Reviving the Romance of the West: Jenn Burback on Western Wear’s Resurgence in Colorado

Western wear, a fashion style that is rooted in the American West, has become iconic with its sense of practicality and tradition. Characterized by its use of leather, tassels, and tooling designs, the fashion was carefully crafted to fit what the cowboys of the 19th century needed out of their clothing.

However, this style is not afraid to evolve and modernize. This type of fashion has seen a resurgence in popularity, particularly in Colorado. From Luke Bryan concerts to everyday life, western wear has taken over the Denver fashion scene. 

Denver-based western wear designer, Jenn Burback, has helped spread this unique fashion around Colorado. From displaying her works at Denver Fashion Week to working on a farm — her western fashion clothes have easily taken over the Denver Metro Area and beyond.

READ: Jenn Burback Advocates for Mental Health in Her Western-European Inspired Brand

Burback’s brand emerged when she couldn’t find a bag similar to what she envisioned, so she made one for herself instead. This love for design quickly took over her life and she never looked back 

She became one of the most apparent Western wear designers in Denver, creating her unique works true to authentic Western with a European flair. Burback created a fashion label that revolves around giving back to the community. The brand was formed around trust, quality, creativity, and innovation. 

To Burback, western wear is important in the fashion world because of its adaptability. This type of style is present in workwear and evening wear alike. It obtained its roots as clothing that was made for practicality. Cowboys wore bright colors for visibility, fringe so that water could easily slip off, and long layers to protect themselves from the sun. 

Through many years, this type of clothing has never been out of style for that exact reason, but it was not immune to evolution for the sake of looks. As Western wear appeared more in the media, it was picked up by celebrities and featured in countless shows and movies like Yellowstone, 1883, Zorro and more — helping this type of fashion gain popularity quickly.

“I fully believe part of this is related to a term said for many years, romance of the west, Burback said. “People envision how the west was, with cowboys riding horseback under their Stetson in their pearl snap shirts and jeans.”

In addition to its origins, western fashion visually looks incredibly different from other clothing items we typically wear. It has original details different from what’s trending.

“One of my all time favorite and interesting parts about Western is all of the fringe that gets used,” Burback said. The use of fringe is incredibly apparent across her two latest collections, from the back of a jacket to the seams of pants. 

The designer also adores working with leather across a variety of items. Burback admires just how adaptable the material is. It can be used to create jackets, pants, saddles, tack, and even more. 

“When talking about leather there is a process called tooling, most people would recognize this as being the elaborate and beautiful designs that are carved into the leather of a saddle,” Burback said. “This process is being utilized on more and more projects from the traditional saddles and belts to jackets and handbags.”

Tooling is a defining feature across Western wear and is a large part of what makes the style just as intriguing as it is. 

Burback said Western wear is cherished so much in Colorado because of our state’s history. Denver originates as a cow city,or a city that is known for its agricultural roots. The city had a large presence of cattle alongside the railroads and this industry was a large part of why Colorado grew so much. 

Although Denver no longer actively celebrates these roots, it hasn’t left them entirely behind either.

“Drive in any direction from Downtown Denver and this can be seen with a few ranches and farms nestled into the modern day neighborhoods,” Burback said. “I think the benefits of Colorado endorsing the western lifestyle and culture is keeping that history alive and well — being able to be proud of the foundations that brought people to this state.”

Colorado is also home to three well-known western wear brands: Miller International, Karman Inc, and Rockmount ranch wear. These companies originated quite some time ago, but due to Denver’s love of western wear, they won’t be moving any time soon. 

Many people are attracted to these types of styles because of how well the pieces age. Items are often made durable, but also timeless. The design of cowboy boots has not dramatically changed that much in over 100 years, in comparison to the average blouse. Western wear is incredibly sustainable and is designed to be worn until the piece is destroyed.

This fashion is unique in that it doesn’t closely follow trends and products have a long life. Items do range in terms of quality, but styles tend to be similar across price points. Many designers, including Burback, design for a wide audience so that every Western wear appreciator can find something they will love forever.

“I look to create pieces that could be worn by those who are simply attending the rodeo for the first time and want to embody the culture and lifestyle, to those who grew up in the Western way of life,” she said. 

People can’t turn away from the intricate designs and timeless quality — it’s why Western wear is here to stay in Colorado. The designs are incredibly adaptable and ready to take on any occasion and weather.

As Colorado’s history and agricultural roots continue to influence what fashions are trending today, Jenn Burback’s designs celebrate the state’s legacyensuring that the romance of the West remains alive in every piece she crafts.

All photos by Jackson Davis

Photoshoot location: Glenmoor Farms

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