Yellowstone fans embrace ‘cowboy couture,’ support hatmakers

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation) — Cue the “Yellowstone” theme song, grab your popcorn and hop on the couch. That’s the Sunday night norm now for many Americans.

The popular show that follows the Dutton family and its battle to keep a large cattle ranch in Montana is one of the top-rated series.

All the characters sport the finest Western wear, which is why The Wall Street Journal reports that suburbanites are dressing like cattle ranchers.

“People who ride commuter trains, not horses, are wearing cowboy hats and snap-button shirts to imitate the characters on the Paramount Network hit,” WSJ’s Jacob Gallagher wrote.

This is good news for Trent Johnson. He creates custom cowboy hats for the show.

Johnson initially thought of the opportunity as a step back, but soon realized he was wrong. He’s now sold out for months.

“Taylor Sheridan had sent me the script for season one, episode one asking if I’d like to do a TV show. And after doing movies with him, I thought, ‘Well, this is kind of a step backwards.’ But boy, was I wrong. So it was great. It’s been great to watch this all grow. And it’s just been amazing for not only the hat industry, but for the West,” Johnson said in an interview with NewsNation host Leland Vittert.

Johnson thinks the show resonates with people because it provides the allure of the American West and the open range.

“It just really made people realize what some of the values that they may have watched over generations, really what they appreciate about the American West,” Johnson said.

As for Johnson, he has been making hats for more than 30 years. He serves as the fourth hatmaker to own Greeley Hat Works, which has been hatting since 1909.

“I just love making hats. The hat ends up being an extension of your personality, whether it’s a fedora, cowboy hat, a woman’s fashion hat,” Johnson said.

While Johnson’s success with “Yellowstone” is hard to gauge since he’s been with the show since before the show premiered in 2018, he says it’s evident the show has brought them business.

“It’s definitely seen an uptick, that’s for sure,” Johnson said, later adding that when people call: “It’s usually Sunday nights after the episode and everybody feels like they’ve drank half a bottle of Pendleton and they think they’re Rip.”

Regardless of where someone is from, he enjoys getting to know fellow “Yellowstone” fans from across the country.

“Wherever they are from, 212 to 808, whatever it is … the cool thing is being able to kind of share the American West with the people that are city-locked. It might just be a hat to you looking from the outside, but to them, it’s like part of their dream.”

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