Country Music’s Saddling Up Top Designers

The cowboy boot, cowboy hat, and cowboy inspired suits are trotting down runways and being worn by celebrities. The rise in popularity in western wear in the fashion community attributes to the rapid change in our music and entertainment tastes. Music streaming has gained much traction in the last few years and the genre gaining the most from this technological surge is country music. While country music has a connotation of being outdated and boring it’s streaming statistics say otherwise: country music streams have climbed 22.4% in the months of March 2020 to May 2020 alone.

Segmenting the Country Music Market

Country music has a very rustic old feel that can date back to Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and many more. However, the demographic of the older generation raised on the roots of country music are not the ones streaming it today on Spotify, Apple Music, etc. Today’s country listeners that are influencing the fashion industry are known as pop country listeners, or a more contemporary country audience. Therefore, the psychographic of the country music industry has changed due to the variety and access the genre has now. An example of this change in the psychographics of country music listeners is the explosion of Lil Nas X’s song “Old Town Road” – the longest #1 on Billboard music chart history. This song allowed for components of rap music to be delivered to the country music market. The new founded diversification within the genre of country music permits it to be more accessible to those not just from the south of the United States – pushing cowboy western wear as far as Czechoslovakian Vogue.

The Country Twang of Fashion

While scrolling through Instagram, one item that caught my attention was a Virgil Abloh Off White Cowboy Boot. The boot is a typical western styled cowboy boot with “For Walking” in bold lettering on the side – an homage to the Nancy Sinatra song. I was shocked to see that such a high profile designer (and the men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton) is creating a piece of fashion that high fashion designers may not have created without the segmentation of the country music market. Grammy winning artist Kacey Musgraves took to the CMA Awards’ carpet with a rhinestoned blouse – closely resembling the structure of a Wrangler button snap shirt – giving it a modern edge while bearing close to her country roots.

The resurgence of Western Wear in a couture way is a trend that I did not see coming. However, the renaissance of this “new country genre” attracts younger users who stream their music. This alters the connotation of what country music used to be – somewhat dull. This contemporary country audience attributes to the psychographic of country music starting to diversify than what it has been; giving designers the chance to pioneer this once uncharted territory in couture fashion. Never would I have though a Versace Medusa emblem would be on a hot pink cowboy hat nevertheless it has: on a red carpet, too.

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