From the December 2018 Issue
Photos by Elizabeth Hay Photography
Gabi Kilpatrick hails from the Central Coast of California. A relatively new face in the western fashion industry, Gabi combines her passion for the industry with her own personal twist.
“I love horses and the western lifestyle so there’s a little of that mixed in with some high end modern, as well as vintage inspired pieces, and somehow that all comes together and makes my own personal style,” she said. “I tend to lean towards darker colors and of course I have to have a hat. Hats are the cherry on top of a great outfit in my book.”
Yearly trips to the National Finals Rodeo and Cowboy Christmas sparked Gabi’s initial interest.
“Attending the NFR became a family tradition for the last three years but it wasn’t until this last time I went that I truly developed an interest for the fashion side of things,” she said. “I was intrigued by the ladies walking around [in] the Thomas & Mack lobby with their beautiful, classy, and unique outfits.”
She developed a newfound love for western fashion, as well as western headwear, after making her first cowboy hat purchase from Cowboy Christmas.
“It went downhill from there,” she said. “Or uphill if you’re not my bank account.”
In her “downhill” climb, Gabi met several people who have encouraged and supported her since the start.
“I have to give a lot of my credit to my photographer and now close friend Beth. I met Elizabeth Hay this past summer when we found each other, surprisingly enough, on Instagram,” she said. “The thought of creating a western fashion blog was nothing more than a thought in my head. It wasn’t until Elizabeth and I had our first photo shoot out at the Santa Ynez Mission when I was introduced to a few brands that I developed a new found love for.”
“Beth, my photographer, Herring Hats, and a handful of other brands and shops are people that I now work very closely with on a weekly basis that had cheered me on from day one and instilled that confidence in me that is so vital to have when you’re first starting in the industry.”
Gabi relishes in the modesty of the industry and support of others. She has also been encouraged by other western fashion influencers including Whitney Benton and Shaley Ham.
“I love the modesty of it, the fact that you can feel beautiful whilst not showing too much or putting it all out there for everyone to see,” she said. “I [also] love the brands that make up the industry. I have received an overwhelming amount of support from people I’ve never even met face-to-face, even though I’m barely starting out and don’t have a huge following. The least I can do is reciprocate what they do for me, and some, I try to give my all for them as well in hopes I can get their name out there.”
This year, Gabi will be mixing business with pleasure as she travels to the NFR to promote her partner brands and bring her unique style to the finals.
“I will be at the Sands Expo during the day for some of it. I have a few photo shoots lined up with some great ladies that I’ll be focusing on representing Herring Custom Hats, Vintage Boho Bags, Whipin Wildrags, and a few other brands that are extremely important to me. [I have] a fashion show in the books as well,” she said. “There’s a good possibility you’ll find me at the Aria playing blackjack, Christmas shopping at Cowboy Christmas, or the T Mobile Arena watching George Strait on my free time.”
Gabi’s goal through sharing her style and bits of her personal life is to inspire confidence in others.
“I want to instill the same confidence in girls starting out that Elizabeth, Clint Herring and a few other icons in the industry have instilled in me from the start. You don’t have to be or dress a certain way to fit in. All you need is a little bit of confidence [and] a solid team of people that you can work with that support you, and you support them, along the way,” she said.
“It’s ok to be yourself. It’s ok to be different. That’s actually vital for people to understand... your individuality is what makes you special. Whether you like funky bright bell bottom pants or simple casual classic western attire. Just do you!”