In the earliest 19th century, the west was wild and the origins of western wear was already being worn. Inspired by a mix of cultures and climates, mainly the Vaqueros and Native Americans, the origins of cowboy clothing can be found. It wouldn’t be until the early 1920s and 30s, when Polish immigrants Rodeo Ben, Nathan Turk and Ukrainian Nudie Cohen melded East with West and created the blossoming tailoring that became popular with dude ranches and the emerging country star.

 By the 60s, the majority of country stars were bedazzled with exquisitely tailored suits in outrageously bright colors made of fine fabrics that were adorned with studs, rhinestones and impeccable embroidery, and so, Western style entered the mainstream where it remains to this day…

Tom Robbins, a self described “hillbilly” author wrote the feel good feminist novel “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” in 1976, an unconventional novel centered around an unconventional cowgirl - one who has extra large thumbs  -  and one who eventually goes on to become America’s greatest hitch-hiker. Along her adventure, she ends up at a dudette ranch and from here, the characters become even more outrageous and unconformist with each turn of the page.
The book was adapted into a movie in 1993, directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Uma Thurman as the brave, bold and beautiful cowgirl with big thumbs but bigger dreams.
1967 was a year like any other, but the times they were a changin' and the beatniks were tuning in and turning on in the coffee houses from Haight Ashbury to Hyde Park but it was the uniform of the Bay Area counterculture that set them apart from the rest.

Local designers created trippy, far out and groovy looks using a huge range of creative techniques and various materials that caught the eye of all those that walked by the wearer. Innovators of the era included Burray Bond Olson, an artist who turned leathers into wearable art.
Burray, a graduate from the San Francisco Art Academy and Art Institute, and a local to the Haight Ashbury scene, shunned commercial art in favor of his Native American-inspired leatherwork. He had been fascinated with Native American culture since he was ten years old, when two Sioux women who worked for his grandmother taught them Sioux beaded embroidery techniques. As he grew older, he would later visit reservations and trading posts to learn additional sewing techniques and absorb Native American Culture.

In the early 1970s, he moved to Los Angeles where he opened a small shop on Sunset Blvd, and from here he made custom work for many Hollywood notables and rock stars. It was also here that he met leather artisan Arturo Arocha and a lifelong creative partnership began. Together, they set up a cottage factory in Pitiquito and their hand painted and fringe-decorated jackets were sold in over 200 locations across the United States.

Arturo was the high end of Burray Olson and was worn by not only the highly fashionable, but by countless country and western groups, including George Jones and Neil Young, as well as rock stars like Billy Idol. Now, his suits and hand painted jackets are museum pieces and sought-after collector items much like Nudie and Rodeo Ben before him.

All the cowgirls got the blues when Burray Bond Olson left his saddle on April 1st, 2024 at the age of 79. But, his designs live on, celebrating the creative joy he placed into every garment. When reflecting back on his life’s work, Burray said the statement individuals who wore his garments gave the world was, "Look at me, I’m proud to be the special person I am."

ARTURO Longline Beaded Leather Fringe Jacket
1920s Beaded Shift Dress

ARTURO Longline Beaded Leather Fringe Jacket
DALLAS SPORTSWEAR Paisley Velvet Pant Set
CHAR Floral Painted Denim & Suede Jacket

LASSO Western Jacket & Pant Suit
HERMES Polo Print Pussybow Blouse

CHAR Chinoiserie Suede Jacket
FRANKIE B Silver Leather Pants

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