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November 26, 2023 3 min read

For a collection celebrating everything it means to be a cowgirl, we had to start at the beginning, with all the remarkable women who came before us to push the boundaries and pave the way. We had to start in the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

After all, it’s an institution for gals like us and of gals like us; it includes a number of our idols and, we’re fortunate to say, even a few of our friends! The museum, located in Fort Worth, Texas, is home to a captivating collection of art and exhibitions, homages to trailblazers and education on the legends of the lifestyle, and – humble brag – DDR was honored with the Mary Jane Colter Award in 2015 and we’re flattered to be featured in the museum’s “Dare to Wear” exhibit, which celebrates the unforgettable outfits and boundary-pushing designers who shaped the sartorial progression of classic cowgirls and rodeo queens.

In concepting Cowgirls, we spent some time meandering, almost meditatively, absorbing the imagery and inspiration, imagining a day in the life of some of these precocious pioneers. Antique woolie chaps sparked inspiration for our fuzzy, furry boot covers, our side-slit skirts were inspired by sidesaddle show costumes, and the collection’s signature midnight prints came to fruition from a creative collage of actual photos.

“I love those early, early cowgirls,” Cheryl said. “I’m intrigued by the whole wild, untamed spirit, and those gals doing things – and doing them really well – before anyone believed they could. Or gave them permission to. Bonnie McCarroll, for one – what a great example of that invincible, unstoppable cowgirl spirit. She was already breaking buckin’ broncs when she was something like 8 or 10 years old, and then she was a champion at Cheyenne Frontier Days; I could talk about her for hours. That’s who’s on the back of our signature biker for the Cowgirls collection, an actual photograph the Cowgirl Hall of Fame let us use.”

The jacket she’s talking about is that stunning black and brown biker beauty that boasts a black-and-white image of Bonnie on a bucking bronc on the back. It’s a gorgeous color combo with other intricate details that nod to the classic cowgirl, like stars, studding, and boot-style stitching. (And don’t forget Audrey’s favorite part, the woven lace stitching inside the stars!)

“And Prairie Rose Henderson,” Cheryl added. “I think she wins ‘Best Dressed Cowgirl’ of all time, ever!”

One of the other epic inspo pieces that deserves a solid mention is those antique woolie chaps that Cheryl’s been kind of collecting the last handful of years (you may remember the pair from Gayle that were meant to be a prop but became our most inquired-about piece in the whole catalog!). Of course, that look is what we reimagined into the more modern boot covers that are ALL the rage right now, but those woolies also inspired a more outside-the-box iteration.

“We took that look, that full-volume wild wool look, and turned it on its head a little,” Cheryl explained. “We used kinked Mongolian lamb fur that has that same unruly texture and worked it into a shoulder/sleeve, and let me just tell you – it is FABULOUS.”

You might recognize that Wild & Woolie Jacket from none other than lady legend (and new friend of the DDR family) Lainey Wilson! What you might not know, though, is that those show-stoppin’ sleeves are actually removable, if you’d rather rock it as a vest!

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