Arts June 29, 2024

RODEO The Label

Riley Boice’s New Way to Western Wear

RODEO The Label is a modern Western brand offering one-of-a-kind styles crafted from upcycled Western materials and molded into urban silhouettes. Rooted in her Idaho upbringing and reconstructed by her metropolitan influence, Riley Boice intertwines traditional Americana motifs and modern street styles to produce unique and timeless pieces.

Boice grew up in Hailey surrounded by a family of crafters and creators. Her mom was the first to introduce her to the sewing machine, and as her interest in fashion manifested, she looked to needle and thread to personalize her style. Boice began altering thrifted pieces, hemming them to her size and adding or deleting elements to match her aesthetic. However, it wasn’t until college that Boice turned to sewing as a creative outlet and a potential business.

“RODEO happened on the floor in my first apartment in New York,” she says. “It was literally just my sewing machine, some hand needles, and some scraps from the sheep skin coat factory that used to be in town.”

Boice began her partnership with cofounder Daniel Leeds during her senior year, when building RODEO became a professional focus. Having worked on projects prior to RODEO, the pair decided a partnership would allow them to build and refine the brand. “We have a lot of trust creatively in each other,” Boice says, nodding to the balanced partnership she and Leeds have mastered given her maximalist and his minimalist creative approach.

The finalized RODEO look is rooted in traditionally Western materials. It uses upcycled vintage quilts, leather, and old denim, as well as techy fabrics, to draw on the ski culture of Sun Valley. Each piece is one-of-one, hand-sewn, and styled to represent and rework Western motifs. “I feel like there’s something really timeless about those materials,” Boice says. “How they wear and hold value and also become something new and unique as they age.”

Boice’s first collection was pieced together with articles she’d made through the early stages of RODEO, while her following two collections have showcased carefully constructed capsule pieces. The evolution of her personal style is evident through RODEO’s years, where her preference for a baggier shape has pulled emphasis from classically fitting jeans to an urban denim silhouette baked with traditional Western concepts. Boice’s hand-crafted pieces range from quilted hoodies, to patchworked denim, to mesh jersey-style t-shirts reminiscent of a “Friday Night Lights” Americana theme.

RODEO also boasts a collection of vintage leather cowboy boots—thrifted from Idaho and Texas and refurbished in New York. When a cowboy boot became the fad summer style of 2023, Boice knew she wanted to offer a more authentic and long-lasting rendition of the trend, cementing the classic quality of a true boot. “To me, the perfect cowboy boot with the most delicious, old, well-produced leather will never go out of style and will always, always get better with time,” Boice says. “I think they’re the most beautiful, vintage, honest-to-God cowboy boots you can find.”

The repurposing aspect of RODEO is integral to the brand—most of the materials used are found, thrifted, or donated to Boice. “That’s my contribution to slow fashion and doing away with not-so-great one-offs that are just going to the landfill and not speaking to anyone’s style,” Boice says.

Inspired by materiality, Boice’s sewing process starts with a search for exciting pieces or materials that need reshaping—the foundation is in the fabric. “Most of the time, I’m trying to wrangle a piece of clothing that already exists into something else that is more myself,” Boice explains. “It’s like a puzzle I’m trying to solve, and I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out.”

Repurposing as an independent designer doesn’t come without challenges. Boice recounts pieces she’s taken to the mat, wrestling with the material until she can produce the perfect look. Finalized designs can take anywhere from days to months to create, and since she operates the sewing machine alone, the process can be taxing. However, the next steps for RODEO promise more efficient and widespread production.

In the fall, Boice plans to return to New York from Sun Valley to re-enter an urban atmosphere and work face-to-face with Leeds. The move provides opportunities for a tactile and collaborative design approach and space for Boice to develop the brand. A naturally outspoken person, Boice’s next step will be to lean into broader creative spaces and show the world what her art has to say. “Listen to others and collaborate because refinement is so key,” she says. “But to really stay true to yourself and your ideas is how you start to see your vision come to life.”

This article appears in the Summer 2024 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.