Autumn has arrived, and our AW21 Collection second drop is officially live. This week's style post takes us back to the wild, wild west and delves into the influence of American country-western on fashion and our latest collection pieces. Western shirts have become some what of a signature style for us at PHIX, featuring exotic materials and bold prints to create unique, fresh takes on the traditional design. This season, velvet takes centre stage, with the release of our Velvet Western Shirt in electric blue, cherry red and emerald green, all complete with satin contrast piping.
Now, for some history. The western shirt became a staple of rock musicians’ style in the 1950s, with the likes of legendary Johnny Cash, and the King of rock ‘n’ roll himself, Elvis Presley, heavily influenced by country music and cowboy style. At a press conference in Houston, 1970, Elvis described his style as: “a mixture of things. It’s a little rock, a little country western”. This popularised western influenced pieces amongst the youth and spawned subcultural styles like ‘Rockabilly'.
‘Rockabilly’ blended country music with rhythm and blues, creating "classic" rock ‘n’ roll, and this western influence on rock musician’s work and fashion continued throughout the 60s and 70s, meshed with the psychedelic, bohemian style of Woodstock. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac all worked classic western shirts, suede, fringe and wide-brim hats into their onstage and offstage looks.
One of our key style icons at PHIX - Keith Richards of the Stones - also loved styling himself in a cowboy boot, snakeskin, and fringe. He lived out his own personal cowboy fantasy at the end of the Stones’ second US tour of 1965, “donning 10-gallon hats and chaps and riding into the Arizona desert” with rock photographer Gered Mankowitz. We released our first collection of boots this year too, complete with some western inspired styles like the Diablo boot with snakeskin embossed toe caps.
Even Bowie, and punk band The Clash’s, looks were influenced by country fashion. The western influence lasted through the 1980s, with artists like Prince donning western inspired looks, and into the 21st Century, revived by the nouveau-western looks of Alex Turner in the 2010s and now Lil Nas X, amongst others, in the 2020s.
We’ve taken this classic Western influence and created something brand new and bold, in the form of our Piped Velvet Biker Jacket, which blends the biker silhouette with a seventies cut lapel and western yoke piping. Also available in blue.
Click to shop all our western style pieces and the rest of the collection online now.