APHA
Discover—Unique Aspects of the Western World

Sensational Serape

Fall in love with serape now and forever.

By Raquel Lynn

You quickly scan through your closet, searching for the perfect outfit for tonight’s rodeo. It has to be flawless; you want to be noticed. A conversation starts in your head, “A closet full of clothing, but nothing to wear.” Suddenly, your eyes land on your favorite serape jacket: a vivacious and colorful piece that’s sure to turn heads. A bold print approved by cowgirls from every generation, serape is a staple in any fashion-forward Western closet.

The Serape Craze

There might have been a span of time when serape wasn’t in, but that time isn’t now. Today, the textile—easily recognizable for its vibrant stripes and shapes that fade in soft gradient from one bold color to the next—can be found on apparel, accessories, home acoutriments and event tack. Sylvia Spence, president of Silverado Apparel + Home, says her company’s sales have nearly doubled since the serape craze exploded over the past few years.

Sylvia credits Western influencers for having a hand in spreading the popularity of serape.

“We are really in touch with the top bloggers and provide them with different articles of clothing to photograph and write about,” she said. Just type the words “serape” into the search bar on Instagram and you’re guaranteed to see cowgirls wearing beautiful serape designs by Silverado. Additionally, a strong sales team with an unwavering passion for the brand has helped Silverado Apparel grow. Sylvia has been immersed the textile and fashion worlds for 37 years, starting from humble beginnings weaving her own fabric and making clothes. “I’m part of the Ortega Weavers out of Chimayo, New Mexico; it’s my family heritage,” Sylvia said. “They continue to this day to weave fabric for clothing and home décor.” Sylvia stays ahead of the pack when it comes to releasing new designs and styles. Silverado Apparel is coming out with 12 new serape patterns this year in men’s jackets and ties and ponchos for girls.

For the past seven years, designer Chris West of Chris West Originals has been making bags out of vintage serape accented with leather and Mexican coins. “Three-quarters of my bags and accessories go to Texas, and the rest are scattered throughout the Southwest. I’ve sold items all over the world—Singapore, Australia, Canada, Ireland, England and Germany,” Chris said. “The Western/Southwest look appeals to a very broad spectrum of people who are fascinated by the culture.” Thanks to social media, Chris has also noticed a gain in business; he has a hard time keeping products in stock and has numerous repeat customers.

“We used to do 20 shows a year, but now I do only three because it all sells on Instagram,” Chris said.

This is an excerpt from the full article—get the whole story in the Fall 2018 Chrome magazine, which is sent to all current APHA members. Not a member? Join or renew at apha.com/join.

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