Rockmount Ranch Wear clothing has been sighted on celebrities around the globe. And now, in honor of Spun, its textile exhibition, the Denver Art Museum has stocked an entire corner of its gift shop with items from Rockmount. We grabbed a few minutes with Steve Weil, president of Rockmount, to talk about the family business, the museum collection and the future of Rockmount.
See also: - Sneak peek: Each piece is a world all its own in Nick Cave: Sojourn at the DAM - Arctic Monkeys stop by Rockmount...again - Photos: Textiles spin stories at two Denver Art Museum shows
Westword: What is it like knowing that Rockmount Ranch Wear is showcased in some of the greatest museums?
Steve Weil: It validates what three generations of my family have done with their careers. Family businesses are more than jobs, so it gives a bigger meaning. I began collecting vintage Rockmount while in high school not knowing it would one day form a museum collection. As someone who visits museums all over the world, it adds the dimension of art and history to what we do every day at Rockmount for over 66 years.
How did the partnership with the dam come about?
They approached us. We are longtime members and have wanted to work with them for years, and this is the first opportunity. My father once had a collage on exhibit there many years ago.
How does it feel to be a part of such a great legacy?
Family businesses have their ups and downs. Working with your family has its advantages over bureaucratic organizations, but brings in another set of issues. Having said that, it has worked out how I always dreamed it might. My grandfather and father worked together over 50 years and I worked with them 27 years. I feel very lucky we have made it work and are in good shape as a brand and a business, and are positioned to keep it going.
Would your grandfather be proud of all the store's accomplishments? What do you think he would say?
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Another way to look at is that we are not a store. We are a brand sold all over the world with one flagship store. The company has had some great accomplishments, and the store is part of that. It is our local face that has become a destination for people from all over the world. Who would guess that was possible when we only added the retail dimension in 2001 as a baby step, then a full retail store in 2005?
You have to reinvent yourself continually or go the way of the dinosaurs. Papa Jack and my father were all about innovation. They did it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It always annoyed them when I never gave them a break and kept pushing for changes 24/7. My grandfather and father were amused by the notoriety we gained when I came into the company and helped bring it on the radar. They did not seek it, however. I think they were both very pleased that my generation gave the business a future and that their life's work continues.
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Continue reading for a rocking Rockmount bonus. Did you know that the King of rock and roll wore Rockmount gear? Jonny Barber, an Elvis impersonator who has performed before both Papa Jack and Jack Jr., keeps that tradition alive and wears Rockmount at every show -- unless he's in an Elvis-style jumpsuit. Barber loves Rockmount so much that he asked Rockmount to re-issue the shirt that Elvis wore in an MGM publicity photo shoot.