The Denver Post - Colorado Originals: Rockmount’s Snap Western Shirt

August 22, 2004


Rockmount’s Snap Western shirt


Rockmount Ranch Wear is credited with designing the snap Western shirt. But there’s more to the shirt and the story than snaps.

Founder Jack A. Weil wanted to “create a fashion that was distinct from shirts of the day,” said his grandson, Steve. “Cowboys wanted their own fashion identity, something distinct from what city slickers wore.”  That meant stylized yokes, a tailored cut, flap pockets - and snaps.

The shirts were first sold in feed stores and boot stores. Jack A., still Rockmount’s chief executive at 103, was the visionary. Jack Jr. sold the East Coast on Western fashion in the 1950s. And two decades later, Steve took business overseas to Europe and Asia. But Rockmount, still based in a Wazee Street warehouse, earned celebrity status long before all that.

In 1961, Clark Gable wore the company’s shirts in “The Misfits.” Then came Elvis, Bob Dylan, Ronald Reagan, Nicolas Cage and others.  The Weils won’t put numbers to that success, except to say Rockmount has sold millions of snap-style shirts.

-- Kelly Pate Dwyer


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