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Jack Weil, inventor of Cowboy clothes, Dies but Legacy Lives On


[Photo from Reuters]

Jack A. Weil, the inventor of Western clothing, died at age 107 a couple weeks.ago. This man had a serious influence on the fashion world and hardly anyone knows it. He popularized the Western shirt with the snap fasteners, instead of regular buttons. As it turns out, the snap fasteners were purely for functional purposes (fresh). Today’s vintage stores are literally flooded with those shirts. Hell, hipster clubs are flooded with those shirts and that’s not by accident either. Jack Weil was responsible for marketing to this demographic. With a 107 years under his belt, Weil had met some very interesting celebrities (I’m talking true old school), developed some effective business and life sensibilities, and made his impact on the fashion world through cowboy culture in a way that will survive beyond him for a very long time.

Mr Weil reckoned that a cowboy on a horse, if wearing a shirt with buttons, was liable to get snagged on sagebrush or cactus or, worse than that, get a steerhorn straight through his fancy buttonhole. He was pretty certain, too, that a cowboy losing a button would feel disinclined to sew it on again. The answer to all those difficulties was to make shirts with snap-fasteners. And for 62 years, in a red-brick warehouse in the LoDo district of Denver, Mr Weil did exactly that.

Until he created his shirts, there was no distinctively western look in American couture. There were cowboys; but they wore dusty working clothes, accessorised with sweaty bandannas and clanking spurs, that no one much cared to copy. Indeed, Mr Weil early on in his career made work-gear for cowboys, and learnt an important fact: they had no money. If he wanted to make any money himself, he would have to appeal not to the catwalk instincts of cattlemen, which were hard to spot, but to wannabe easterner cowboys who lived in, say, New York. Fortunately, there were plenty of them.

He thought that “any young man worth his salt” ought to be a Democrat; but that once he had a bit of money, the only way to keep hold of it was to turn Republican.

[Full article at]

That’s real talk.

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