By Tory Dwyer
A chat with the husband and wife duo behind Chieffalo Americana
Rooted in sophisticated vintage with European and Texas flavors, Rodger and Jackie Chieffalo’s brick-and-mortar store on Camp Bowie has quickly become a home for creators, a go-to for the fashion soldier, and a spot for the occasional celebrity sighting. We sat down with the Chieffalos to learn more about the store people keep coming back to.
The revolving art, the music, the vintage, the couches and unique decor, there’s a definite ambiance to the store. Tell us more about that.
It’s definitely an experience when you come in here, and that is intentional. People come in and want to know who we are and what our story is. Our seating is designed to say, “Come, sit a spell.” Regular customers will walk over from Lucile’s on a Saturday and they know where the beer is. We’ve got buckles with designs from the 1800s and our newest hats are from the ’60s and ’70s. We never set out to be an art gallery, but it’s worked out well. The art that we carry fits the vibe of the clothes and it has turned into a sort of low pressure art gallery. It all adds to the experience.
We’ve seen the store evolve from restored vintage hats, scarves, boots and buckles to much more. What inspired the transformation?
When we opened the store we made a decision to be here in person every day, so that we could watch what our customers like. And from there, it’s grown organically. We love the variety of styles and customers that we get in.
We hear you received the seal of approval (AKA, an Instagram shoutout) from Leon Bridges. What was he eyeing?
Leon really knows his European fashion and mixes it with Texas, and we do too. He loves our scarves. He bought a vintage Egon Von Furstenberg scarf, a 1960’s Monte Cristi with a 1960s feather hat band, and a Gucci buckle. Abraham Alexander, who opens for Leon on tour, has also been to the store and bought a 3-inch short brim felt hat and a vintage belt buckle. Cameron Silver, of the iconic high end vintage store Decades in Los Angeles, came in and purchased USA made Trinidad3 jeans, a vintage horseshoe buckle, and vintage Tony Lama belt strap. It inspires us to see how these style icons fold in our goods with their unique personal looks.
Have you seen an uptick in the “cowboy” fashion since the rise of a certain #1 cable television show?
Yellowstone has really triggered this urban cowboy fashion resurgence but it’s come back in a much more sophisticated way. People here crave a more regional style and that’s what we work to provide and curate at the store.
Not only are you creating a space for local artists and musicians, your vendors and manufacturers are all local too, correct?
We are very proud to work with small businesses based in the USA, and most of them are based in Texas. We love the little manufacturer – we feel it’s important to support those companies, and by supporting them, they can support us. Right now, big-box stores are waiting on shipments from overseas and we don’t have that problem because we’ve sourced locally.
The hats seem to have a combination of the perfect patina while also looking like new. What’s your secret?
We only buy pre-1970 100% beaver hats, with zero holes (dirt, blood, sweat and tears are no problem). These hats come with a certain patina that cannot be reproduced. No one can recreate the look of an authentically lived hat.
And since we’re in the company of experts… What’s the best way to hold your hat properly?
NEVER by the crown, just do yourself a favor and don’t touch the crown. Always hold by the brim.
A customer walks in and wants a completed look – head to toe – for elevated everyday wear. Give us the scoop, what’s he or she leaving in?
A vintage beaver felt hat shaped to your liking, a vintage silk scarf, a pair of vintage sunglasses a vintage buckle paired with a vintage belt strap or one of our custom colored belts straps made right here in Fort Worth.
What’s next for the store?
More experiential shopping events featuring new artists, local musicians, unique pop up vendors, more made in USA brands , and eventually an expanded women’s selection, (and of course more vintage hats). We now have a hat shaper so we can offer everything from instant shaping, stretching and tweaking . We are now open late on Thursdays for our Hat Shaping Happy Hour 5-7 pm .
WHAT WE'RE LOVING
Trend Setter: Each month, we chat with plugged-in locals to provide a scouted, curated look at the best of the West. Have a burning question or suggestion for the next Trend Setter? Email Tory Dwyer at email@example.com.