer
Focus on fabrics and details to target shoppers who want to buy into the trend but in a more diluted way. Design into and promote the subtle interpretation of the theme like pearl snaps on Western shirts, fringing, suede, faux leather, dark denim washes and cozy fabrics.
Images via Gap, Zara, Banana Republic, Madewell
For the maximalist customer
Target consumers who aren’t afraid to be bold with their fashion choices with more literal designs like cow prints and rodeo graphics. Merchandise cowboy boots and hats into this assortment – offer bold colors such as reds alongside core black and white styles.
Images via Nasty Gal, Mango, Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal
Opportunities for 2022
With animal prints dominating swimwear 2021 arrivals across US and UK retailers, consider updating assortments with cow designs for next year.
In anticipation of festival season next year, build out an assortment of Western-inspired looks from wide-brimmed hats and graphic tees to cow-printed pants and cowboy boots.
For the more sophisticated horse girl version of this theme, merchandise dresses and blazers along with small purses and exaggerated hats fit for a day at the races.
Images via Nasty Gal; Minga London Email UK – Jul 21, 2021; Instagram – Official Ascot & Royal Ascot
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